Author(s): Peter Pomerantsev
A journey into the glittering, surreal heart of 21st century Russia: into the lives of Hells Angels convinced they are messiahs, professional killers with the souls of artists, bohemian theatre directors turned Kremlin puppet-masters, supermodel sects, post-modern dictators and oligarch revolutionaries. This is a world erupting with new money and new power, changing so fast it breaks all sense of reality, where life is seen as a whirling, glamorous masquerade where identities can be switched and all values are changeable. It is home to a new form of authoritarianism, far subtler than 20th century strains, and which is rapidly expanding to challenge the global order.An extraordinary book - one which is as powerful and entertaining as it is troubling - Nothing is True and Everything is Possible offers a wild ride into this political and ethical vacuum.
Nothing is True and Everything is Possible is a fascinating account of the surreal world of modern-day Russia. Peter Pomerantsev, the son of Russian emigres, lived in Moscow working in television throughout the first decade of the 2000s. It was a time of oil, mega-wealth for the few, the politics of Putin, and opportunities for those who were not averse to corruption and bribes. In the light of today’s political landscape of fake news and generated media, it comes as no surprise that Russia under is a dab hand at this and has been for a while, and has no qualms about making this obvious. Pomerantsev takes us on a journey into the heart of the strangely real Moscow through his eyes and the people he meets. It’s a society where a gangster can create a hit crime series (Vitali Dyomochka, a Siberian hoodlum, dissatisfied with the crime dramas on Russian television made his own series, starring his henchmen, real bullets and blood). It’s a place where young women either seek rich husbands at the clubs (if they can bribe someone to let them in) or 'mistress' status, which comes with a flat and 24-hour availability. The clubs are flashy and the men are members of the elite who have profited from the downfall of the Soviet Union. It’s a society in which laws change on a whim, where one moment you can be a successful businesswoman and the next in prison for illegally trading in a chemical now labelled as a ‘drug’. It is a society where you want to avoid conscription: young men are rounded up for military service training - an exercise in power, violence and extortion. It's a society in which buildings are torn down to make way for new glittering high-rises that no one can afford: architecture that serves as a symbol of this new crass wealth and a means of money laundering. The lives of these Muscovites are so bizarre you know they must be true. Told in an anecdotal style, Pomerantsev adds integrity and insight with his knowledge of Russian politics and economics, making Nothing is True and Everything is Possible a captivating and frightening study of corruption, fake news and the post-modern dictatorship à la Putin and Trump.
The essential book on the New Russia, and how it's travelled from communist collapse to a new form of dictatorship.
Peter Pomeranzev's writing has been praised as the most incisive about Russia. He has written for London Review of Books, Newsweek, Le Monde Diplomatique, El Pais and Internationale. Apart from media he has worked as a consultant for the EU and World Bank on development projects in Russia.