A fascinating look at modern Russia focusing on the use of popular television programming to advance the political and social agenda of the state by the Russian president, and the network of Oligarchs whose influence shape the culture and economy. The author draws on his own experience working in Russian television, interviews with a former gangster turned Oligarch/action movie producer, a fashion model/aspiring trophy wife, and a fabricated "opposition party" that is used to provide the veneer of fair elections, but in reality serves to reinforce the image of stability and power of the ruling party. The book illustrates a nation where post-Soviet new-money elites revel in gilded opulence, while everyone else is afforded cold, often brutal institutional nihilism.
A journey into the glittering, surreal heart of 21st century Russia, where 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 wild and bizarre 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.
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.
Shortlisted for the 2015 Guardian First Book Award Longlisted for the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize An Amazon.com Best Book of the Month, November 2014
"Captivating...keen observations."—New York Times Book Review
"Sparkling collection of essays." —Wall Street Journal
"This is a gripping and unsettling account of life in grim post-Soviet Russia."—Washington Post
"A scintillating take on a twisted reality."—Prospect Magazine
"A patchwork tapestry that leaves you shaking your head in disbelief."—The Guardian
"Everything you know about Russia is wrong, according to this eye-opening, mind-bending memoir of a TV producer caught between two cultures... the stylish rendering of the Russian culture, which both attracts and appalls the author, will keep the reader captivated."—Kirkus, Starred Review
"Sometimes horrifying but always compelling, this book exposes the bizarre reality hiding beneath the facade of a 'youthful, bouncy, glossy country.'"—Publishers Weekly
"It is hard to think of another work that better describes today's Russia; Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible may very well be the defining book about the Putin era. This might seem like excessive praise for a relatively short, non-academic memoir by a reality-TV producer now living in London, but it is justified by the author's gimlet eye and reportorial skill."—Commentary Magazine
"A brilliant, entertaining, and ultimately tragic book about not only Russia, but the West."—Tablet Magazine
"Enthralling... his exquisite rendering of mind-control techniques is chilling."—Times Literary Supplement
"Brilliant collection of sketches...powerful, moving and sometimes hilarious."—Washington Times
"Hauntingly perceptive and beautifully written."—New Statesman [UK]
"[A] tale of descending into and eventually emerging from Moscow's hallucinogenic reality."—Foreign Affairs
"[A] riveting, urgent book ... Pomerantsev is one of the most perceptive, imaginative and entertaining commentators writing on Russia today and, much like the country itself, his first book is seductive and terrifying in equal measure."—The Times (UK)
"This is the strangest book of note I have ever read... a dark and grotesque comedy of manners... His reporter's straightforward and unlimited curiosity, his willingness to plow and harrow the widest fields for facts, and his exacting descriptive details give him credibility. Plus, what he tells us is so incredible." —P.J. O'Rourke, World Affairs Magazine
"A riveting portrait of the new Russia with all its corruption, willful power and spasms of unforgettable, poetic glamor. I couldn't put it down."—Tina Brown
"Peter Pomeranzev, one of the most brilliant observers of Putin's Russia, describes a country obsessed with illusion and glamor, but with a dangerous, amoral core beneath the surface. Nothing is True and Everything is Possible is an electrifying, terrifying book."—Anne Applebaum, author of Gulag and Iron Curtain, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction