Negativland – “Time Zones”
In which of the time zones is the soul of Russia hidden??
Nina Khrushcheva on her new book &# 171; In the footsteps of Putin&# 187;
“I wrote this book to understand not what Americans think about Russia, but what Russia really is.”.
With these intriguing words, political scientist Nina Khrushcheva, professor at The New School, began her speech at the presentation of her new book In Putin’s Footsteps: Searching for the Soul of an Empire Across Russia’s Eleven Time Zones). Khrushcheva was co-authored by American writer and journalist Jeffrey Tayler..
The presentation of Khrushcheva’s new book took place in Montclair, New Jersey, as part of the annual literary festival.
The guest shared the stage with another author, political scientist Craig Unger, whose new book is called House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia).
The meeting was moderated by David Pepper, politician, publicist, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party and author of political thrillers concerning the problems of Russia and the United States.
The Russian seamy side of rial estate
As David Pepper emphasized, presenting the new book by Craig Junger, “it is unique in that it links into a single picture of international corruption such actions as the purchase of condominiums in houses owned by Trump by Russian mafiosi and the murders in Russia of independent journalists exposing the crimes of the Russian regime.”.
Jünger dedicated his book to Paul Khlebnikov, Alexander Litvinenko, Sergei Magnitsky, Anna Politkovskaya and other journalists, human rights activists and dissidents who, as the author writes, “died investigating Putin’s corruption".
According to Jünger, “There are a lot of problems in the real estate business in the United States, and the main one is the weakness and ambiguity of the regulations, which makes money laundering through real estate transactions very easy. The largest law firms with hundreds of experienced lawyers are handling dubious cases for Russian oligarchs “.
“The Russian mafia differs from the Italian one in that it closely cooperates with the authorities of their country, first of all, with the special services,” Junger said further. – As for Vladimir Putin, he is associated with the mafia from the very beginning of his career in St. Petersburg. Putin and his entourage quickly got rich on criminal activity “.
“Russia today is a mafia state,” Jünger continued, “and Putin and his friends are plundering Russia’s richest natural resources. Look, each of his three closest friends in the judo section “is worth” at least $ 6 billion today ”.
Where does the eagle look?
Presenting the book by Nina Khrushcheva, David Pepper said that in 1993-1996 he worked in a team of American advisers in St. Petersburg. Russia could then follow the democratic path, he believes, but this did not happen. Why? – he asked the guest.
“Unfortunately, it turned out to be practically impossible,” said Nina Khrushcheva. – Look at the coat of arms of Russia. It is very symbolic: the two heads of the eagle are looking in opposite directions, neither is looking straight ahead. Russia is, in a sense, a geographic oxymoron, a country with a split personality. Yeltsin promised democratization, but failed to keep his promise. Russia has always experienced the imperial complex and has always shot itself in the foot “.
Craig Junger, Nina Khrushcheva and David Pepper. Photo: Oleg Sulkin
The authors of the book “In the Footsteps of Putin” took advantage of Putin’s never-realized idea of delivering New Year’s greetings consistently in each of the 11 time zones of Russia. Khrushcheva and Teyler’s new book consists of reports from all time zones in Russia, from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka. A separate chapter is devoted to Kiev. As Khrushcheva reminded the audience, it was her grandfather who handed Crimea over to Ukraine in 1954, then one of fifteen Soviet republics..
Nina Khrushcheva graduated from Moscow State University and Princeton University, teaches international relations at New School University in New York, lectures in the United States and abroad, is published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other leading US publications.
As Nina Khrushcheva told the author of these lines, “by blood Nikita Khrushchev is her great-grandfather, in relation to her grandfather.” Her mother, Yulia Khrushcheva, is the granddaughter of Nikita Khrushchev. But after Yulia’s father Leonid, a military pilot, went missing at the front in 1943, she was adopted by Nikita Sergeevich. In 2017, Julia died in an accident.
Like Jünger, Khrushcheva used the imagery of judo wrestling, Putin’s main sports hobby, to characterize his political methods..
“As an experienced judoka, Putin is fighting, looking for weaknesses in the enemy’s defense,” said Khrushcheva. – He is not in a hurry, waiting, looking closely when opportunities for a successful attack open up. And America has provided him with such opportunities in recent years – suffice it to mention Syria and the 2016 presidential elections “.
According to Khrushcheva, “a leader in Russia, by definition, must be a strong figure capable of uniting different strata of society, different territories, different cultural traditions and mentality. This leader is called upon to confront the insidious West, which always gives bad advice. “.
“In this regard, Putin is following in the footsteps of his predecessors such as Peter I, Catherine II, Nicholas I, Joseph Stalin,” Khrushcheva said. They were land gatherers, which is very important for Russia with its imperial consciousness. In this, the leaders differed from, say, Gorbachev with his perestroika, or my grandfather Nikita Khrushchev, who condemned the personality cult of Stalin. Russian history resembles a swinging pendulum: an autocrat is a reformer, an autocrat is a reformer, and so on. “.
According to Khrushchev, one should not be surprised that Boris Yeltsin chose Putin as his successor..
“The Russian people, who saw in the 90s a gigantic scale of corruption under the beautiful slogans of democratization, began to call it all“ crap, ”the political scientist recalled. – And this is where Putin appears. Yeltsin could have chosen someone else, because there was a choice. But he chose this nondescript KGB officer, who, having become an important official in the apparatus of the St. Petersburg mayor Sobchak, quickly acquired mafia connections and moved up the career ladder. Yeltsin handed over power to him under the guarantee that he would protect the safety and condition of him and his family “.
Has the United States chosen the right strategy for Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union? – asked the guest.
“America could have been more generous by defeating Russia in the Cold War,” Khrushcheva replied. – After all, the imperial pride of Russia was greatly humiliated. America, on the other hand, continued to lecture Russia, giving her lectures and lectures. Remember Obama said that Putin “looks like a bored student on the back seat.” And Dick Cheney blamed Putin for not being a Democrat. But Dick Cheney himself is a Democrat? No wonder Russia turned its back on America and the West. “.
In the figurative expression of Khrushcheva, “Putin does not hold the lid over the boiler tightly, periodically letting off steam”.
“He is cunning and creates the illusion of legitimacy, compliance with legal norms,” she said. – Freedom of speech in today’s Russia is possible to a certain extent. It is even difficult to determine exactly when it makes sense for a person to be afraid, and when not. Three years ago, on my regular visit to Russia, I went to Red Square, pinning my clothes on a homemade sign with the inscription in Russian: “Putin is Dick” (in English, this would be an insulting comparison. – OS). A young policeman came up to me and asked what the word meant. “What is written,” I replied. He insisted that I explain and then demanded that I leave. At the same time, he checked my documents, wrote down my name, but it seems that he did not in any way associate me with my grandfather. Departing from Moscow, I was anxious, afraid of the consequences. But they did not follow. “.
“Under Stalin, I would have been immediately arrested and thrown into the Kremlin torture chamber. None of this happened, – said Khrushcheva. “Perhaps by the end of Putin’s new presidential term in 2024, he will become a sovereign dictator.”.
Journalist, film critic, correspondent for the Russian Service «Voices of America» in New York.