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Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible
Cover of Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible
Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible
The Surreal Heart of the New Russia
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In the new Russia, even dictatorship is a reality show.
Professional killers with the souls of artists, would-be theater directors turned Kremlin puppet-masters, suicidal supermodels, Hell's Angels who hallucinate themselves as holy warriors, and oligarch revolutionaries: welcome to the glittering, surreal heart of twenty-first-century Russia. It is a world erupting with new money and new power, changing so fast it breaks all sense of reality, home to a form of dictatorship—far subtler than twentieth-century strains—that is rapidly rising to challenge the West.
When British producer Peter Pomerantsev plunges into the booming Russian TV industry, he gains access to every nook and corrupt cranny of the country. He is brought to smoky rooms for meetings with propaganda gurus running the nerve-center of the Russian media machine, and visits Siberian mafia-towns and the salons of the international super-rich in London and the US. As the Putin regime becomes more aggressive, Pomerantsev finds himself drawn further into the system.
Dazzling yet piercingly insightful, Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible is an unforgettable voyage into a country spinning from decadence into madness.

In the new Russia, even dictatorship is a reality show.
Professional killers with the souls of artists, would-be theater directors turned Kremlin puppet-masters, suicidal supermodels, Hell's Angels who hallucinate themselves as holy warriors, and oligarch revolutionaries: welcome to the glittering, surreal heart of twenty-first-century Russia. It is a world erupting with new money and new power, changing so fast it breaks all sense of reality, home to a form of dictatorship—far subtler than twentieth-century strains—that is rapidly rising to challenge the West.
When British producer Peter Pomerantsev plunges into the booming Russian TV industry, he gains access to every nook and corrupt cranny of the country. He is brought to smoky rooms for meetings with propaganda gurus running the nerve-center of the Russian media machine, and visits Siberian mafia-towns and the salons of the international super-rich in London and the US. As the Putin regime becomes more aggressive, Pomerantsev finds himself drawn further into the system.
Dazzling yet piercingly insightful, Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible is an unforgettable voyage into a country spinning from decadence into madness.

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About the Author-
  • Peter Pomerantsev is an award-winning contributor to the London Review of Books. His writing has been published in the Financial Times, NewYorker.com, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, Daily Beast, Newsweek, and Atlantic Monthly. He has also worked as a consultant for the EU and for think tanks on projects covering the former Soviet Union. He lives in London.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 1, 2014
    This debut from television producer Pomerantsev vividly describes the decade, starting in 2001, that he spent in Vladimir Putin’s “New Russia” pursuing a film school degree and TV work. Along the way, it reveals the complex truth about 21st-century Russia, with all of its new possibility, wealth, power, and corruption. Born in Kiev but raised in England by exiled Russian parents, Pomerantsev decided to move back to his native country, partly because he felt like he had “always been an observer looking in at Russia” and “wanted to get closer.” The book is divided into distinct parts—“Reality Show Russia,” “Cracks in the Kremlin Matrix,” and “Forms of Delirium”— suggesting the three-act structure taught in modern screenwriting manuals and emphasizing the feel of “performance” in the new Russia. Highlights of the narrative include Pomerantsev’s experiences producing a TV documentary called How to Marry a Millionaire (A Gold Digger’s Guide), interviewing gangster-turned-movie star Vitaliy Djomochka, attending a lecture by Kremlin propaganda mastermind Vladislav Surkov, and sampling the excess of Moscow nightlife. Sometimes horrifying but always compelling, this book exposes the bizarre reality hiding beneath the facade of a “youthful, bouncy, glossy country.” Agency: Melanie Jackson Agency.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from October 15, 2014
    Everything you know about Russia is wrong, according to this eye-opening, mind-bending memoir of a TV producer caught between two cultures.Born in Russia but raised in Europe, where he is now a London-based writer, Pomerantsev felt compelled to return to his homeland after the turn of the century: "I wanted to get closer: London seemed so measured, so predictable, the America the rest of my emigre family lived in seemed so content, while the real Russia seemed truly alive, had the sense that anything was possible." He got more than he bargained for, an experience far different from anything he had anticipated, though he did return from Russia with a wife and daughter (barely mentioned until the end, where he also acknowledges that he has "scrunched time mercilessly to tell my story"). Instead of a cohesive overview or chronological progression, the author records his impressions more like a kaleidoscopic series of anecdotes and vignettes, absurd and tragic, with characters that might be tough to believe if they were presented as fiction. There are the legions of strikingly beautiful women who blur the distinction between gold digger and prostitute. There are the Night Wolves, a motorcycle gang that is "the Russian equivalent of the Hells Angels" but who "are bikers who have found a Russian God." There is corruption at every level, from officials who prefer bribes to taxes to a criminal system in which "99% of those charged in Russia receive guilty verdicts." There is also reality TV, which demands heroes and happy endings, even when the subject is a ravishing model who was either murdered or committed suicide after indoctrination by a brainwashing cult, which the author suggests are as inherently Russian as vodka. And there is "the great war between Holy Russia and the Godless West" in a Russia that both emulates and reviles the crass excesses of capitalism. Not always cohesive, but the stylish rendering of the Russian culture, which both attracts and appalls the author, will keep the reader captivated.

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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