Guest: Jeremy Morris is an Associate Professor in the School of Culture and Society at Aarhus University where he researches and writes about the informal economy, class, precarity and post-socialism. His most recent book is Everyday Postsocialism: Working-class Communities in the Russian Margins published by Palgrave. Music: The Clash, “Career Opportunities,” The Clash, 1977.
The back cover of my edition of Alexander Snegirev’s Вера—the title is Vera in Russian, Faith in English—describes the book as a “роман-метафора,” literally a “novel-metaphor.” Vera, which won the 2015 Russian Booker Prize, (when, yes, I really, truly shouted “Snegirev” after I read he’d won…), is a novel that feels both painfully real and a novel whose metaphors feel painful as well as surreal, all served up in Snegirev’s story of a young woman’s life, faith, and attempts at love. I can’t say that Vera’s particularly pleasant to read—there are unsavory characters, dense language, and painful situations that have the real-but-unreal sense I mentioned above—but I have tremendous respect for Snegirev for being able to pull off the novel. I’ve read several of his books now—I thoroughly enjoyed both Petroleum Venus (previous post) and Vanity (previous post)—as well as a number of his stories of varying length. They were all good but Vera is a big step forward for him as a writer. Respect is often worth a lot more than likability.
Hersh said many media outlets failed to provide context when reporting on the intelligence assessment made public in the waning days of the Obama administration that was purported to put to rest any doubt that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking of the DNC and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s emails.
The telephone conversation last Saturday between the American and Russian presidents seems to have been amicable and constructive, at least in a general sense. They are reported to have discussed key world issues as potential partners, not as adversaries or enemies. That is important, for there is no reason to perpetuate the false image that has arisen of late that the two countries are on a collision course. Actually, at the most fundamental level, Russian and American interests are compatible—in many cases identical.
In regard to some important issues, I hope that President Putin will convince President Trump to change the positions he took during the campaign.
In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, the American media has been in a state of panic over allegations of Russian hacking. The frenzy has been promoted by war hawks in both major parties, bolstering their bellicosity.
But what do average Americans really think of the Russians?
To answer this question, I set out on a journey through two cities in the American Rust Belt state of Ohio: Cleveland and Columbus.
In the First World War, armies developed the tactic of ‘bite and hold’. Rather than trying to break through ‘the mud and the blood to the green fields beyond’ (which almost always failed), they would carry out well-prepared and thoroughly rehearsed operations of limited scope designed to seize (‘bite’) a small patch of enemy territory, after which they would halt and defend (‘hold’) what had been captured against the inevitable counterattack.
Judging from recent reports, the Ukrainian army has adopted similar tactics in its war against the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics (DNR and LNR).