Capitalism with Russian values


The reactions were predictable. Putin perfunctorily denied it was an invasion, while the media wondered whether it was even right to even call it a war. That Russian forces were already occupying a third of Ukraine was still insufficient evidence. Nearly 15 years from the day when he first too took the reins of the presidency, the ex-KGB agent was living out the wildest of Cold War fantasies, about Russian politics, and its hackneyed intrigues. Dr Strangelove would have approved. One of the first decisions undertaken by Putin after the 2000 election was to restore the Soviet National Anthem by … Continue reading

Putin’s wager


Since the invasion of Crimea, Putin’s popularity has soared. The results of the Crimean referendum were obviously welcomed in Russia. Putin gave a speech the next day, proclaiming that the languages of Russians, Ukrainians, and Crimean Tatars, would now be recognised. These events have been interpreted in the West as an illegitimate annexation. However, the Crimean peninsula has only been a part of Ukraine since 1954 when it was amalgamated into the state by Nikita Khrushchev as a gesture of goodwill. This didn’t really matter under Soviet rule, but the post-Soviet era has made Crimean independence a sorespot in the region. … Continue reading

You Got More with Gore


There is a lot one could say about Gore Vidal so naturally Nicholas Wrathall found himself spoilt with access to rolls of archive footage. That was on top of the footage Wrathall accumulated of the late author over several years. There would’ve been plenty of substance for United States of Amnesia even without the interviews conducted. By this time, Gore Vidal was in what he described as the ‘bright spring of my senility’ though even as an octogenarian he was still confident that there was no problem that could not be solved if people would only listen to him. All … Continue reading