Black Square: Adventures in Post-Soviet Ukraine by Sophie Pinkham

By Sophie Pinkham

A specified writer’s interesting trip into the guts of a afflicted region.

Ukraine has rebuilt itself over and over within the final century, laid low with a similar conflicts: corruption, poverty, substance abuse, ethnic clashes, and Russian aggression. Sophie Pinkham observed all this and extra during ten years operating, touring, and reporting in Ukraine and Russia, over a interval that integrated the Maidan revolution of 2013–14, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and the resultant struggle in japanese Ukraine.

With a prepared eye for the darkish absurdities of post-Soviet society, Pinkham provides a dynamic account of up to date Ukrainian existence. She meets―among others―a charismatic healthcare professional aiding to soft the transition to democracy at the same time he struggles along with his personal drug habit, a Bolano-esque artwork gallerist vulnerable to public nudity, and a Russian Jewish clarinetist agitating for Ukrainian liberation. those interesting personalities, rendered in a daring, unique variety, carry an indelible impact of a rustic at the brink.

Black Square is important interpreting for a person who needs to profit not just the political roots of the present clash in Ukraine but in addition the private tales of the folk who stay it each day.

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Klitschko rather than Klichko). , Igor rather than Ihor). , Lviv rather than Lvov, Dnipropetrovsk rather than Dnepropetrovsk), except in the case of Kiev (rather than Kyiv) and Odessa (rather than Odesa), where I have chosen to use the spellings long familiar to English speakers. 1 THE PARIS OF SIBERIA I was at an academic cocktail party, already tired of explaining why I was going to Siberia. As I refilled my glass of sherry, I was wrestled into conversation by my boyfriend’s professor, a zaftig Renaissance scholar with a heavy southern accent.

Aleksandr Bogdanov was a Bolshevik doctor and science fiction writer who believed that sharing the blood of young and old, healthy and sick, could slow aging and cure diseases. In his 1908 hit novel Red Star, Martians used blood exchanges to prolong their lives. When he was appointed head of a Moscow institute for blood transfusions in 1926, Bogdanov put his ideas of “physiological collectivism” into practice on Earth. Through blood, youth and health and sex drive would be distributed equally across the Soviet population.

Then someone offered him some opiates. At that time, an opiate brew made from poppies was available more or less everywhere, and it was extremely cheap. As Ostap explained it to me, injecting drugs was fashionable in the 1990s. It made you seem like a criminal, and criminals had credibility: they were the only ones who were thriving. Ostap started shooting up. After he’d been using opiates regularly for some time, he went to the seaside in Bulgaria. He didn’t understand why he wasn’t sleeping, why he was sweaty and nauseous and throwing up, why his nose was running.

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