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Russia

Five Steps

Five Steps

There is no justice in Russia

When I hear the calls to “cancel” Russian culture, I think: Go ahead and kill me, too. I have no other path, no other identity besides being an artist. I can’t change my blood, and you’ll never grant me any citizenship.

Kids Those Days

Kids Those Days

Mikhail Gorbachev and his generation

Gerontocracy is a relative concept. At his death in 1984 Yuri Andropov was only 69, decades younger than Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein and the other ancients currently presiding over the US Senate. What mattered was not the absolute age of the Soviet leadership but their generational cohort. Soviet history can usefully be understood as the story of the youth, maturity, and senescence of a single age group: people who were children in 1917.

Strelkov’s Posts

Strelkov’s Posts

There are few post-Soviet conflicts in which he has not participated

In 2017 Strelkov came up with the idea of holding a televised debate with Alexey Navalny, who agreed to participate. One hundred and fifty thousand people tuned in. Strelkov’s principal accusations against Navalny included not just his betrayal of Russian nationalism (he claimed his opponent “never once referred to [ethnic] Russians, only citizens of the Russian Federation”), but also the claim that Navalny’s economic program was incapable of dismantling the “total system of corruption” that defines Russian life. As one of the moderators put it, “they’ve spent an hour calling each other Putin.”

Day of the Oprichnik, 16 Years Later

Day of the Oprichnik, 16 Years Later

Sorokin deserves credit for bothering to skewer such a marginal figure

This rhythm in Russia, of repression and violent revolution, is well known to Sorokin, who first emerged as a writer under Soviet rule in the 1980s, when he was no less irritating to the Kremlin. He’s not just a satirist but also a speculative fantasist, and he became angrily political after Putin came to power.

Leave Us Alone

Leave Us Alone

In Mykolaiv

“They seemed completely indifferent, the Russians. They didn’t even care that the car was burning, that there might be someone still inside. I said to them ‘Help me put it out, at least!’ They just stood there.”