"Blue Flower of Hate" is not only the name of this blog, it’s also the working title of the novel I’m writing. The novel follows three main characters as they live in Russia at different time periods, experiencing different evils within a struggling society and trying to make their experience about love, not hate. And for Zoya, a twentysomething in contemporary Russia, the flower of hate stems from seeing Putin manage the country in a cruel manner, from observing innocent lives being lost because of his political ambition.

Recently I became increasingly aware of these dynamics and was worried that such a strong fixation on Putin was excessive, maybe even unnecesserily flattering to him. After all, he is not an independent entity, and there is a much bigger system that had spawned him and has maintained him throughout. But now, in light of the Crimea events, I think I was right on the money from the beggining. It is about Putin all the way, it is personal. He is the culprit and this cookie will crumble in his very fingers.

Another peculiar thing is that before I began writing “Blue Flower of Hate” during my master’s at Oxford, I had bee working on “Abyss” a PTSD drama about the effects of war on an individual and the society. Set in 1919 in the US, it follows a shellshocked French soldier who comes to Louisiana after the end of World War I and becomes involved in tragic events. I put this project on hold because it made more sense to be starting my literary career with a more unique selling point — that is a contemporary Russian novel.

I’m still going to come back to “Abyss” to finish it, of course. And I do miss it on a daily basis, the subjects it touches are very close to my heart. I tend to think about death all the time, and war, too, most importantly the way it damages a person. And it just occurred to me that it might well be that I won’t need to resort to WWI events to discuss the war PTSD anymore. Russian troops are in Crimea, as we speak, and a war between Russia and Ukraine could easily be a done deal. 

It’s very painful to realize that a war might unwrap any minute now just 400 kilometers away from the town where I was born, and in the region where I first saw the sea as a child. But the weirdest thing is, it doesn’t feel any more painful than when you’re walking over scorched earth at the Somme, looking over the poppy fields or the odd symmetry of the cemeteries. Because war is war, it’s always the same old. But the pain that it inflicts upon us never repeats itself. Each new throb is fresh.

I sincerely hope that the economic interests of the Russian oligarchy now at risk will provoke them to do something about our unhinged autocrat, who’s bent on making the lives of Ukrainian citizens — and Russian citizens, of course — a living hell. 

This is a fascinating and disturbing short documentary showing the events that unfolded in Kyiv on 18th February. There’s no prejudice in the video, just the footage of violence, of struggle, of anguish that the people of Ukraine had to live through on that grim day. The price for freedom turned out quite high: at least 85 people dead, of which 74 civilians and 11 policemen. Dubbed the Heavenly Hundred, they will become the heroes of the new, liberated Ukraine. The country still has a lot ahead of itself, like choosing whom to trust with the government. But at least for now the carnage is over. May the Heavenly Hundred rest in peace.

The world needs to see this photograph of 21 year old volunteer nurse Olesya Zhukovska who has been shot in her neck by a sniper in Kyiv earlier today. It’s unclear if she is still alive but her social network status update from 2 hours ago says: “I am dying”. I pray that she survived against the odds.
Welcome to the evolving world of 21st century. See people dying and feel powerless, now in real time. High-res

The world needs to see this photograph of 21 year old volunteer nurse Olesya Zhukovska who has been shot in her neck by a sniper in Kyiv earlier today. It’s unclear if she is still alive but her social network status update from 2 hours ago says: “I am dying”. I pray that she survived against the odds.

Welcome to the evolving world of 21st century. See people dying and feel powerless, now in real time.


50 billions and the rainbow ray,
Rodnina and Kabaeva lighting the torch.
In prison they’ll teach you to cry and obey,
Saluting the bosses, hail Duce.

Sochi is blocked — Olympus surveyed,
Special forces, firearms, crowds of police.
FSB is an argument, police is an argument, 
State TV will show the applause.

Putin will teach you to love motherland

Spring in Russia can come suddenly,
Hello to messiah as we discharge Aurora.
The prosecutor has a rotten attitude
Fight back, don’t make eyes at him.

