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Despite losing the popular vote, Trump has secured as much power as any American leader in recent history. The Republican Party controls both houses of Congress. There is a vacancy on the Supreme Court. The country is at war abroad and has been in a state of mobilization for fifteen years. This means not only that Trump will be able to move fast but also that he will become accustomed to an unusually high level of political support. He will want to maintain and increase it—his ideal is the totalitarian-level popularity numbers of Vladimir Putin—and the way to achieve that is through mobilization. There will be more wars, abroad and at home.
Imagine that your teenage child has built a bomb and has just set it off in your house. The house is falling down all around you—and you are blaming the neighbor’s kid, who threw a pebble at your window. That’s what the recent Putin fixation is like—a way to evade the fact that Trump is a thoroughly American creation that poses an existential threat to American democracy.
Masha Gessen is a Russian and American journalist, author and activist noted for her opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 2014 she published the Putin-Biography The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin and Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot, a very personal book on the Pussy Riot activists. …
This correspondence concerns Exiles on Main Street, a contribution I wrote for FEED, a New York-based internet magazine of culture and politics, about Soviet dissidents living in the United States. My article is pretty tough on the dissidents. Essentially, I wonder aloud whether their failure to become an effective political force in post-Soviet Russia, and …
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