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Kapuściński
The Future is History. How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia (Będzie to, co było. Jak totalitaryzm odradza się w Rosji)
Masha Gessen

translated from the English by Magdalena Iwińska and Hanna Faryna-Paszkiewicz

published by Prószyński i S-ka

With epic swing
The new book by a careful observer of Russia asks many unsettling questions. For instance: what can a country without sociologists, psychologists or philosophers know about itself? How much can its citizens understand? Masha Gessen describes the trajectories of four people born in 1980’s, before the fall of the Soviet Union, representative of a generation whose entire life falls on the presidency of Vladimir Putin. Present are also a psychoanalyst, a philosopher and a sociologist who fight to resuscitate the discipline of social sciences, completely degraded by Putin. The result is an epic reportage about Russia in the last thirty years.
William Brand

No Future?

Juror Tadeusz Sobolewski writes on Masha Gessen’s ‘The Future is History. How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia’ (‘Będzie to, co było. Jak totalitaryzm odradza się w Rosji’) translated by Magdalena Iwińska and Hanna Faryna-Paszkiewicz

A new „Euroasian” ideology has emerged out of chaos and depression that followed the fall of USSR: national bolshevism. Is Russia trying to commit suicide or does it pose a threat to the world? – asks the Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen. The book, titled pessimistically The Future is History, describes a massive fleeing from freedom happening today.

Is this process irreversible? The appearance of Putin allowed the post-soviet society to crawl out of depression and “magically” – in Gessen’s formulation – reclaim its lost hopes. Nostalgically longing for old times people have begun to desire a return of the authoritarian state, divided into “us” and “them”, where the leader takes all responsibility upon himself.

Putin “has made the world comprehensible again”, turning towards the past. It is as if the future did not exist. Tribal prejudice returns.

Is it possible that a new Orwell-like scenario is happening right in front of our eyes? The diagnosis is based on facts, on a journalist’s investigation. The book’s protagonists are mostly born around the Orwellian 1984: Zhanna, daughter of a murdered opposition activist Boris Nemtsov, Masha, who joined Pussy Riot, Lyosha, a sociologist, the author of “Queer Identity in Russia and the Discourse of Human Rights” and others who have not fallen in love with the Big Brother. Most of them live outside of Russia today.

Tadeusz Sobolewski

Masha Gessen

(b. 1967): American-Russian journalist, activist for the LGBT community. In 1981-1991 worked in USA, then moved back to Moscow, to leave Russia again in 2013. Writes for The New York Times and The New Yorker, published several books on social and political life in today’s Russia. Her volumes translated to Polish are: The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin (publ. in Polish by Prószyński i s-ka, 2012), Words Will Break Cement. The Passion of Pussy Riot (publ. in Polish by Prószyński i s-ka, 2014).

Hanna Faryna-Paszkiewicz

(b. 1952): art historian, specialised in the art of 19th and 20th century; varsavianist, editor and translator from English. Graduated in Art History from the University of Warsaw (1976), where she also defended her dissertation (1986). Author of three books on Saska Kępa district in Warsaw: The geometry of imagination – a collection of essays on the architecture and plasticity of Interbellum period, co-author of Atlas of Architectural Monuments in Poland, author of two biographies: Opium of life of Maria Morska and Polemira of Maria Jehanne Wielopolska, and a book on ceramic architectonical details Warsaw’s vanishing floors, as well as many articles, encyclopaedic entries, and reviews. Contributing writer for Architecture quarterly. Since 2003 lectures on art history and history of Polish architecture at the Faculty of Interior Design on the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Works with Magdalena Iwińska on translations from English.

Magdalena Iwińska

(b. 1957): translator and co-translator of about 80 books: from belles-lettres (Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens), through poetry, to popular science and scientific books, a.o. on art history, sociology, history. Translates from and to English, and Spanish (she graduated from Spanish Studies). For over 20 years she has been translating speeches of Lech Wałęsa.

Book

The Future is History. How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia (Będzie to, co było. Jak totalitaryzm odradza się w Rosji)
Masha Gessen

translated from the English by Magdalena Iwińska and Hanna Faryna-Paszkiewicz

published by Prószyński i S-ka