Reviving The Realm Of Czars And Emperors

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping during a reception at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21. (Pavel Byrkin / SPUTNIK / AFP) Civilizational identity stands behind Xi and Putin’s front against a liberal world order. BY NATHAN GARDELS – Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of Noema Magazine. Where a host meets his guests reveals the context in which he wants to be regarded. The background decor of the chosen setting is more than a telling detail. It is the writing on the wall.  In the case of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the image of power they want … Continue reading Reviving The Realm Of Czars And Emperors

At the Kremlin in 1943

Stalin presented Orthodox leaders with a proposal: the Soviet state that had destroyed their Church would bring it back Russian Orthodox Monks, Zagorsk, USSR 1958. Photo courtesy Cornell Capa, International Center of Photography/Magnum Kathryn David is a historian with the Office of the Historian, US Department of State. She was formerly a Mellon Assistant Professor of Russian and East European Studies at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. The views presented here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Department of State or the US government. She is working on the book One Ukraine, Under God. In September 1943, as … Continue reading At the Kremlin in 1943

As Western Liberalism Declines, Civilization States Return

Moonassi The civilization state is reemerging and taking us beyond the opposition between liberalism and nationalism.  BY BRUNO MAÇÃES, was Portugal’s secretary of state for European affairs from 2013 to 2015 and is now a senior adviser at Flint Global and a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations. His two most recent books are “History Has Begun” and “Geopolitics for the End Time.” KYIV, Ukraine — Samuel Huntington, who is often thought of as having written about civilizations, in fact wrote about identity. The two concepts have nothing in common, and the confusion between them explains why Huntington argued … Continue reading As Western Liberalism Declines, Civilization States Return

The most controversial painting in Russian history

Created in the 1880s, “Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan,” which depicts a father murdering his son, divides Russians to this day. KEY TAKEAWAYS Tim Brinkhof In 19th century Russia, writers spoke loud and clear. Instead of hiding their personal beliefs behind dense layers of symbolism, they wrote unambiguously about the social, political, and economic problems of their time. This made them somewhat unique in the literary world. Indeed, where the true meaning of books like Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness continues to be debated to this day, there has never been any doubt that Nikolay Chernyshevsky’s What is to be Done? is, … Continue reading The most controversial painting in Russian history

Trenches in Chernobyl

An abandoned Russian trench near a military post in the Chernobyl exclusion zone in Ukraine, 13 September 2022. Photo by Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Agency via Getty Disturbing and inhaling radioactive dust, in their haste Russian soldiers unburied the wrecked, undead Earth itself Michael Marder is Ikerbasque Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country in Vitoria-Gasteiz, northern Spain. His books include Green Mass (2021), Philosophy for Passengers (2022) and The Phoenix Complex: A Philosophy of Nature (forthcoming, 2023). Contemporary events appear in ever-shifting configurations. They seem to be entirely contingent, their amplification on the global scale dependent on how many people are paying attention. The … Continue reading Trenches in Chernobyl

Leo Tolstoy on the Obsolescence of the State as a Form of Government and the Antidote to Violence

“Violence no longer rests on the belief in its utility, but only on the fact of its having existed so long, and being organized by the ruling classes who profit by it.” BY MARIA POPOVA “To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears,” Octavia Butler wrote in her searing admonition about choosing our leaders. “To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.” But in some deep animal sense, to be led at all is to risk handing one’s own moral conscience over to another. … Continue reading Leo Tolstoy on the Obsolescence of the State as a Form of Government and the Antidote to Violence

Life and Death and More Life: Leo Tolstoy on Science, Spirituality, and Our Search for Meaning

“A caterpillar sees itself shrivel up, but doesn’t see the butterfly which flies out of it.” BY MARIA POPOVA “How can a creature who will certainly die have an understanding of things that will exist forever?” asks the poetic physicist and scientific novelist Alan Lightman on the pages of his exquisite inquiry into the nature of existence. We can’t, of course — but out of those creaturely limits, out of our longing to transcend them, arises our eternal hunger for meaning, arises everything we might call art. Nick Cave intuited this in his lovely meditation on music, feeling, and transcendence in the … Continue reading Life and Death and More Life: Leo Tolstoy on Science, Spirituality, and Our Search for Meaning

‘Whoever compares Putin to Hitler must be prepared for an all-out war’

French politician Henri Guaino, a senior adviser to former President Nicolas Sarkozy, says “Everyone contributes to the outset of a war; at some point we are at a point of no return.”  By  Eldad Beck Is the prolonged war in Ukraine, running its fifth month and with its economic implications felt worldwide, starting to raise a different train of thought in European capitals regarding the management of the military crisis vis-à-vis Russia? One of the first to warn against the “lust for war” and the total recruitment on Ukraine’s side was French politician, Henri Guaino, a senior advisor to former President … Continue reading ‘Whoever compares Putin to Hitler must be prepared for an all-out war’

The discontent of Russia

Lenin envisioned Soviet unity. Stalin called Russia ‘first among equals’. Yet Russian nationalism never went away Joy Neumeyer is a writer and historian of Russia and Eastern Europe. A former reporter in Moscow, her writing has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic, among others. On 19 November 1990, Boris Yeltsin gave a speech in Kiev to announce that, after more than 300 years of rule by the Russian tsars and the Soviet ‘totalitarian regime’ in Moscow, Ukraine was free at last. Russia, he said, did not want any special role in dictating Ukraine’s future, nor did … Continue reading The discontent of Russia


A look at the grim scenarios—and the U.S. playbook for each By Eric Schlosser The 12th main directorate of the Russian Ministry of Defense operates a dozen central storage facilities for nuclear weapons. Known as “Object S” sites and scattered across the Russian Federation, they contain thousands of nuclear warheads and hydrogen bombs with a wide variety of explosive yields. For the past three months, President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials have been ominously threatening to use nuclear weapons in the war against Ukraine. According to Pavel Podvig, the director of the Russian Nuclear Forces Project and a former research fellow at the Moscow Institute of … Continue reading WHAT IF RUSSIA USES NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN UKRAINE?