The armed attempt to save the USSR failed 30 years ago: why it is relevant to the world today

You can download this essay as PDF.
The German version of the essay was published in “
Krass und Konkret” Magazine.

Soon thirty years ago the Soviet Union, and most of state socialism in the world, ceased to exist. The liberalisation process leading to that had been started by Mikhail Gorbachev. The desperate die-hard communist putsch that briefly removed Gorbachev from power in August 1991 failed and precipitated the process Gorbachev had initiated.

Correcting that simplistic version of history one should start by saying that Gorbachev was resolutely and stubbornly fighting against the dissolution of the Soviet super-state until the very…


What will bring about the next revolution?

You can download this essay as PDF.

In the waning days of the WW1 one brave lieutenant of the beleaguered Austro-Hungarian army named Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote a book designed to demonstrate that “what can be said at all, can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about must be passed over in silence”. It was obvious to the author, that the misuse of language he had analysed in the book, would not stop only because the analysis appeared convincing to practitioners and students of philosophy. If one compares, however, the political narratives of Wittgenstein’s lifetime to those of today…


At the end of 2020, Liz Truss, a UK government minister, shocked some, and amused others, by mentioning the famous French philosopher Michel Foucault in a highly unusual speech. “While we were taught about racism and sexism, — the Tory minister said, — there was too little time spent making sure everyone could read and write. These ideas have their roots in postmodernist philosophy — pioneered by Foucault — that puts societal power structures and labels ahead of individuals and their endeavours. …


The Death of Democracy is yet to be announced.

Man is not born free (sorry, Rousseau): we are not free to choose the circumstances of our birth and may be born into poverty, slavery or a country at war — and then, anyway, will spend our whole lives being lied to, and lying.

What if such maxim had been a default position in our worldview? Would humanity not stand a better chance of solving the philosophical and political problems it has tried and failed to solve for centuries?

Men have been afraid to postulate anything of the kind. The first one to do it would be accused of cynicism…


Один печально известный западный политик XX века сформулировал одну простую мысль: Запад сможет поддерживать свой высокий жизненный уровень только за счет остального мира, который должен жить на более низком уровне. Он, Адольф Гитлер, не проорал это толпе в качестве лозунга или гиперболы, а рационально изложил на встрече с немецкими промышленниками и предпринимателями. Уже после падения берлинской стены и распада СССР выдающийся драматург и интеллектуал Хайнер Мюллер сказал, что Гитлер, по сути, победил, потому что победила его идея, что в мире “на всех не хватит”.

Без малого тридцать лет спустя прилетевший из Германии, но тут же арестованный оппозиционный российский политик, по…


Ten years ago, when I first thought of making a film about Sergei Magnitsky, hardly anyone in the West had heard of him. On November 18th 2020, at an online event organised by prominent MEPs, Magnitsky’s name reverberated with fame and glory; the glory of a martyr, in the tradition of Giordano Bruno, or Martin Luther King.

The event reached its political climax when Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, pronounced Magnitsky’s name as a symbol of Europe’s retaliation against corruption and violence going on outside of the EU. And there was another man the President…


Мы, русские, всегда чего-то ждали. Даже у самых циничных и прагматичных из нас, всегда было какое-то сокровенное ожидание, идеальное видение какого-то будущего, где-то не здесь, где-то там… Это было и в героях чеховских пьес, и в советской интеллигенции, и остаётся, несмотря на прозу капитализма, в русской душе до сих пор.

Есть мнение, что первородный грех, или врожденный дефект, новой (постсоветской) России в том, что общество пассивно получило радикальные изменения сверху, а не активно боролось за них снизу. …


The virus propaganda begging the question

“Nothing is more free than the imagination of man, and though it cannot exceed the original stock furnished by the internal and external senses, it has unlimited power of mixing, compounding, separating and dividing these ideas in all the varieties of fiction and vision. It can feign the train of events with all the appearance of reality, ascribe to them a particular time and place, conceive them as existent and paint them out to itself with every circumstance that belongs to any historical fact which it believes with the greatest certainty.”

To me, David Hume, who wrote those words, has…

Andrei Nekrasov

film director, writer

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