Grenzgänger/Grenzdenker: Putin’s new Russia

Kakanien November 2014

Svetlana Alexievich and Mischa Gabovich in conversation with Martin Pollack.

Continuing Kakanien – New Homelands, a new series of talks entitled Grenzgänger/Grenzdenker (cross-border travellers/thinkers) will begin in November to examine the growing sense of crisis and insecurity in Europe. The internationally renowned Austrian historian, literary translator and author Martin Pollack will curate the series.

Over the past few years a deep feeling of crisis and insecurity has spread throughout Europe, pervading all areas of society from the economy to politics and culture. This is accompanied by the sense that here and there democratic achievements and values are being eroded or watered down, while populist and nationalistic currents gain ground or culminate in armed aggression against sovereign neighbours, as we are currently witnessing in the conflict in Ukraine for example.

In conversation with two important cross-border travellers and thinkers from this region, we explore how writers are responding to these challenges and what answers they have found. Indeed, are they finding any or have most settled into the passive role of observers and, occasionally, beneficiaries of these developments? What role are the new protest movements playing in Russia and neighbouring countries?

“The world will never be the same. Putin has blown up the world that was built after the Second World War,” wrote Svetlana Alexievich after Russia annexed Crimea, violating international law. In her books the Belarusian writer has examined post-Soviet society more carefully than any other author. She dubs herself a “researcher of humans” and therefore seeks to give a voice to those who have been struck dumb by the force of history. In his book Putin kaputt!?, Russian sociologist and contemporary historian Mischa Gabovich paints a detailed picture of present conditions, the new protest culture and power structures in Russia. Texts of Svetlana Alexievich and Mischa Gabovich will be read by Dörte Lyssewski and Philipp Hauß.

20 November, 8 pm
Kasino am Schwarzenbergplatz
Schwarzenbergplatz 1, 1010 Vienna
A 10% ticket discount is offered to Erste Bank card holders. (only available when tickets are purchased at the box office at the Burgtheater or at the evening box office at the Kasino am Schwarzenbergplatz on the day of the event)

A cooperation with Burgtheater and Die Presse daily.
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