The Two Russias: a Variety Turn at the Mariupol Drama Theatre 🇬🇧🇺🇦

In 2022, the Russian army wiped the Ukrainian city of Mariupol off the face of the earth. They indiscriminately destroyed residential quarters, industrial enterprises, and even a drama theatre. An aerial view of the theatre, with the word CHILDREN written in front of the building in huge block letters, circulated in U.S. and French media. That warning, though, didn’t stop the pilot from activating the launch button and bombing the theatre. He was just following orders, right?

“Friendly Foes”: Art as a Soft Power of Russian/Soviet Colonialism 🇬🇧🇺🇦

If asked to name colonialism’s dominant trait, I’d say it is unification. An empire is a patchwork, with each piece having its distinct cultural, political, and administrative features and mindset. A colonial repressive mechanism promotes the illusion of a homogeneous space where everything is common: the language, the cultural norms, the traditions. Every feature, once forced upon a given group of people, must be taken by that group as something primordial and familiar.

Kyiv as a Function: Ukraine’s Capital in the Photographic Narratives of the Russian Empire and the USSR 🇬🇧🇺🇦

In the popular Soviet comedy “Kidnapping, Caucasian Style,” there was this episode: comrade Saakhov, a character representing a cunning and hypocritical official from the national periphery, teaches a naive but honest student, Shurik: “Everyone knows that the Kuzbass is an all-Union smithy, Kuban is an all-Union granary, so the Caucasus is an all-Union what?”