As a child growing up in the city of Ufa in the Soviet Union, I was in awe of the giant statue of Lenin that stood not far from my grandmother’s home. Among the stories she tells there is one that involves me, aged four or five, accompanying her to the cemetery where my great-grandmother had recently been buried. When my grandmother cried, I mistook her tears over the loss of her mother for sadness about the obelisk by the grave: It seemed too small.
When she died, I assured her, I would commemorate her with a monument as big as Lenin’s.… Seguir leyendo »
Something surprising is beginning to stir in the outlook of young Russians. A pervasive cynicism about communal action that took hold after the Soviet state and its professed collective ethos collapsed may be making way for a new sensibility — the idea that citizens can organize, be responsible for one another, and ultimately have an effect on how Russia governs itself.
The evidence can be found in the number of young volunteers helping the flood-devastated town of Krymsk, and in the skittishness of some Russian officials about such volunteers.
Soon after an overnight flood destroyed the town of nearly 60,000 people in southern Russia on July 7, killing 172 by official count, perhaps many more, President Vladimir V.… Seguir leyendo »