AND TIME: Mon 3 December 2018 - 18:00 – 20:00 GMT
LOCATION: IAS Common Ground - Ground Floor, South Wing, UCL - Gower Street
Eduard Limonov is a controversial yet influential Russian author and politician who was an underground poet in the USSR in the late 1960s –
early 1970s and an exile in the West (mostly the USA and France) in the mid-1970s – early 1990s. He returned to Russia after the collapse of the USSR to pursue an anti-capitalist and nationalist agenda, chiefly by non-parliamentary means. in 1993 Limonov
co-founded the extremist National Bolshevik Party (NBP). At its height, it numbered over 50,000 very active and highly visible members. The NBP was banned in 2007 and subsequently regrouped under a new name, The Other Russia.
The Other Russia (Drugaia Rossiia) is also the title of Limonov’s 2003 book outlining his views on what is wrong with society in Russia and elsewhere, and how these wrongs should be righted. It describes what Limonov believes
is a genuine alternative to both capitalism and communism, encapsulating his own personal vision of Russia’s desirable future. Among other things, the book advocates a move to the countryside, and to new territories, to establish a civilisation of nomad
warriors. An accelerated nation-building is envisaged, by means of special selection and intensive procreation with the help of polygamy, promiscuity and anti-abortionism; women’s chief role, before they reach 35 years of age, is to have at least four
children. The preferred society structure would consist of armed communes with common property and common sexual partners, ruled by the Council of Communes. At the same time (as Limonov empasises in another, more recent book, partially functioning as a detailed
auto-commentary to Drugaia Rossiia), his ideas should not be interpreted as a ‘sermon against scientific progress and a struggle against clever and handy technological achievements. No. We’ll be developing internet and genetics, as
well as new, superior forms of television. Television and internet will be linking armed communes together into a united civilisation of free citizens’ (Neo-Bolshevism, 2014).
bizarre retrofuturistic vision may well be implemented sooner rather than later. Several attempts to this effect have already been made. in 2001-03, Limonov served time in various Russian penitentiaries for gun running with a view to inciting separatism
among Russian speakers in Northern Kazakhstan (Limonov’s biographer Andrei Dmitriev, an NBP member, characterises this goal as ‘seemingly utopian’). In Spring 2015, the media reported the formation of a military detachment
called the People’s Republic of Kharkiv, made up of the Other Russia volunteers, who took part in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, planning to ‘liberate’ Kharkiv (where Limonov grew up) from the Kyiv rule and turn Eastern Ukraine into a ‘utopian
Rogatchevski presents and discusses Limonov’s thoughts on what such a state should be like and where and how it could be established; on the vertical/horizontal relationships and structures in such a state; and on the role of political aesthetics
in it. Rogatchevski contextualises Limonov’s utopia (which can also be justifiably called an anti-utopia) within the Russian and European (anti-) Utopian and countercultural tradition, according to four parameters described by Dennis Bramwell Neuenschwander
in his pioneering work Themes in Russian Utopian Fiction (1974): “the utopian concept of man, of his environment (principally involving the city), of social institutions, and, lastly, of science and technology”.
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DATE AND TIME: Mon 3 December 2018
IAS Common Ground
Ground Floor, South Wing, UCL
London, WC1E 6BT