Why I Left Crimea

By Andrei Nechayevsky
Translated from the Russian by The Russian Reader (original post)

“I would like to live in a province near the sea, but not in a place where ‘unreliable elements’ are purged.”

I am from Donetsk myself. My wife and I moved to Crimea ten years ago. We built a house outside of Kerch, in the backcountry. There isn’t a soul there in winter.

Suddenly, in February 2014, Russian choppers were flying over us every night. Then troops marched through Kerch. I saw it with my own eyes.

There was this fabulous thing: Russian religious pilgrims, columns of buses filled with people who were supposedly traveling en masse to worship Crimea’s Orthodox relics. I watched them change into army uniforms in a church yard.

Kerch was inundated with completely atypical characters: there were a huge number of Cossacks. I was getting hassled in town on the street, something that had never happened before. Drunken, fairly strong men would come up to me and ask, “Where you from, lad?” And this “lad” is fucking forty-five years old!

I got the feeling that everyone had lost their minds. Continue Reading

Russian Avant-Garde in the Age of Disinformation

Transcribed from the 28 February 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the full interview:

 

“This is the funny thing: when people don’t believe in anything, when they’re cynical about everything, they’re actually incredibly easy to manipulate.”

Continue Reading

Remember “Making the World Safe for Democracy”?

Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 15 November 2014 episode and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the full interview:

 

“So I’m standing there on the bridge in Sarajevo where the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand happened. It’s June 28th, 2014—the exact 100th anniversary of the assassination—and ISIS is live-tweeting their invasion from Syria into Iraq. Under the hashtag #SykesPicotOver.”

Chuck Mertz: This week we honor the anniversary of World War I ending on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.” Instead, the peace that ended hostilities wound up being the peace to end all peace. Especially in the Middle East.

Continue Reading

Building Cultural Sustainability in the Digital Age

1

AntiNote: The following is an extended excerpt of a radio interview, edited for readability.

On 19 April 2014 Chuck Mertz of This is Hell! Radio (Chicago) interviewed author, filmmaker, cultural critic and musician Astra Taylor about imagining new models for digital media that reflect truly revolutionary cultural values.

Although she does not attempt to provide specific solutions, we appreciate her impulse to work collectively on developing them and we are struck by the simple elegance of her observation that the tech ‘revolution’ has not been all that revolutionary—yet.

Frequent visitors to Antidote as well as our growing network of invaluable collaborators will already be familiar with our obsession with this issue and our own efforts at cultivating a more cooperative rather than competitive spirit in the production and dissemination of culture and information. As we emphasize repeatedly, we won’t overcome the prevailing commercial media model by imitating its most pernicious attributes (in way, we have been painfully reminded of this once again by the fall from grace of Chris Hedges. Competition, ego, position leverage, fetishizing status…need we go on?).

Astra Taylor takes us a few steps further in this thinking by identifying a few more of these attributes and inviting us to imagine, more concretely, what we would like to see in their place.

“‘Innovation,’ ‘disruption’ and ‘openness’ are all terms that can be twisted to serve business imperatives.”

Continue Reading