From Woke Vets to the Putin Paradox: news of note from me

I recently made my Coda Story debut writing about the controversy surrounding a new movie made by an ostensibly pro-Kremlin filmmaker. This is what happens when you let religious extremism run unchecked – and by that I mean Christian extremism (a pertinent topic for all of us in the U.S. as well, even though Trump would have us believe that only Islamic extremism is a problem).

Speaking of the arts in Russia, here’s my take on the surreal world of Russia’s not-quite-censorship, and how it benefits the Kremlin perfectly – this was my contribution to the Guardian’s series on the so-called Putin paradox (as in, why is he reviled abroad and popular at home? Lots of great articles in this series).

All of this brings me to renewed protests in Russia. “Nothing is Good and Everything is Horrible” would’ve been my alternative headline for the depressing column I wrote on the subject for bne IntelliNews.

Meanwhile, over at the Anti-Nihhilist Institute, Anna Lind-Guzik and I have launched a cool new series we’re calling Woke Vets. We’re speaking to U.S. veterans about the new administration and all of the crap that lies ahead for us as a country now – because who’s better to talk to about that than the people who execute our (often quite flawed) policy decisions on the ground? 

I had a great talk with Judd Lienhard, a former Army Ranger, about everything from our national tribalism to what the generals really think of Trump. And former combat medic Adam Linehan and I spoke at length about how war is overcomplicated by civilians and what a dangerous and foolhardy decision it was to place Iraq on the travel ban list in particular (among many other things).

You must also check out Anna’s interview with vet, author, and viral Twitter sensation Dylan Park. We’re both proud of that one, and of this series in general. And if you want to support our project, now is the time to follow us on Twitter/sign up for Medium and follow us there too.

Prominent Ukrainian feminist Maria Dmytrieva and I recently had a chat about the status of women in Ukraine. Once again, it’s not necessarily the most cheerful topic. But we ended on a hopeful note and maybe that’s all that counts.

Also, the wonderful Ian Bateson recently interviewed me for 5 O’clock Talk Old on Fashioned Radio in Kyiv, and we covered a wide spectrum of topics, from anarchist soccer moms to why Trump’s sons look like they just stepped out of an audition for “American Pyscho,” from my favorite restaurant in the Ukrainian capital to what it’s like to have no home in the world, only a home in your head. If you listen, you will also note my poor ornithology skills.

Some of you may have also recently caught me on Al-Jazeera, where I pop up occasionally, offering sage words on Russia. Or, you know, halfway sage words on Russia. Or just hopefully not entirely stupid words on Russia. Live TV is really  hard for me, and I do it rarely enough to where I never quite get used to it – so I apologize, both retroactively and in advance, for all the awkwardness that arises out of that, haha.

You can say that I’ve been busy, and the truth is, I’ve been even busier than this list implies. I’m doing it while dragging depression around me like a huge black rock. During the day, it’s on my back, at night it sits on my chest. I don’t need a medal or anything, I just want to tell you guys that your support counts. And as always, I am extremely grateful for you spreading the word about my story archive in particular. Love to you during these strange days that have found us and refuse to leave us be.

3 thoughts on “From Woke Vets to the Putin Paradox: news of note from me

  1. Sorry to hear you’re feeling down. For what it’s worth, I think you have a unique voice on things, and while I don’t always agree with your point of view, you do make me second guess my own perspective. That’s worth a lot.

  2. Hi Natalia. I have a question for you. Looking from a different perspective, people with questionable ethics and morality sometimes perform extremely well in an organization to the point of successfully turning over an unsolvable financial crisis. The so called unethical CEO even proposed to work for free thus committed to combat possible embezzlement of public funding and corruption that would further drive the said organization into further debt. In the event that such “miracle” should happen, can you as the founder of the organization overlook his other faults such as being a proud abuser of women, flawed beliefs about religious extremism or running divisive campaigns to gain support to his advantage? Some powerful men in large organizations are like that and as long as they manage to secure more funding (bring home the bacon) a sad woman’s plight is often easily overlooked and she will happily be dismissed if she complains. Are we regressing into a society that condones evil even when we know that it is plain wrong just so that we could fill our stomach and live in comfort and security at the expense of the unfortunate? Thank you.

  3. Ivan – thank you.

    WW – people have always condoned evil. But there have always been those who called society out for that. I think humanity will be tested in many ways before we reject some of the truly horrific behaviors we easily fall into. I think there may even come a time when we look at WWII and see it as not the worst conflict in history (God forbid, really, but it’s entirely possible). I do think we’re progressing in the right direction though, i.e. I believe we ultimately have a chance.

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