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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

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