The New York Review

Este archivo solo abarca los artículos del periódico incoporados a este sitio a partir del 1 de mayo de 2007.

Reconstructing Ukraine

It is not well understood how heavily the shadow of the violent breakup of Yugoslavia hangs over Ukraine. Vladimir Putin and his allies frequently cite the case of Kosovo, which was once Serbia’s southern province and declared independence in 2008, as a precedent for Russia’s recognition—and subsequent annexation—of Crimea in 2014 and parts of eastern Ukraine last year. Whether that parallel is valid or not is beside the point. For Putin, Russia’s failure to stop NATO’s seventy-eight-day bombardment of Serbia in 1999, as hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians fled Serbian forces during their war with the Kosovo Albanian guerrillas, marked the nadir of its post-Soviet collapse and humiliation.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ukrainians gather at the grave of the poet Taras Shevchenko, Kaniv, Ukraine, September 1991. Alain Nogues/Sygma/Getty Images

The Soviet Union’s demise in 1991 took everyone by surprise, including the man most directly responsible for it. In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev had launched perestroika (“reconstruction”), a reform program aimed at radically restructuring Soviet society. A crucial aspect of this initiative, glasnost, promised that the party-state’s work would from then on be “transparent”. In other words, Communist officials could be criticized openly. Among the many unexpected consequences of these reforms was the emergence of new civil-political organizations that broke the Communist Party’s monopoly on public space.

In the Soviet Union’s satellites in Eastern Europe, perestroika emboldened domestic opposition movements that helped launch the series of “gentle” revolutions, such as Solidarity in Poland and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, that brought down Communist regimes in 1989.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cut, Mold, Reshape, Tear

According to his mother, as Roland Penrose and John Richardson both recount in their biographies, Picasso could draw before he could speak. “The first sound that he made was ‘piz, piz…baby language for lapiz, i.e., pencil”, Richardson writes. “When given a pencil, the infant would apparently draw spirals that represented a snail-shaped fritter called a torruela”.

Richardson adds that “none of the earliest drawings have survived, so these accounts have to be taken on faith”. By the time Picasso was nine, however, his mother began to keep the work he was making. This gives us the first two works on display in “Picasso: Cut Papers” at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles: cutouts in paper of a dog and a dove, both dated circa 1890.…  Seguir leyendo »

View of a dust storm across the Sahara Desert, September, 2014. Stocktrek/Getty Images

In a cramped, fluorescent-lit office in Tripoli up several flights of stairs, a middle-aged official and his staff labor on what is perhaps the most important work for future generations of Libyans. It’s a command center of sorts: flashing computer monitors on desks, cables everywhere, and satellite maps on the wall marked with great swirls and arrows. The battle isn’t against a military opponent, like the innumerable armed groups and their political backers who have been fighting for power and economic spoils in this oil-rich state since the ouster of Muammar Qadhafi during the NATO-backed revolution of 2011. The scourge is far more insidious, and the country’s bickering elites seem woefully unprepared to tackle it.…  Seguir leyendo »

Children playing in the main square of the city of Kherson after the retreat of Russian troops, Ukraine, November 14, 2022

As we started to descend, the air was warmer and more humid than in the cool Cathedral of St. Catherine above us. Father Ilia had yanked open the heavy trapdoors to the vault where Grigory Potemkin was buried in 1791. Prince, general, and lover of the Russian empress Catherine the Great, Potemkin had delivered Crimea for Russia’s empire, founded Kherson, and planned the colonization of what is today southern Ukraine. Now, in the beam of a flashlight, we could see the low dais on which his coffin had lain until Russian soldiers removed it two weeks ago. The official explanation was for “safekeeping”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Jair Bolsonaro, center, at a meeting with religious leaders in São Paulo, October 22, 2022. Caio Guatelli/AFP/Getty

At the beginning of 2013, there was seemingly no one on the right in Brazil’s political system. No one who admitted it, anyway. The Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, or PT) was confidently sailing through its third presidential term, and the former guerrilla Dilma Rousseff was enjoying approval ratings only slightly lower than the record set by her predecessor, Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, who ended his mandate with the support of more than 80 percent of Brazilians. The main opposition party, the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB), was called right-wing by PT supporters, but denied this vigorously. Like the rest of the most visible actors in the country, they had defined themselves in opposition to Brazil’s brutal, US-backed dictatorship, which ended in the 1980s.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indigenous demonstrators celebrating the signing of a peace agreement between the Ecuadorian government and the Indigenous movement, Quito, June 30, 2022. Klaus Galiano/Agencia Press South/Getty Images.

