Saturday, 20 January 2018

{Review by STELLA}

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible is a fascinating account of the surreal world of modern-day Russia. Peter Pomerantsev, the son of Russian emigres, lived in Moscow working in television throughout the first decade of the 2000s. It was a time of oil, mega-wealth for the few, the politics of Putin, and opportunities for those who were not averse to corruption and bribes. In the light of today’s political landscape of fake news and generated media, it comes as no surprise that Russia under is a dab hand at this and has been for a while, and has no qualms about making this obvious. Pomerantsev takes us on a journey into the heart of the strangely real Moscow through his eyes and the people he meets. It’s a society where a gangster can create a hit crime series (Vitali Dyomochka, a Siberian hoodlum, dissatisfied with the crime dramas on Russian television made his own series, starring his henchmen, real bullets and blood). It’s a place where young women either seek rich husbands at the clubs (if they can bribe someone to let them in) or 'mistress' status, which comes with a flat and 24-hour availability. The clubs are flashy and the men are members of the elite who have profited from the downfall of the Soviet Union. It’s a society in which laws change on a whim, where one moment you can be a successful businesswoman and the next in prison for illegally trading in a chemical now labelled as a ‘drug’. It is a society where you want to avoid conscription: young men are rounded up for military service training - an exercise in power, violence and extortion. It's a society in which buildings are torn down to make way for new glittering high-rises that no one can afford: architecture that serves as a symbol of this new crass wealth and a means of money laundering. The lives of these Muscovites are so bizarre you know they must be true. Told in an anecdotal style, Pomerantsev adds integrity and insight with his knowledge of Russian politics and economics, making Nothing is True and Everything is Possible a captivating and frightening study of corruption, fake news and the post-modern dictatorship à la Putin and Trump.

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