Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
but you seem to of managed to watch about 8 hours of film without it having made even the slightest impression on you.
You've decided it backs up all the things you were already convinced of, even when he's saying things that directly contradict that.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
And that's categorical proof how different our respective set ups are btw. I can't imagine Boris poisoning Starmer, much as he'd like to.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
Democracy and outrage at its dysfunction are built into our discourse in way that, as far as I can tell, they're not in Russia.
Third would no doubt dismiss this as petit bourgeoise liberalism but I guess I am a petit bourgeoise liberal.
There's the idea of a functioning polity here even if its reality is lacking and being degraded.
The most coarse form of this - political set up as reflecting something of an aspirational ideal - is of course found in the States, "the American Dream".

@IdleRich can you ask Liza if they have anything like that? What's the animating national myth? Some form of nationalism or the return of the Tzar I'd guess.
 
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DannyL

Wild Horses
Thanks for the tip on Second Hand Time, I'm going to read that.

The first book here sounds amazing:


Interview with author here:: https://www.pushkinhouse.org/ph-podcast/2020/11/9/the-leviathan-awakes


Okay, so let’s talk about the winning book first, which is called the The Return of the Russian Leviathan by Sergei Medvedev, who seems to be a very outspoken commentator on Russia. He is an academic, but it sounds like he’s had his job taken away from him.

Until recently Sergei taught at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, which is a top and very liberal institution. He had a blog at the same time. I understand that that job was taken away from him, but the blog part is still there. At the time of the decision of the jury, we didn’t have that information, that happened later. It’s really unfortunate that he’s lost his position—unfortunate is maybe the wrong word, unfortunate to me means something that happens that you can’t control. But it looks like there are people at the top who don’t like what Sergei says, who don’t like his analysis, and who contributed to him losing his job.

The book is amazing. It’s just the wonderful writing, but most important are the thought and argument that went into this book. It’s a collection of essays or standalone chapters. I will be talking about the other books on the shortlist; Sergei’s book stands at the top of the pyramid of the other books. The shortlisted authors discuss different aspects of Russian or Soviet culture and history—or even go into the future, with environmental studies like Kate Brown’s—but Sergei’s book brings this all together, it brings in history, it brings in politics, it brings in culture. In that sense, it really brings together the best of what we’ve got on the shortlist.



“Russia is only now trying to make sense out of what happened in the last 30 to 50 years, with the loss of empire, the loss of messianic ideology”



Sergei is a deep thinker. With his knowledge of sociology, of political psychology, of history, he deals with the question, which is very important today—and I would say very important to the world of the last maybe 100 years—of Russia as a post-imperial state. Russia is going through post-imperial struggles, something that maybe other countries and nations that had empires went through before. Other countries went through transformations in the 1960s with social upheavals. Russia is only now trying to make sense out of what happened in the last 30 to 50 years, with the loss of empire, the loss of messianic ideology.

Sergei remains optimistic, but his diagnosis is not great in the sense that Russia, at this point, doesn’t have a clear sense of itself or a clear vision for the future. It’s stuck in the past and visions of a grandiose Soviet or imperial past, which is one of the factors that pushes it toward all this adventurism and expansion and a lot of blood in the Russian neighbourhood, but also outside of the post-Soviet space.

Again, it’s done in a very, very erudite way. It really brings up knowledge from different disciplines to tackle the question that all of us have today, ‘What is happening in Russia? How do you explain that?’ And he does that on a very deep level, going beyond your normal explanation of, ‘Okay, there is Putin, or the Kremlin, or there is this advisor or that advisor.’ He is talking about the society and saying that people at the top are really using certain insecurities, certain features that are in the society already, to come to power, to secure their power, and then also advancing those insecurities and probably making them worse. So, from that point of view, it’s a very important book.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
I'm reading Tolstoy atm. It's really interesting after reading about the history of the revolution last year. The impact of even things like railways, in a country as huge as Russia, their inherent violence to traditional ways of life. Amazing stuff.

He nails the Communists as well. Angry drunks rather than working class heros.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
These are all the pre-Stalinists, the revolutionaries. It's set in the 1870sl He has remarkable eye, to see through the professed dogmas and get to the emotional life underneath.
 

sufi

осом
And that's categorical proof how different our respective set ups are btw. I can't imagine Boris poisoning Starmer, much as he'd like to.
they poisoned corbyn, but exactly as you say they used bourgeois media outrage instead of novichok,
 

version

Well-known member
 

sufi

осом
I wouldn't make that comparison tbh. Not in that form. I was using the example to highlight difference.
fair enough! :) I see the differences but there are also similarities,

i thought one part of AC's latest stuff that's very strong is about how politicians have lost touch with reality, obsessing about image and stories and not giving a shit about actual events - that seems a much more accurate perception than this idea that there is "fake news",

that makes a lot of sense to me looking at boris's behaviour, less so looking at Putin or say Sisi
 
These critical evaluations of the zeitgeist, put together with an increasingly rare irreverence and intelligence, are few and far between these days. But, together, Brooker and Curtis have cornered the market. It’s not hard to see why. They’re irreverent recombinant attitudes are a form of good postmodernism ripping chunks off the bad. They may be critical, but they otherwise fit snuggly within the general order of things. They provide just the right amount of pressure and confrontation — no more, no less.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
Don't you think the comparison is a little um, debasing? Navalny only survived via the pilot's quick thinking and is now doing 5 years, and they'll try and fit him up with more. His supporters have been beaten and tortured in the recent demos. Corbyn is still swanning around North London on his bicycle, an extremely wealthy man, free to launch as many anti-capitalist online campaigns as he likes.

Putin has more absolute power I guess. He's not answerable to the party and electorate in the way Boris is.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I don't particularly. I'd rather Corbyns fate than the Russian Nazi's though don't get me wrong.
 
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