"Stability" was one of the watchwords of the 2000s in Russia, supposed to convey a sense of calm after the upheavals of the 1990s. But what Pomerantsev describes is a period of constant flux. Russia "had seen so many worlds flick through in such blistering progression- from communism to perestroika to shock therapy to penury to oligarchy to mafia state to mega-rich - its new heroes left with a sense that life is just one glittering masquerade, where every role and any position or belief is mutable". Putinism itself is built on an ideology of all ideologies at once: liberalism, nationalism, conservatism; Orthodox tradition; an "anti-hegemonic" foreign policy. One key to this new authoritarianism is that "instead of simply oppressing opposition, it climbs inside all ideologies and movements, exploiting them and rendering them absurd". Thus the political system has the appearance of democracy - regular elections, multiple parties, a free media - without any of the substance. The person masterminding this system is Kremlin adviser Vladislav Surkov - the arch puppeteer of Russian politics.
Peter Pomerantsev, born in the UK to Russian born parents, spent almost a decade in Moscow, working as a TV producer, making documentaries and reality shows for Russian audiences. He arrived in the early 2000s, in the midst of an oil boom that brought a measure of prosperity to many and huge wealth to a select few. Peter Pomerantsev is a Senior Fellow of the Legatum Institute in London. His book has been highly praised by Anne Applebaum. "Nothing is True & Everything is Possible" will be on sale to members at £6.50 (retail price £8.99).
This is a GB Russia event and tickets at £7/£5 are only available from the GB Russia Society website at: www.gbrussia.org