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Security expert Andrei Soldatov talks about the psychology of the Russians, Vladimir Putin`s motivation and the weaknesses of his security services. 

Andrei Soldatov, 39, is a Russian expert for security services and co-author of the international bestseller “The New Nobility: the Restoration of Russia’s Security State and the enduring Legacy of the KGB” (2010). Whistle blower Edward Snowdon calls Soldatov “the most prominent critic of the Russian police state”.

Martin Kušej in the Royal Opera in Covent Garden

Martin Kušej in the Royal Opera in Covent Garden

With his Royal Opera House debut in Covent Garden, Austria’s star director Martin Kušej shows a new interpretation of Mozart’s opera “Idomeneo”: It is not the Gods, but the people, who decide the fate of Crete.

Anselm Kiefer's Ash flowers

 Anselm Kiefer's Ash flowers

This year it was not the Frieze itself which kept art lovers busy. But the excellent exhibitions which opened in London’s museums and galleries at the same time. Here are my Top 5 to go see in the next weeks:

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Bestselling author Thomas Piketty about inequality which damages democracy, how China tries to control the concentration of wealth by jailing oligarchs, about Austria’s banking secrecy and about business class tickets.

Hans Weigand in front of his Majakovski installation

Hans Weigand in front of his Majakovski installation

Vienna’s Jewish Museum cooperated with the Russian NGO Memorial in an art project about memory in Moscow.

An idyllic image, a view from a window. But a closer look reveals barbed wire on the fence. The embroidery was created by a Gulag inmate who probably did not survive. The art work landed in the collection of the Russian human rights organization Memorial which deals with the memory of the Gulag. Russian-Austrian artist Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermayr picked this artefact to inspire her work for the exhibition „Tales of 2 cities“ which opened last week in Moscow.

Hey Kilts, revenge is on its way!

Hey Kilts, revenge is on its way!

Two lessons for David Cameron, the beaming winner of the Scottish referendum.

In the night of the Scottish referendum the skies opened over London at 2 am in the morning: Thunder, lightning and a downpour of rain came as a result of the unseasonal late summer heat the city had experienced the day before. But because of the bizarre timing it almost seemed as if the capital breathed a huge sigh of relief because of the news that arrived at the same time. The results of the first districts in Scotland indicated a clear and loud No! to Scottish independence.

Martin Amis is having trouble with his publishing house in Germany; Hanser-Verlag refuses to print his lecherous love story set in Auschwitz. At a book presentation in London, the famous British author does not take this with his usual sense of humor.

The organizers of the “Financial Times” have projected a huge photo of the author high up on the wall. Martin Amis looks younger there than in person. The British writer is 65 years old, and spends the evening on the stage of Kings Place in the shadow of his younger self. In every respect.
Once upon a time he was the enfant terrible among the writers in Great Britain. The success of books like “Money” or “London Fields” quickly made him a part of the literary elite of his generation. In the 1980s he succeeded to describe with masterly satirical furor the deficiencies of his society. And what does Martin Amis write about now, 30 years later? His 14th novel is called “The Zone of Interest” and is a lecherous love story set in Auschwitz.

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Masha Gessen, Russian-American author and Putin critic, about the lies of the Russian president, his newly found mission and his war against the West. 

Masha Gessen’s book about Vladimir Putin „The man without a face“ is one of the best studies of the man leading Russia today. Gessen is one of the sharpest critics of the Russian president in conferences, talk shows and media like „The New York Times“.

Jim Farquharson: "We have the right to independence"

Jim Farquharson: "We have the right to independence"

The Scottish referendum on September 18 might result in shrinking Great Britain to Small Britain. but what does the independence bring for the Scots?

The drive for independence starts early. Sometimes even in the Uterus. „My birthday is on September 18“, a voice says in the TV spot. We see an ultrasound of an embryo. „Do I still want to be ruled by Westminster when I am older?“ the unborn child asks itself. The answer at the end of the campaign ad is as simple as expected: „Yes!“ to the independence of Scotland.

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It was not by accident that „The James Plays“ were staged at the Edinburgh Festival just before the Scottish Referendum on September 18. The drama trilogy will soon be in London.

He stands up on the stairs and looks down on his subjects. „Scotland will be small. But it will be whole“, James I. declares, to which the clan elders fall to their knees and swear their loyalty to the new king. It’s hard not to get the feeling that King James is only talking to his peers and not to all of us, too. „I always wanted to vote Yes! at the referendum“, says a young Scottish woman in the intermission of the first part of the trilogy, „but this speech really moved me.“

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© 2018 Tessa Szyszkowitz