Rolling Stone: Report from Moscow
In “Putin Clamps Down: A Chilling Report from Moscow,” Rolling Stone reporter Janet Reitman details the destruction of independent media in Russia, the marginalization of the country’s opposition politics, and the replacement of both by “Sovietism with a tsarist face.” (Reitman is the author of Inside Scientology, which contemporary Russia feels a little bit like.)
“Now Russia has entered a new phase, something [cultural critic Artemy] Troitsky recently dubbed “Staliban”: a meld of Soviet-style totalitarianism and ultraconservative orthodoxy, highlighted by vast distrust and moral superiority toward the “decadent” West.
“A few years ago, Oleg Kashin, a passionate oppositionist whose prior work included a lengthy investigation into Russia’s nationalist youth movement, was brutally beaten by unknown assailants and nearly died. Now he lives in Geneva. Though he will never forget his attack, Kashin is one of a number of former activists who has made the surprising shift to support – if somewhat ambivalently – the government’s annexation of Crimea. “This regime killed, jailed, ruined many lives, and in the chain of events, annexing Crimea to Russia is not the worst thing,” Kashin recently posted on his Facebook page. It was actually the best thing Putin could have done, he noted. Because now, if everything truly goes to hell in Russia, “you can move to the Crimea in your old age.”