Problematic Russians (preview)
In this ep Evgenia and I talk about our trip to Fort Ross — Russia’s old colonial outpost just north of San Francisco — and the ridiculous recent attempts here in America to cancel “Russian” authors and poets like Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Solzhenitsyn, Bulgakov, and Brodsky for spreading the cultural bacillus of Russian anti-Ukranianism. Yes, Bulgakov is Ukrainian. But that apparently doesn’t save him. Because, you know, being Russian is state of mind — a mind full of bad thoughts — it’s not about your ethnicity or where you were born.
Being Soviet Jews it’s funny for us to see people suddenly try to sideline Russian authors for their racism and chauvinism — in this case their supposed anti-Ukrainianism. If we had cancel them for, say, their hate of Jews, we’d have to get rid of not just most Russian literature but pretty much the whole western canon.
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A couple of notes.
There has been a steady stream of articles on the same theme. Two of the best examples: “The Ally of Executioners: Pushkin, Brodsky, and the Deep Roots of Russian Chauvinism” and “Russia’s Long Disdain for Ukrainian Nationhood.” I wrote a bit about this topic a few months ago.
Want to know more? Check out previous episodes of The Russians.