How Russia Battles with History
“What we are witnessing is a rare disease that has started in Russia and has been spreading around the world. The Russian aggression in Ukraine is staged as it is, ideologically based as if it is this war of the past."
The Russian writer and journalist Maria Stepanova reflects on the way Russia manipulates history “in a way that doesn’t have anything to do with reality,” she says. Read more …
“I think that the Russians are trying to impose on their neighbors a certain vision of the world and a certain vision of history that doesn’t haven’t anything to do with reality, but they want to bring History a few decades back and to start again from scratch in the world they are considering to be the better world. And this idea that the time is just like a clock you can turn back for a couple of hours is horrifying,” Stepanova concludes.
“I think of what they are doing in Ukraine in the first weeks of the war by consciously using an aesthetic they used during WWII. It was not quite like the style they were using while taking part in the conflict in Syria. Now they are using bombs and shells as if they were making a battle for Stalingrad, something from the old movies Putin watched when he was a youngster.”
Maria Stepanova hopes that Russian literature will keep in contact with the literary tradition outside Russia. “The literary tradition is a part of the huger frame, part of the world literature, and throughout its existence it was trying to keep being in dialogue with other cultures and other’s literature, and I hope this opportunity is not closed for us today”, she says.
Maria Stepanova, born in 1972, is a Russian poet, essayist and journalist. She is the author of more than 10 collections of poetry. ‘War of the Beasts and Animals’ came in the US in 2021 along with ‘The Voice Over’ (2021), which includes a selection of Stepanova’s poetry and essays originally published in Russia between 1996 and 2016. In Russia she has received many important literary prizes, including the Pasternak Prize and the Andrei Bely Prize in 2005, and the Moscow Account Prize in 2006, 2009, and 2018. Stepanova’s work has been translated into English, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, German, Finnish, French, Danish, and other languages. In 2021 ‘In Memory of Memory’ was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Stepanova was appointed Siegfried-Unseld Guest Professor at Humboldt Universität in Berlin in 2018–2019. In 2007, Stepanova founded Openspace.ru, an online magazine dedicated to Russian-language arts and culture. She served as editor-in-chief of Openspace.ru until 2012, when she left the publication along with the majority of her editorial staff due to a withdrawal of funding from private investors. Stepanova disagreed with investor oversight amid the uncertain Russian political landscape; this droves her to found Colta.ru, the first Russian media outlet supported entirely by crowdfunding, providing Stepanova more editorial freedom as editor-in-chief.
Lotte Folke Kaarsholm interviewed Maria Stepanova in August 2022 in connection with the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark,
Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Edit: Signe Boe Pedersen
Produced by Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2023
Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet, C.L. Davids Fond og Samling and Fritz Hansen.
Becoming Paul McCarthy
On the influential and groundbreaking contemporary American artistSeries / 3 videos