Putin Country: A Journey into the Real Russia by Anne Garrels

By Anne Garrels

Greater than two decades in the past, the NPR correspondent Anne Garrels first visited Chelyabinsk, a gritty military-industrial middle one thousand miles east of Moscow. The longtime domestic of the Soviet nuclear application, the Chelyabinsk quarter contained appealing lakes, shuttered factories, mysterious closed towns, and a few of the main polluted areas on the earth. Garrels’s objective was once to chart the aftershocks of the U.S.S.R.’s cave in by means of touring to Russia’s heartland.
Returning many times, Garrels stumbled on that the area’s new freedoms and possibilities have been fascinating but additionally disturbing. because the fiscal cave in of the early Nineties abated, the town of Chelyabinsk grew to become richer and extra cosmopolitan, whilst respectable corruption and intolerance for minorities grew extra entrenched. Sushi eating places proliferated; so did shakedowns. within the neighboring geographical region, villages crumbled into the floor. faraway from the glitz of Moscow, the folks of Chelyabinsk have been figuring out their country’s future, individual by way of person.
In Putin Country, Garrels crafts an intimate portrait of heart Russia. We meet upwardly cellular pros, impassioned activists who champion the rights of orphans and disabled young children, and ostentatious mafiosi. we find dazzling subcultures, resembling a colourful underground homosexual group and a circle of made up our minds Protestant evangelicals. And we watch medical professionals and lecturers attempting to do something about inescapable payoffs and institutionalized negligence. As Vladimir Putin tightens his grip on energy and battle in Ukraine ends up in Western sanctions and a reduce way of life, the neighborhood inhabitants mingles belligerent nationalism with a deep ambivalence approximately their country’s course. via all of it, Garrels sympathetically charts an ongoing id concern. within the aftermath of the Soviet Union, what's Russia? what sort of satisfaction and unity can it provide? Drawing on shut friendships sustained over decades, Garrels explains why Putin instructions the loyalty of such a lot of Russians, even those that decry the abuses of energy they often encounter.
Correcting the misconceptions of Putin’s supporters and critics alike, Garrels’s portrait of Russia’s silent majority is either crucial and fascinating interpreting at a time whilst chilly warfare tensions are resurgent.

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Planning became, in a sense, a conceptual rather than practical or pragmatic activity, a process of imposing dreams on reality. 23 It signalled the beginning of a shift in attitude toward the remodelling of the territory. The drive for industrialization initiated by the First Plan effected a sudden transformation in the imaginary national map, accelerating the process of otkrytie (opening up) the territory that had begun through electrification. ”24 Two hundred new industrial towns and one hundred agricultural towns were to be built as part of the Plan—many of them, such as Magnitogorsk, Avtostroi, and Kominternovsk, on virgin territory (Figure ).

Lenin’s light is starting to burn . . ” In practice, however, the representation of electrification in documentary films made visible a more complex dialectic of homogeneity and difference in the representation of the relationship between local and national spaces. Sitting ambiguously between a drive for sameness and an emphasis on equality, the model of the grid raised important questions about the status of localness in Soviet imaginary geography. Illuminated, the village became a mark on the ideological map, woven into a national network.

Reprinted from Oktiabr’skie Stranitsy (‒ ), compiled by V. S. Listov and G. A. Ambernadi, . Connecting Figure . ” From SSSR na stroike, , no. : . in the battle against the remnants (ostatki) of capitalism and economic backwardness in the countryside and the means of achieving the ideal of smychka. 18 The plan was to function as a symbolic and educational artefact, explicitly uniting centre and periphery, local and national spaces. As part of the propaganda and publicity programme accompanying electrification, the journalist I.

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