Keith Gessen is a journalist, novelist, editor and translator. He’s the founding editor of N+1 and the translator of Kirill Medvedev’s It’s No Good and Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl. He’s also written for the New Yorker, the London Review of Books, and many other publications between teaching journalism at Columbia University. He’s the author of All the Sad Young Literary Men and his new novel is A Terrible Country published by Viking.
Read Keith’s article “The Quiet Americans Behind the U.S.-Russia Imbroglio” and my response.
Listen to Keith Gessen’s previous appearance on the SRB Podcast!
The Smiths, “That Joke isn’t Funny Anymore,” Meat is Murder, 1984.
You Might also like
- By Sean — 5 years ago
There’s a new campaign in Moscow: “Two Thousand Russian Buildings.” The campaign seeks to paint two thousand buildings in the two capitals with patriotic graffiti. One such facade has already gone up in the Tagansk district of Moscow. Last week, the entire side of the Solzhenitsyn building was covered with large image of Crimea painted in the Russian tricolor. Next to it the artist emblazoned it with “Crimea and Russia together forever.” The graffiti was signed with the logo of the ruling party United Russia and the art collective LGZ-Art, or World’s Best City-Art. This graffiti is the latest example of the patriotic sentiment in Russia.
According to the Village, LGZ Art was registered in early March under the company Antikupon, a Russian version of Groupon. Dmitry Tsvetkov, a representative from Antikupon, the painting in Tagansk is part of a larger campaign to paint murals about the uniting of Crimea to Russia and other patriotic scenes “to nurture patriotic feelings in urbanities with the help of a wide spectrum of themes.”
How did this mural go up so fast for a project that was just legal registered a few weeks ago? Especially since getting permit for such a mural is a “long and difficult process”? It helps to be connected to Putin’s government. Aleksandr Dyagilev, the general director of Antikupon and the “Two Thousand Buildings” campaign’s face, has those connections. He’s a graduate of the Russian Academy of State Service under the President of the Russian Federation and a former participant in several pro-Kremlin youth groups: a coordinator with Walking Together, a Nashi commissar and a Molodaia gvardiia district leader in Moscow’s East Biriulevo district. Since 2009, Dyagilev also served as an election commissioner in several local and national elections. As for the permission to paint the mural, Dyagilev told the Village that everything was handled legally with the permission of the local administration and “local residents.” However, sources tell the Village that the “patriotic graffiti” didn’t get any administrative permission, but rather was initiated “from above,” presumably from United Russia’s leadership, since the painting carries its logo. According to Dyagilev, two million rubles has been allocated for the project.
As of today, another mural has gone up on the side of an apartment building in the district of Marino. Again there’s a Russian tri-colored Crimea decorated with the slogan “Enough lounging around at home, go vacation in Crimea.” Again the United Russia and LGZ-Art logo appears. About this mural, the Russian photojournalist Ilya Varlamov wrote, “This building is familiar to many reporters as the place where the apartment of Alexei Navalny, who is under house arrest, is located. It seems they decided to play an April Fool’s joke on Alexei.”
LGZ-Art murals aren’t the only Crimea inspired graffiti art to spring up. In the Crimean capital of Simferopol, the art group “Crimea’s Future” painted a mural influenced by the Michelangelo’s’ Sistine Ceiling, showing Putin with an outstretched arm saving the people of the peninsula. The painting includes the slogan, “You are with us, we are with you.” According to a “Crimea’s Future” press release, the mural “reflects the support which the Russian president extends to the residents of Crimea and also symbolizes that Putin is now personally creating the history of the peninsula.”
The art group has also created as series of posters in support for Putin. One features a leather jacket wearing Putin with “Order” across the top. Another shows Putin riding a bicycle with the Crimean coat of arms with “Ready or not here were come!” on it. A final poster shows Putin with third eye and the slogan “He knows better.”
Though some of these posters seem ironic, they’re not.
When asked about “Crimea’s Future’s” position on Crimea unification with Russia, Andrei Evseenko, a participant in the art group, told Ridus,
“We think that the new Ukrainian authorities completely discredited themselves before Crimea. When we declared our desire to conduct the referendum in which we ourselves wanted to determine the fate of the region, the nationalists who came to power took unprecedented measures to beak us. This [came in the form of] financial isolation and a transportation blockade. In this situation the vaunted western democracies did not come to our aid, but Vladimir Putin who has promised that Crimea would get all possible assistance. This is why we are so grateful to him and want to connect ourselves with Russia. This view is held by hundreds of thousands of people all over the Crimea, and they have already written us in support of our work and are grateful that we are not afraid to openly express our approval of Putin.”
- By Sean — 11 months ago
- By Sean — 4 years ago
Who killed Laura Palmer? Was it James Hurley? Bobby Briggs? Leland Palmer? Or was it the demonic entity, Bob? The question has occupied fans of the dark and quirky drama series since it went off the air in 1991. Perhaps we’ll finally learn who killed Laura Palmer when the series returns in 2016.
One fan nagged by the identity of Laura Palmer’s killer was none other than Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union. Twin Peaks aired in Russia in 1993. According to a new oral history of the series, Brad Dukes’ Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks, Gorbachev pressed President George H. W. Bush to ask the series’ creators about Laura’s killer. This is what Jules Haimovitz, then President and Chief Operating Officer of Spelling Entertainment Inc, recalled:
“Twin Peaks aired in Russia and Mikhail Gorbachev was a big fan of the show. . .One day Aaron [Spelling] gets a call from Carl Lindner who wants to know who killed Laura Palmer. Aaron was not that involved with the show on a day-to-day basis, so he calls me up and he said, “Who killed Laura Palmer?” I said, “No clue.” He said, “It’s really important.”
I called David [Lynch] and he says, “I can’t tell you.” I don’t want to press David, so I call Aaron back to say, “David won’t tell me, who wants to know?” and he says “President Bush.” What happened was Gorbachev called Bush, who called Carl, who called Aaron, who called me. So I called David back and I said, “This isn’t going to go anywhere, it’ll be a secret. You have to tell me who Laura’s killer is.” That’s when I realized David had no idea who killed Laura Palmer.”
Gorbachev made HW Bush try and get Lynch to admit who killed Laura Palmer pic.twitter.com/Bb1E1yNEGu
— Ryan Hamilton Walsh (@JahHills) November 16, 2014