A Hero's Daughter by Andrei Makine

By Andrei Makine

In international struggle II Ivan Demidov received the pink Army's optimum award for bravery, that of Hero of the Soviet Union. however the a long time following the conflict have introduced him a lifetime of problem, alleviated in basic terms via his satisfaction during this fulfillment and the modest privileges granted to battle veterans. His daughter, Olya, nevertheless, born in 1961 and educated as a linguist, takes up a submit as an interpreter at Moscow's overseas enterprise heart with entry to a metropolitan way of life past the goals of her mom and dad. the single capture is that her task contains servicing international businessmen round the clock and passing on information regarding them to the KGB. it is a attractive drama of disillusionment and rigidity among the 2 generations: the person who grew up below Stalin and observed its religion in him disintegrate and the one who grew up lower than Brezhnev, fixated at the glamour of the West and its fabric items. Makine's shiny and genuine evocation of way of life in post-war Soviet Russia fits in its depth the images of nineteenth-century Russian existence provided via Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.

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And the Yukos Affair had reshaped Russian politics to create state mechanisms capable of delivering those resources. Russia saw itself as competing with the EU’s ‘neighbourhood policy’ and its soft-power instruments. But Russia did not really ‘do’ soft power. It simply used the same political technology methods as it applied at home. According to the blunt and bull-headed Modest Kolerov, one of the key crafters of the neighbourhood policy in the late 2000s, ‘soft power is dead. Soft power means creating points of pressure .

But its means were married to modern capacities. The political technologists were particularly skilled at manipulating information technologies, creating dramas that were literally virtual because they mainly existed on TV; or, later, at nudging, deflecting or reshaping the narratives of social media. Their natural language was Orwellian doublespeak. And as Orwell shrewdly pointed out, the control of language is the first step to the control of meaning, and the manipulation of meaning the first step to the manipulation of politics.

And it’s a storm of applause every time! So Russian ‘neighbourhood policy’ meant bribing local politicians and setting up pro-Russian front parties and sending shadowy funding to new pro-Russian NGOs. 38 It meant working through shadowy front companies like RosUkrEnergo in Ukraine, Prometheus in Greece, Overgas in Bulgaria, Emfesz in Hungary and Vemex in the Czech Republic. It also meant using the less shadowy Gazprom and its offshoots like North Stream and South Stream, polluting all the countries on its route.

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