Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia, by Peter Pomerantsev


"‘Performance’ was the city’s buzzword, a world where gangsters become artists, gold diggers into Pushkin, Hells Angels hallucinate themselves as saints. Russia has seen so many world flick through in such blistering progression--from communism to perestroika to shock therapy to penury to oligarchy to mafia state to mega-rich--that its new heroes were left with the sense that life is just one glittering masquerade, where every role and any position or belief is mutable.” 4

When I first landed in Moscow I thought these infinite transformations the expression of a country liberated, pulling on different costumes in a frenzy of freedom, pushing the limits of personality as far as it could possibly go to what the President’s vizer would call “the heights of creation.” It was only years later that I came to see these endless mutations not as freedom but as forms of delirium, in which scare-puppets and nightmare mystics become convinced they’re almost real and march toward what the President’s vizer would go on to call “the fifth world war, the first non-linear war of all against all.” 4

“In a country covering nine time zones, one-sixth of the world’s land mass, stretching from the PAcific to the Baltic, from the ARctic to the Central Asian deserts, from near-medieval villages where people still draw water from wooden wells by hand, through single-factory towns and back to teb blue glass and steel skyscrapers of the new Moscow...TV is the only force that can unify and rule and bind this country. It’s the central mechanism of a new type of authoritarianism, oen far subtler than twentieth-century strains.” 5

“Tonight is the one chance for the girls to dance and glance their way over the usually impossible barriers of money, private armies, security fences. For one evening a week the most divided city in the northern hemisphere, where the mega-rich live fenced off in a separate, silky civilization, opens a little, narrow sluice into parade. And the girls pile and push and crawl into that little sluice, knowing full well that it will be open for one night before it shuts them back out in a mean Moscow.” 12