A cage for the protest, vodka, matryoshka,
Prison for May 6, liquor, caviar.
Constituion in the noose, Vitishko in the colony,
Stability, rations, fencing, watch towers.

Putin will teach you to love motherland

TV Rain is not going on air,
Gay pride is flushed down the drain,
A two hole toilet is our priority,
Russia is sentenced, minimal security, six years.

Putin will teach you to love motherland

This is the footage of Pussy Riot members being attacked by a man with a whip as they were in the middle of filming their new music video in Sochi.

Apparently, I live in a country where it’s ok for a man to come up to a bunch of people and start whipping them. I live in a country where the police observes such an occasion and goes to detain the whippings’ victims, not the perpetrator, and helps him with the beating. And we all live in a world where the International Olympic Committee condemns the women dancing peacefully in the street, not the asshole whipping people in pure daylight. Because fuck yeah Olympics fuck you civilians.

And hey, don’t fret, it’s just a whip. For now Russia has Ukraine to outsource the actual murders. 

If I didn’t speak Russian, I’d think the word ‘violence’ is undefined in the language. Then again, I often think that my Russian is something completely different from the stale, racist, sexist state language that is spoken to approve things like that.


When I die, bury me

On a grave mound

Amid the wide-wide steppe

In my beloved Ukraine,

In a place from where the wide-tilled fields

And the Dnipro and its steep banks

Can be seen and

Its roaring rapids heard.

When it carries off

The enemy’s blood from Ukraine

To the deep blue sea… I’ll leave

The tilled fields and mountains—

I’ll leave everything behind and ascend

To pray to God

Himself… but till then

I don’t know God.

Bury me and arise, break your chains

And sprinkle your freedom

With the enemy’s evil blood.

And don’t forget to remember me

In the great family,

In a family new and free,

With a kind and quiet word.

"My Testament" by Taras Shevchenko, 1845

translated by Michael M. Naydan


Homophobia here is soul crushing. A humongous chunk of Russia’s population choses hate over love because it comes easier to them. It sucks, I get it, I was born to try and fight it. But the lack of any kind of human sensitivity in those who are supposed to be enlightened is what downright murders any remainder of hope for the country I have left.

Like this Russian journo guy who posts a picture of Michelle Rodriguez and Cara Delevingne (super cute, I know), and says:

"I sincerely think that all of Russia’s homophobes will stop being homophobes once we have openly lesbian couples just like this one"


What, because the ones that are open are not pretty, cool and glamorous enough for you? Or because you think that even if the ones you find conventionally beautiful do exist, they are not getting harrassed due to their good looks? Or because it’s easier to say that the problem is in the conventionally beautiful, privileged people who refuse to come out into a world of shit? 


I’ve spent a great part of my life believing this half-baked philosophy of good looks and privilege over basic hate. And I kept thinking that I was bullied because I wasn’t pretty enough to be excused. I wasn’t cool enough to be left alone. Like I was too lame, unable to pull off my sexuality, my weirdness and anything else someone doesn’t like about me in a convincing, hot way. 

But the truth is you get bullied because someone wants to bully you, period. And homophobia is not reduced by heavenly beauty or kickass sapphic pairings. But the idea that homophobes are well-meaning people solely repelled by certain physical characteristics of gay people, like gay mannerisms, or women being too butch, is a myth purveyed by the homophobes themselves. Because it takes a lot of guts to admit you hate people just for being different from you.


United at the Margins: Sochi's LGBTQ Community - Creative Time Reports

I’m honored to have worked on this piece with the talented photographer Olya Ivanova, with the amazing Creative Time team, and most of all with some of these photographs’ outspoken protagonists: the kickass teenager Vlad, the sweet student Olya, the upbeat party king Marat and graceful, fascinating Asya.
Please look at the photos and read. Because nothing tells of the tragedy that is unwrapping in Russia better than these human faces and human voices. Poignant, frank, heartbreaking. 





