If we imagine reporting, as I do, in terms of the Indian fable

Future Is History

canada goose outlet miami I have been told many stories about Russia, and I have told a few myself. canada goose outlet miami

canada goose outlet edmonton When canada goose factory sale I was eleven or twelve, in the late 1970s, my mother told me that the USSR was a totalitarian state canada goose coats she compared the regime to the Canada Goose online Nazi one, an extraordinary Canada Goose Online act of thought and speech for a Soviet citizen. My parents told me that the Soviet regime would last forever, which was why we had to leave the country. canada goose outlet edmonton

canada goose outlet usa When I was a young journalist, in the late 1980s, the Soviet regime began to teeter Canada Goose Coats On Sale and then collapsed into a pile of rubble, or so the story went. I joined an army of reporters excitedly documenting my country’s embrace of freedom and its journey buy canada goose jacket toward democracy. canada goose outlet usa

canada goose outlet paypal I spent my thirties and forties documenting the death of a Russian democracy that had never really come to be. Different people were telling different stories about this: many insisted that Russia had merely taken a step back after taking two steps toward democracy; some laid the blame on Vladimir Putin and the KGB, others on a supposed Russian love of the iron fist, and still others on an inconsiderate, imperious West. At one point, I was convinced that I would be writing the story of the decline and fall canada goose clearance of the Putin regime. Soon after, I found myself leaving Russia for the second time this time as a middle aged person with children. And like my mother before me, I was explaining to my children why we could no longer live canada canada goose jackets goose store in our country. canada goose outlet paypal

canada goose outlet new haydar-furniture.com york city The specifics were clear enough. Russian citizens had been losing rights and liberties for nearly two decades. In 2012, Putin’s government began a full f ledged political crackdown. The country waged war on the enemy within and on its neighbors. In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia, and in 2014 it attacked canada goose clearance sale Ukraine, annexing vast canada goose black friday sale territories. It has also been canada goose uk shop waging an information war on Western democracy as a concept and a reality. It took a while for Western observers to see what was happening in Russia, but by now the stories of Russia’s various wars have become familiar. In the con temporary American imagination, Russia has reclaimed the role of Canada Goose Parka evil empire and existential threat. canada goose outlet new york city

canada goose stockists uk The crackdown, the wars, and even Russia’s reversion to type on the world stage are canadian goose jacket things that happened that I witnessed and I wanted to tell this story. But I also wanted to tell about what did not happen: the story of freedom that was not embraced and democracy that was not desired. How do you tell a story like that? Where do you locate reasons for the absences? When do you begin, and with whom? canada goose stockists uk

canada goose outlet washington dc Popular books about Russia or other countries fall into two broad categories: stories about powerful people (the czars, Stalin, Putin, and their circles) that aim to explain how the country has been and is run, and stories about “regular people” that aim to show what it feels like to live there. I have written both kinds of books and read many more. But even the best such books perhaps especially the best such books provide a view of only one part of the story canada goose uk outlet of a country. If we imagine reporting, as I do, in terms of the Indian fable of six blind men and an elephant, most Russia books describe just the elephant’s head or just its legs. And even if some uk canada goose books supply descriptions of the tail, the trunk, and the body, very few try to ex plain how the animal holds together or Canada Goose Outlet what kind of animal it is. My ambition this time was to both describe and define the animal. canada goose outlet washington dc

canada goose outlet store toronto I decided to start with the decline of the Soviet regime perhaps the assumption that it “collapsed” needed to be questioned. I also decided to focus on people for whom the end of the USSR was the first or one of the first formative memories: the generation of Russians born in the early to middle 1980s. They grew up in the 1990s, perhaps the most contested de cade cheap canada goose uk in Russian history: some remember it as a time of liberation, while for others it represents chaos and pain. This generation have lived their entire adult lives in a Russia led by Vladimir Putin. In choosing my subjects, I also looked for people whose lives changed drastically as canada goose uk black friday a result of the crack down that began in 2012. Lyosha, Masha, Seryozha, and Zhanna four young people who come from different cities, families, and, indeed, different Soviet worlds allowed me to tell what it was to grow up in a country that was opening up and to come of age in a society shutting down. canada goose outlet store toronto

buy canada goose uk In seeking out these protagonists, I did what journalists usually do: I sought people who were both “regular,” in that their experiences exemplified the experiences of millions of others, and extraordinary: intelligent, passionate, introspective, able to tell their stories vividly. But the ability to make sense of one’s life in uk canada goose outlet the world is a function of freedom. The Soviet regime robbed people not only of their ability to live freely but also of the ability to understand fully canada goose coats on sale what had been taken from them, and how. The regime aimed to annihilate personal and historical memory and the academic study of society. Its concerted war on the social sciences left Western academics for decades in a better position to interpret Russia than were Russians themselves but, as outsiders with restricted access to information, they could hardly fill the void. Much more than a problem of scholar ship, this was an attack on the humanity of Russian society, which lost the tools and even the language for understanding itself. The only stories Russia told itself about itself were created by Soviet ideologues. If a modern country has no sociologists, psychologists, or philosophers, what can it know about itself? And what can its citizens know about themselves? I realized that my buy canada goose jacket cheap mother’s simple act of categorizing the Soviet regime and comparing it to another had required an extraordinary measure of freedom, which she derived, at least in part, from having already decided to emigrate. buy canada goose uk

canada goose outlet seattle To capture the larger tragedy of losing the intellectual tools of sense making, I looked for Russians who had attempted to wield them, in both the Soviet and post Soviet periods. Canada Goose sale The cast of characters grew to include a sociologist, a psychoanalyst, and a philosopher. If anyone holds the tools of defining the elephant, it is they. They are neither “regular people” the stories of their struggles to bring their disciplines back from the dead are hardly representative nor “powerful people”: they are the people who try Canada Goose Jackets to understand. In the Putin era, the social sciences were defeated and degraded in new ways, and my protagonists faced a new set of impossible choices. canada goose outlet seattle

canada goose outlet toronto As I wove these stories together, I imagined I was writing a long Russian (nonfiction) novel that aimed to capture both the texture of individual tragedies and the events and ideas that shaped them. The result, I hope, is a book that shows not only what it has felt like to live in Russia over the last thirty years cheap Canada Goose but also what Russia has been in this time, what it has become, and how. The elephant, too, makes a brief appearance (see page 386). canada goose outlet toronto

canada goose outlet buffalo From THE FUTURE IS HISTORY: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen. Published by arrangement with Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division canada goose of Penguin Random House LLC canada goose outlet buffalo.

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