For eighteen days this June, thousands of Ecuadorians participated in a national strike that blocked highways across the country, paralyzed the capital city of Quito, and obstructed oil wells and mining sites from the northern Amazon to the southern Andes. Led by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), an umbrella group of Indigenous organizations founded in 1986, this mass mobilization was the first of its scale in Ecuador since 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic and before the conservative president Guillermo Lasso, the former CEO of one of Ecuador’s largest banks, took office. For two weeks, Indigenous and peasant families, including women, men, elders, and children, came to Quito from across the country and flooded the city’s streets, joined by members of social organizations and labor unions.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Mikhailovsky Cathedral in Kyiv, August 4, 2022

In August I spent two weeks traveling around Ukraine by train, using my sketchbook to document quotidian existence in the shadow of Russia’s invasion. By the time I arrived the Ukrainian army had largely pushed the war back to the country’s south and east. Lviv, Odesa, and Kyiv had returned to vivid life. Kids tore around on scooters. Buskers played the bandura. Babushkas sold vegetables off blankets. Girls with perfect blowouts smoked shishas in cafés that spilled out over cobblestone streets. But it’s a deceptive sort of enchantment. In ways large and small, the war had mutilated every person’s life.

Some people I met had fled the destroyed cities of Mariupol and Kharkiv.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Uneasy Alliance in Jerusalem. Amir Levy/Getty Images

On June 30, 2022, the Israeli Knesset voted to dissolve itself, setting the country on the path to a fifth parliamentary election in just three years. Since the first of those elections in April 2019, Israeli politics have bifurcated into pro- and anti-Netanyahu blocs, with public debate centering almost exclusively on Benjamin Netanyahu’s fitness for office in light of his ongoing corruption trial. Last year, however, the struggle between these blocs produced a surprising development. The anti-Netanyahu forces, headed by the former TV host Yair Lapid and the former settler leader Naftali Bennett, managed to depose Israel’s longest-serving prime minister by forming a coalition that, for the first time in Israeli history, formally included an independent Arab-led party: Ra’am, the socially conservative, moderate-Islamist party headed by Mansour Abbas, a mild-mannered dentist from the Galilee.…  Seguir leyendo »

The uninhabited village of Sarnago in the northern province of Soria, Spain, February 2017. Cesar Manso/AFP/Getty Images

On March 31, 2019, residents of Madrid woke up to a mass demonstration of some 100,000 people in the streets decrying the problem of sangría demográfica, or demographic hemorrhaging. This arresting metaphor alludes to a depopulation crisis that has left large swaths of Spain barely inhabited. Under the banner “The Revolt of Emptied Spain”, protesters from twenty-four rural provinces complained of neglect from government agencies, poor Internet service, lack of access to transportation and healthcare, and indifference from Spanish multinationals and those who live in Spain’s thriving urban centers. Inspired by other successful demonstrations in the capital, such as those that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2005, their signs invoked the rhetoric of social justice and human rights: “Equality for all”, “My choice of lifestyle does not deprive me of my rights”, and “I am a rural citizen, and I am in danger of extinction”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Jean-Luc Mélenchon addresses journalists on June 2 during a campaign stop in Poitiers with Yannick Nadesan of the Communist Party and the city’s Green party mayor, Léonore Moncond’huy.

Nathalie Cullell lives in a small French village of eight hundred people called La Cabanasse in the Pyrenees mountains, near the Spanish border. For some time, she’s been noticing that public services have been disappearing, one after the other. Schools are being closed, as are post offices. Her neighbors travel further to go to work. A cancer patient needing chemotherapy, she says, now needs to drive an hour and a half to the nearest big town, Perpignan.

In 2018, Cullell joined her local gilets jaunes movement. A news report from that time shows her standing by the side of the road, beating a barrel like a drum. …  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters at a demonstration organized by the pan-Africanist platform Yerewolo to celebrate France’s announcement to withdraw French troops from Mali, Bamako, February 19, 2022

In an April communiqué dressed up as an interview with Jeune Afrique, the Francophone African weekly of record, Victoria Nuland, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, assured the paper’s readers that there is no “new cold war” underway in today’s world. There is only the imperative to defend “our system which favors freedom, which defends the self-determination of states, their independence, their sovereignty in opposition to authoritarian regimes, whether in Russia, in China, in Iran or in North Korea.” Nuland did not clarify who the possessive “our” refers to, but most Jeune Afrique readers would think she meant the West.…  Seguir leyendo »

The end of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey would be catastrophic for American women, generations of whom have lived with access to abortion. Near the end of his draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, however, Justice Samuel Alito gives a cynically upbeat prediction about its potential effects. Rather than forthrightly address the suffering the Court’s decision would cause, he casts it as a benevolent grant to women voters in individual states—one that would “return the issue of abortion to legislative bodies” and allow “women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to affect the legislative process”.…  Seguir leyendo »

The conventional wisdom is that one cannot judge a Supreme Court justice by his or her first few years on the Court. There is nothing that really prepares one for the awesome power—and responsibility—that a Supreme Court justice holds. Justices typically take some time to find their feet, and tread lightly as they grow into the role.

