The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia

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THE FUTURE IS HISTORY

HOW TOTALITARIANISM RECLAIMED RUSSIA

MASHA GESSEN

NEW YORK T/MEiS-BESTS ELLING AUTHOR

ALSO BY MASHA GESSEN

Dead Again: The Russian Intelligentsia After Communism Ester and Ruzya: How My Grandmothers Survived Hitler's War and Stalin's

Peace

Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene

Perfect Rigor: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin

Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot

Gay Propaganda: Russian Love Stories (editor)

The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy

THE FUTURE

IS HISTORY

z z

^ ^

HOW TOTALITARIANISM RECLAIMED RUSSIA

Й Z

MASHA GESSEN

RIVERHEAD BOOKS NEW YORK 2017

Copyright © 2017 by Masha Gessen Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to

continue to publish books for every reader.

Anna Akhmatova's publishing rights are acquired via FTM Agency, Ltd., Russia.

Verses from Requiem by Anna Akhmatova are quoted from Anna Akhmatova: Selected Poems Including 'Requiem' by A.S. Kline, translator. Copyright © 2005, 2012. All rights

reserved.

Verses from "Snow-Clad Is the Plain" by Sergey Yesenin are translated from the Russian by

Alec Vagapov.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Gessen, Masha, author. Title: The future is history : how totalitarianism reclaimed Russia / Masha Gessen. Other titles: How totalitarianism reclaimed Russia. Description: New York : Riverhead Books, 2017. Includes bibliographical references and

index.

Identifiers: LCCN 2017014363 (print) | LCCN 2017034714 (ebook) | ISBN 9780698406209

(ebook) | ISBN 9781594634536 (hardcover) Subjects: LCSH: Russia (Federation)-Politics and government—1991- | Russia (Federation) —History—1991- | Moscow Region (Russia)-Intellectual life. | Russia (Federation)—

Biography.

Classification: LCC DK510.763 (ebook) | LCC DK510.763 .G48 2017 (print) | DDC 947.086—

dc23

LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2017014363

RIVERHEAD BOOKS An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC 375 Hudson Street New York, New York 10014

p. cm.

While the author has made every effort to provide accurate Internet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

Version 1

IN MEMORY OF SVETLANA BOYM

CONTENTS

Also by Masha Gessen Title Page Copyright Dedication Dramatis Personae Prologue

PART ONE | BORN IN THE USSR

one Born in 1984 two Life, Examined three Privilege four Homo Sovieticus

PART TWO | REVOLUTION

five Swan Lake

six The Execution of the White House seven Everyone Wants to Be a Millionaire

PART THREE | UNRAVELING

eight Grief, Arrested

nine Old Songs

ten It's All Over All Over Again

PART FOUR | RESURRECTION

eleven Life After Death twelve The Orange Menace

thirteen All in the Family

PART FIVE | PROTEST

fourteen The Future Is History fifteen Budushchego net sixteen White Ribbons seventeen Masha: May 6, 2012

PART SIX | CRACKDOWN

eighteen Seryozha: July 18, 2013 nineteen Lyosha: June 11, 2013 twenty A Nation Divided twenty-one Zhanna: February 27, 2015 twenty-two Forever War

Epilogue

Acknowledgments

Notes

Index

About the Author

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

seven people act as the main characters of this book, making appearances throughout the narrative. I have used a modified Russian convention to refer to them. As anyone who has ever read a Russian novel knows, Russians have numerous names. A person's legal name is the full first name plus a patronymic—a form of the father's name. In contemporary life, however, the name/patronymic combination is generally reserved for formal occasions and for older people. At the same time, most full names have a variety of diminutives that derive from them. Most Russians have a diminutive that was chosen for them in childhood and continue to use it throughout their lives; most, though not all, diminutives derive clearly from their full name, which can be reverse-engineered from the diminutive. For example, all Sashas are Alexanders; most Mashas are Marias. Children are almost always addressed by their diminutive.

In this book, those who first appear in the story as children are called by their diminutive throughout (e.g., Masha, Lyosha). Those who first appear as adults are called by their full names (e.g., Boris, Tatiana). Those who first appear as older people are introduced by their name and patronymic and referred to by these names for the duration of the book. Below is a list of the main characters. Dozens of other people are mentioned in this book; their names are not on this list because their appearances are episodic.

Zhanna (b.1984)

Boris Nemtsov, father Raisa, mother Dmitry, husband Dina Yakovlevna, grandmother

Masha (b. 1984)

Tatiana, mother Galina Vasilyevna, grandmother Boris Mikhailovich, grandfather Sergei, husband Sasha, son

Seryozha (b. 1982)

Anatoly, father

Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev, grandfather

Lyosha (b. 1985)

Galina, mother

Yuri, biological father

Sergei, stepfather

Serafima Adamovna, grandmother

Marina Arutyunyan, psychoanalyst

Maya, mother

Anna Mikhailovna Pankratova, grandmother Lev Gudkov, sociologist

Alexander Dugin, philosopher, political activist

PROLOGUE

i have been told many stories about Russia, and I have told a few myself. When I was eleven or twelve, in the late 1970s, my mother told me that the USSR was a totalitarian state—she compared the regime to the Nazi one, an extraordinary act of thought and speech for a Soviet citizen. My parents told me that the Soviet regime would last forever, which was why we had to leave the country.

When I was a young journalist, in the late 1980s, the Soviet regime began to teeter and then collapsed into a pile of rubble, or so the story went. I joined an army of reporters excitedly documenting my country's embrace of freedom and its journey toward democracy.

I spent my thirties and forties documenting the death of a Russian democracy that had never really come to be. Different people were telling different stories about this: many insisted that Russia had merely taken a step back after taking two steps toward democracy; some laid the blame on Vladimir Putin and the KGB, others on a supposed Russian love of the iron fist, and still others on an inconsiderate, imperious West. At one point, I was convinced that I would be writing the story of the decline and fall of the Putin regime. Soon after, I found myself leaving Russia for the second time—this time as a middle-aged person with children. And like my mother before me, I was explaining to my children why we could no longer live in our country.

The specifics were clear ...

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