Putin at the Defender of the Fatherland Day concert. Moscow. February 23, 2023.
We recorded this episode on February 26, two days after the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its attempt to take Kiev. We talk about how a state of war has become the new normal for Russian society. Putin is not the nervous wreck he was a year ago. He struts around smugly smiling now, talking about the war not in concrete terms but in eternal civilizational ones — and it seems to be working very well politically for him. We also talk about how it’s much the same on the American side. Ukraine has become a stand-in for freedom, liberty, democracy. So in the end both sides present this as a civilizational conflict, rather than an old school big power fight over territory and influence. Meanwhile, capitalism and industrialism grind along in the background…
A couple of notes.
Evgenia talked about an interview that Greg Yudin did with Meduza where he praised Lenin’s thinking about imperialism and was mocked by Russian liberals for it. We also mentioned Stephen Kotkin’s interview with the New Yorker about how he thinks the war will end, in which he basically lays out the elite American view on the war: It has been good for “us.” It has brought the West together, shored up our ideals. We also talked about the essay Evgenia wrote a few months after the invasion. Check it out: Welcome to the "RuZZkiy Mir”…
Looking back on the last year, I realize we recorded a lot episodes on this shitty war — and the history and politics surrounding it.
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