Not so, however, for the three Trump-appointed justices—Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch—who have been on the Court one, three, and five years, respectively. If the leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization holds, all three will join in overturning one of the Court’s most important decisions of all time, a decision that protects the fundamental right of women to control their own bodies and fates, and that has stood for half a century.…  Seguir leyendo »

An apartment building struck by a missile in the Pavlovo Pole district, Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 27, 2022. Tim Judah

“Get out! You don’t have permission to be here! Didn’t you see the sign on the gate?” shouted the official. But it was open briefly when I walked by on the evening of March 28, and sixty seconds were enough to sear the image on anyone’s mind for a lifetime: some one hundred dead bodies lined up and, in one section, piled up to three deep in the courtyard of Kharkiv’s central morgue. Frozen by the cold, some were in body bags; many were not. Some had shoes; some were in socks. Bare legs protruded from under sheets. Some were old.…  Seguir leyendo »

A boy holding a Ukrainian flag as part of a tribute to a soldier killed in action against Russia as his coffin passed the village of Staryi Vovchynets, Ukraine, March 5, 2022. Alexey Furman/Getty Images.

A sardonic joke has been spreading on Ukrainian social media since Russia began its full-scale invasion of the country on February 24. There are several variations, but it basically goes: Maybe now NATO can apply to join Ukraine. While Ukrainians have expressed a strong desire to join the NATO alliance in recent years, this meme flips that expected script, highlighting instead the colossal resistance efforts undertaken by Ukrainians since the invasion began. These efforts have stunned onlookers; the David and Goliath cliché seems actually to apply. Against the enormity of the Russian military, few outside Ukraine expected Ukrainians to put up such a fierce fight, or to maintain control of major cities for as long as they have.…  Seguir leyendo »

A display in “Seventy Years of the Atomic Industry: A Chain Reaction of Success,” organized by the Rosatom agency, Moscow, Russia, September 2, 2015

As Russian tanks rolled on their way to encircle Kyiv, and Russian bombs and rockets drove Ukrainians toward their borders as refugees, a familiar sense of helplessness spread in the West. We can assist those who flee. And we can hit Moscow with sanctions and exclusions. But as was the case with Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, we cannot intervene directly to help. We cannot deploy NATO’s vastly superior air force to close the skies over Ukraine and save the thousands of Ukrainians who will otherwise die as a result of Russia’s war of aggression. We in the West cannot send our troops to fight alongside the heroic defenders of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipro.…  Seguir leyendo »

President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol celebrates with supporters in Seoul, South Korea, March 10, 2022

It is tempting to compare Yoon Suk-yeol, the career prosecutor who was elected president of South Korea last week, to former US president Donald Trump. There’s his lack of political experience, his flip-flop from one party to another, his questionable acquisition of familial wealth, his misogyny, his distaste for the poor and appeals to the rich—even his hairstyle.

Yoon is unlike Trump in one regard: he won the popular vote, albeit by only 247,000 ballots in a country of 52 million. The South Korean system is first past the post, so the margin does not matter. Yoon’s conservative People Power Party won 48.56 percent, while the other major candidate, Lee Jae-myung of outgoing president Moon Jae-in’s liberal Minjoo Democratic Party, garnered 47.83 percent.…  Seguir leyendo »

“I miss my father terribly,” said Valery, right, who left the Lviv Oblast with his friend and their mothers, Przemysl, Poland, March 3, 2022

Editor’s note: More than a million Ukrainians have fled the country in the ten days since Russian forces invaded. Millions more have been internally displaced, as the conflict continues. The French photojournalist Louis Witter reached the small town of Medyka, in southeastern Poland close to the Ukrainian border, at the beginning of the week. There he found hundreds of newly arrived Ukrainians, bewildered, lost, and lacking basic items. It was cold, sometimes snowing; many people had brought with them their pets, which now shared the harsh conditions.

Soon, humanitarian volunteers from all over Europe began arriving to help, buses started ferrying the refugees to the nearby city of Przemyl, and local Polish people mobilized to take care of the more than three hundred thousand people crossing the border.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taria Blazhevych and her sons with their tent in Dorohozhychi metro station, Kyiv, Ukraine, March 2,2022

“You can find me on LinkedIn,” said Taria Blazhevych. She is a quality assurance software engineer, married, with two children and a white rabbit called Fluffy Steve. The other day, while camping, she celebrated her twenty-seventh birthday; for presents, her kids drew her pictures. On her LinkedIn page, she has eighteen skills listed. She is obviously entrepreneurial because the reason I went to talk to her was that she was the first person to have pitched a tent in Kyiv’s Dorohozhychi metro station. “Camping,” here, means living there, in what is now an improvised underground bomb shelter. A darkened train has been drawn up at the station platform with its doors open, for people to sleep in.…  Seguir leyendo »