Yesterday, as the video of brave and amazing Ellen Page coming out was making circles on social networks, I saw a few kinds of insensitive reactions and I really have to comment.


A shitload of guys were lamenting “But she was supposed to be my girlfriend!” No. She wasn’t. Even if Ellen Page was straight, she’d still be this awesome feminist who owns a dog named after Patti Smith. And you would still be a dumbass dudebro, who thinks he’s the god’s gift to this world. Objectifying an actress just because you find her beautiful and implying that she’d be blessed by having you is probably the benign form of misogyny, kind of like talking about ‘friend-zoning’ — but still pretty gross. 


Wise crones were all like: “Well, Amber Heard thought she was gay before she met Johnny Depp, too”. This one gets to be offensive to both gay women, and bisexual women. An overachiever we’ve got here? Have your cake and choke on it, too.


My personal favorite, though, was the girl who said: “Now I wish I was gay, too, so that someone would say something nice to me”. Something nice like “god hates you” or “maybe I will be the man who cures you”? Or whichever homophobic slur you fancy most, I’ve heard plenty: because we live in a world of assholes. Just like you. 


But whatever. Fuck all that, seriously. 


And all hail to Ellen because she is perfection.


Ну охереть теперь... Давайте придираться ко всему... Когда в Лондоне открывалась олимпиада, там тоже были проколы, только вот там все молчали

Asked by Anonymous

Since this blog is in English, I’m going to reply in English only.

And to answer your question: google to the rescue.

U fucking stupid! Before starting to blame maybe u should think more carefully??! The ring did not open because it was just a trivial mistake! Bolkonsky and Bezukhov shared a passionate dance because they are good friends and Andrey had just returned from the war! The thing with the "Kids" means that long ago Russia's birthrate has finally beaten it's mortality! God dammit, let those people be finally proud of their great country!

Asked by Anonymous

Finally the government has invested in language courses for its’ little agents. Now’s the time for rhetorics and anything else that covers the territory of ‘deliver compelling argument without sounding like you’re being paid for your patriotism in vials of coke’.

I don't understand where were the informations I was providing inconsistent. The "industrialization" was clearly referring to the times of development and restoration after 2nd World War. Just google Soviet/USSR propaganda posters from the 50s/60s, it all sticks together with the show. I'm not denying what you told - you're 100% right that it's part of a larger whole. Current Russian mentality is a result of the decades of Soviet family-and-state-oriented propaganda, that's the point.

Asked by Anonymous

And I will not argue, although I’m still not sure how I was wrong in my account of the ceremony in the first place. Accents off from what was intended, sure, but fair interpretation, and the same exact result.

I didn't give up on the linear "theory" anywhere. Read more about the choreographer's statement. That *whole segment*(!) of the show is dedicated to the ideals of Soviet times - "reflecting the times of political and intellectual thawing in the 1960s after Josef Stalin's death". It wasn't exactly "industrialization" as the western media wrote, but the Soviet aspirations to develop the country - it wasn't happening in the 1890s only but throughout the 20th century.

Asked by Anonymous

You do realize there’s a difference between intent and result? Also, sometimes, a void. The choreographer might have had any kind of idea, it doesn’t really matter at this point, my — or any other — perception of his work is the end-result. Also, the bigger picture we’re getting from it.

It’s the same with our little argument. I say: ‘industrialization began in 1890’. You reply: ‘no, it wasn’t only in 1890s, throughout the 20th century’. But you’re also talking about something else already. How do you expect this to be a dialogue then, if you can’t stay consistent even with your own ideas?

And back to OC. When I saw the gears turning, I did think ‘industrialization’, and then, immediately, ‘why the fuck is it amidst cosmonauts’? When I saw all the happy couples getting married and being happy about childrearing, I immediately thought about all the impending abortion laws, the incentives to make women give birth, the domestic violence, the skewed gender perspective. And you can lecture me all you want — I refuse to stop seeing it all as part of a larger whole. Especially, something that was clearly used as the punchline.