A Review of Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.  The review is by Karen Dawish for the Wall Street Journal.


This is not a state in transition, Mr. Pomerantsev argues, but a postmodern dictatorship that uses the language and institutions of democratic capitalism for authoritarian ends. Russia relies on the West only as “a crooked mirror,” using the language of rights and representation to “validate tyranny.” In this scheme, everything is a performance. Everything, that is, except Kremlin repression.

Russia’s television industry provides the perfect window into the Kremlin’s strategy since TV, as the author writes, is “the central mechanism of a new type of authoritarianism, one far subtler than twentieth-century strains.”

Mr. Pomerantsev is right in identifying this group as “post-national and post-West and post-Bretton Woods,” and he is at his strongest in raising the alarm about whether core Western institutions can survive an unlimited onslaught of elites who maraud their own country and yet depend on a coterie of Western bankers, lawyers and politicians who accede to their every request.


Russia acts like a top down capitalist state (a crony capitalist system) , which undermines the very accountability that effective capitalism requires.  It celebrates the excesses without the sustainable growth. If it succeeds it is attributed to authoritarianism or socialism; if it fails (and it will)  it will be attributed to their ‘experiment’ with capitalism.