The Crisis of the Left Policy

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-9-26-35

K. Kholodkovskii, (, 
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation 

Abstract. The article is devoted to one of the main aspects of the left sector evolution in the political space of Western countries. Having arisen during the French Revolution of the 18th century, the division of political space into the left and the right spilled over to all countries of Europe and America. However, this division changed significantly hereafter under the influence of complicated social processes and turbulent political events. During the 20th century, radical left forces, primarily the Communists, have sustained a variety of defeats trying to eliminate the capitalist system. Social-Democratic parties have evolved from revolutionary positions to the increasingly moderate reformism. Consequently, in the Western Europe, the left forces have yielded the pas to center-left, social-reformist parties, the two-party (two-coalition) system has emerged where center-left and center-right replaced each other in power. In Latin America, the left forces survived, but even when they took power, they were bound to conduct a center-left policy. Yet the development of globalization in neo-liberal style, while intensifying the economic competition, greatly hampered the implementation of such policy. The time coincidence of the left and center-left parties’ crushing defeats in most of the Western countries is not occasional, it witnesses the crisis in their course. Lately, the situation has been dramatized significantly by emergence of influential populist parties and movements in Europe, which put the previous division into question. The leftist crisis has violated the regular rotation of political forces in power and created a background for essential changes in political course and maybe also for weakening of stability of political institutions. This situation could only be altered by the change of the present, mostly neo-liberal character of globalization processes, which is highly unlikely. 

Keywords: left forces, Western Europe, Latin America, communists, social-democrats, democratic socialism, reformism, left center, rotation, globalization, T. Blair 


1. Maidanik K.L. Chetvertaya volna. O novom tsikle sozial’no-politicheskogo razvitiya Latinskoi Ameriki. Vzglyad sleva [The Fourth Wave. On New Cycle of Social and Political Development in Latin America. Left view]. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2006, no. 11, . 27-38.

2. Kholodkovskii K.G. Samoopredelenie Rossii [Russia’s Self-Determination]. Moscow, ROSSPEN, 2013, pp. 83-88.

3. Stern L. Zapadnaya intelligenziya i Sovetskii Soyuz, 1920–1940 gody [Western intelligentsia and the Soviet Union, 1920–1940.] Available at: (accessed 01.03.2018).

4. Gide A. Retour del’URSS suivi de Retouches a mon Retour de l’URSS. Paris, Gallimard, Folio, 2009. 212 p.

5. Pons S. Berlinguer e la fine del comunismo. Torino, Einaudi Storia, 2006. VI-266 p.

6. German edition: Beck U. Was ist Globalisierung? Irrtuemer des Globalismus – Antworten auf Globalisierung. Frankfurt/Mein, Suhrkamp. 270 S.

7. Pauli M. The Crisis of the European Left: Are Social-Democrats still alive? Der Spiegel, 10.01.2018. Available at: (accessed 02.03.2018).

8. Rovny J. What happened to Europe’s Left? Available at: (accessed 02.03.2018).

9. Does the Left have a Future? Available at: (accessed 03.03.2018).

10. Elyanov A.Y. Razvivayushchiesya strany v tenetakh globalizatsii [Developing countries in the grip of globalization]. Tretii mir spustya polstoletiya [Third World: half century later]. Moscow, IMEMO, 2013, pp. 29-46.

11. Giddens A. The Third Way: the Renewal of Social Democracy. Cambridge, Polity Press, 1998. 166 p.

12. Peregudov S.P. Toni Bler [Tony Blair]. Voprosy istorii, 2000, no. 1, . 64-82.

13. Gromyko Al.A. Tony Bler: desyat’ let vo glave Britanii [Tony Blair: Ten Years in Charge of Britain] Sovremennaya Evropa, 2007, no. 3. Available at: (accessed 04.03.2018).

14. Pyatakov A. Latinoamerikanskie podhody k probleme globalisatsii. Vzglad skvoz’ XXI vek [Latin American Approaches to Globalization Problem: A Look through the 21st Century]. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2018, vol. 62, no.1, p. 85-93.

15. Grishin I. Sozial-demokraticheskaya model’ obshchestvennogo razvitiya: razmyvanie naslediya [Social Democratic Model of Social Devlopment: Erosion of Heritage]. Globalnyi mir: k novym modelyam natsionalnogo i regionalnogo razvitiya [A Global World: Emerging Models of National and Regional Development]. Vol. II. Moscow, IMEMO, 2014, pp. 132-147.

16. Bundestagswahl 2017. Available at: (accessed 05.03.2018).

17. Hollande reyting en 2016. Available at: (accessed 06.03.2018)

18. Election presidentielle francaise de 2017. Available at: (accessed 08.03.2018).

19. Elections legislatives francaises de 2017. Available at: (accessed 08.03.2018).

20. Polito A. La festa senza sinistra. Corriere della Sera, 29.04.2018.

21. rasilshchikov V.A. Braziliya i Rossiya: razlichnye traektorii razvitiya? [Brasilia and Russia: different paths of development?] Sovremennye problemy razvitiya. Vyp. II. Tom 2. [Contemporary Problems of Development. Iss. II. Vol. 2.] Moscow, IMEMO, 2016, pp. 115-129.

22. Maidanik K.L. “Chetvertaya volna” (O novom tsikle sotsial’no-politicheskogo razvitiya Latinskoi Ameriki. Vzglyad sleva) [The Fourth Wave. (On New Cycle of Social and Political Development in Latin America. Left view)]. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2006, no. 12, pp. 24-30.

23. Populsm in Latin America (In Russ.). Realist. online. Available at: (accessed 10.03.2018).

24. Neumann P.R. Political Extremism in European Liberal Democracies: A Summary of Drivers, Dynamics and Responses. Conference Reader: Reflections, Assesments, Proposals. ECTR Round Table 5-7.03. 2018.

25. Kholodkovskii K.G. Krizis parlamentskoi demokratii [The Crisis of Parlamentary Democracy]. Globalnyi mir: K novym modelyam naziona’lnogo i regional’nogo razvitiya [A Global World: Emerging Models of National and Regional Development]. Vol. 2. Moscow, IMEMO, 2014, . 174-187.

26. Elezioni politiche 2018. La, Available at: (accessed 11.03.2018).

27. Announced the results of elections in Germany: the Bundestag held six parties (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 25.09.2017).

28. Ferrer G.G. Enlightenment and Populism: the Quest for European Identity. Conference Reader: Reflections, Assesments, Proposals. ECTR Round Table 5-7.03.2018.

29. Sergeev V.M., Kazanzev A.A., Petrov K.E., Medvedeva S.M. Krizis partiyno-politicheskoy sistemy v SShA i stranakh ES: prichiny i kharakteristiki [The crisis of the party-political system in the USA and EU countries: causes and characteristics]. Politicheskie issledovaniya (Polis), 2018, no. 2, pp. 130-149.

30. Betz H.-G. The Radical Right-Wing Populist Challenge to Liberal Democracy. Conference Reader: Reflections, Assesments, Proposals. ECTR Round Table 5-7.03.2018. 

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Kholodkovskii K. The Crisis of the Left Policy. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2018, vol. 62, no. 9, pp. 26-35.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 7
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • The Supporting Structure of Global Security
  • Institutional Features of the Fourth Energy Transition
  • The Evolution of Modern German Christian Democracy
  • The Monarchies of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.