Nothing is true and everything is possible The surreal heart of the new Russia

Peter Pomerantsev

Book - 2014

"A journey into the glittering, surreal heart of 21st-century Russia: into the lives of oligarchs convinced they are messiahs, professional killers with the souls of artists, Bohemian theater directors turned Kremlin puppet-masters, supermodel sects, post-modern dictators, and playboy revolutionaries. This is a world erupting with new money and new power, changing so fast it breaks all sense of reality, where life is seen as a whirling, glamorous masquerade where identities can be switched ...and all values are changeable"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : PublicAffairs [2014]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
vii, 241 pages ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (page 241).
ISBN
9781610394550
1610394550
Main Author
Peter Pomerantsev (author)
  • Reality show Russia
  • Cracks in the Kremlin matrix
  • Forms of delirium.
Review by Booklist Reviews

The new Russia has caught on to the West, adopting its language of democracy and capitalism, all while still state-controlled as it has moved "from communism to perestroika to shock therapy to penury to oligarchy to mafia state to mega-rich," declares Pomerantsev. The son of Russian émigrés, raised in England, a self-described third-rate assistant to others' projects, Pomerantsev returned to Russia to work in the fast-growing television and film industry. With little to recommend him other than having lived and worked in London, he was given enormous power and entrée to observe Russia's propaganda machine. He chronicles encounters with leggy blondes studying at gold-digger academies, gangsters turned television producers, legions of expats returning to make money, and "international development consultants" evangelizing on behalf of democratic capitalism but blind to the realities of the new Russia. Pomerantsev offers a scathing and totally engaging portrait of corruption and illusion in a place of gangsters and glitterati, of sudden dizzying oil wealth, numbing old poverty, and the same old politics wrapped up in exciting new packaging. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This debut from television producer Pomerantsev vividly describes the decade, starting in 2001, that he spent in Vladimir Putin's "New Russia" pursuing a film school degree and TV work. Along the way, it reveals the complex truth about 21st-century Russia, with all of its new possibility, wealth, power, and corruption. Born in Kiev but raised in England by exiled Russian parents, Pomerantsev decided to move back to his native country, partly because he felt like he had "always been an observer looking in at Russia" and "wanted to get closer." The book is divided into distinct parts—"Reality Show Russia," "Cracks in the Kremlin Matrix," and "Forms of Delirium"— suggesting the three-act structure taught in modern screenwriting manuals and emphasizing the feel of "performance" in the new Russia. Highlights of the narrative include Pomerantsev's experiences producing a TV documentary called How to Marry a Millionaire (A Gold Digger's Guide), interviewing gangster-turned-movie star Vitaliy Djomochka, attending a lecture by Kremlin propaganda mastermind Vladislav Surkov, and sampling the excess of Moscow nightlife. Sometimes horrifying but always compelling, this book exposes the bizarre reality hiding beneath the facade of a "youthful, bouncy, glossy country." Agency: Melanie Jackson Agency. (Nov.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A British television producer reveals the corruption involved in every social and political aspect of Russian life, from propaganda gurus running the Russian media to Siberian mafia-towns and the international cabal of the super-rich.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

In the new Russia, even dictatorship is a reality show.Professional killers with the souls of artists, would-be theater directors turned Kremlin puppet-masters, suicidal supermodels, Hell's Angels who hallucinate themselves as holy warriors, and oligarch revolutionaries: welcome to the glittering, surreal heart of twenty-first-century Russia. It is a world erupting with new money and new power, changing so fast it breaks all sense of reality, home to a form of dictatorship—far subtler than twentieth-century strains—that is rapidly rising to challenge the West.When British producer Peter Pomerantsev plunges into the booming Russian TV industry, he gains access to every nook and corrupt cranny of the country. He is brought to smoky rooms for meetings with propaganda gurus running the nerve-center of the Russian media machine, and visits Siberian mafia-towns and the salons of the international super-rich in London and the US. As the Putin regime becomes more aggressive, Pomerantsev finds himself drawn further into the system.Dazzling yet piercingly insightful, Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible is an unforgettable voyage into a country spinning from decadence into madness.