Michael Cunningham and Anna Nemzer: A Literary Conversation (Part 2)

It also seems that censorship and criminalization of queer voices is catching on, is becoming more rather than less popular across Russia. Does that seem true? In a situation, where we live in state of war, not recognizing this war not calling it a war, when we are told, that we are encircled by enemies and all foreign policy of ours works in such a way, is a defensive policy then to have a certain amount of domestic enemies is logical. Because in the situation of aggression and rejection of everything that surrounds you it is difficult to limit oneself with foreign enemies, and it is clear that enemies appear from within as well. There is a Russian saying, if you have been warned, then you are ready. But I have a feeling, that we, with our Soviet experience, are changing it. We have being forewarned, leading to being disarmed and disoriented. Our Soviet experience, which to an extent we all possess should have been giving us strength. Instead, it disorients us totally, and all our reflection on our Soviet experience becomes, as a result, our enemy. I am saying this to illustrate that history repeats itself, with external and internal enemies and no processed experience, no reflection on soviet experience for some reason do not save us from it. Could you take a little bit about how these laws affect you as a writer? The thing is, I would give you an example I, we, with my colleagues, for a few years were creating a project, which is called Museum of the 90s. It is an online project, and it was published on two site, on Colta.ru and on Snob.ru and now we are preparing a book, which would be called Museum of the 90s I hope that it is about to come out in the New Literary Review publishing house. It is not a story of how these law affect me directly, but it is a story of a certain very important confrontation that exists in society. Museum of the 90s is a project dedicated to the last decade of the 20th century. to be exact, the only decade in Russia, the only free decade in Russia in the history of the 20th century. And for us it is very important that it is called, we have called this project Museum of the 90s, because an off line museum of the 90s is now impossible. Because the only decade that was related to freedom does not have any Generally, a museum appears in such a moment, a historical museum appears at the moment, when the subject of the museum enjoys a societal consensus, an certain agreement. No consensus about the 90s exists and neither is it possible. These years are subject of a fight, there is a huge amount of myths attached to those years. And the fight is to legitimize those myths. And an offline, regular museum of the 90s is absolutely impossible. That is why, when we call a book a museum, when we call an online project a museum, we are creating, by an artificial and forced way, this distance as if creating rules of the game when this period should and could be talked about and that we need to have a discussion in society about it. And we are trying to do it, and I feel resistance every minute. I understand that there is a problem with the fact, that me and my coauthors are all born around 1980, and thus, we can be accused of remembering little of the 90s because we were between 10 and 20 years old. But the thing is that there is no legitimate figure in the Russian society today, that was authorized to talk about the 90s, and to talk about that freedom a figure everyone could trust. Such figure simply does not exist.

local_offerevent_note September 28, 2019

account_box Matthew Anderson


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