Conspiratorial thinking at the Russian state level is well known, especially in the last few years. But expressions of paranoia are littered throughout contemporary Russian culture–popular fiction, movies, television shows, internet discussions, blogs, and religious tracts. How do we make sense of these narratives of paranoid fantasies and what do they say about Russian identity and worldview when it is embodied in popular culture?
Eliot Borenstein is a Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies and Collegiate Professor at New York University. He’s the author of several books, including Men without Women: Masculinity and Revolution in Russian Fiction, 1917–1929, Overkill: Sex and Violence in Contemporary Russian Popular Culture and Pussy Riot: Speaking Punk to Power. His most recent book is Plots Against Russia: Conspiracy and Fantasy after Socialism published by Cornell University Press.
Lou Barlow and his Sentridoh, “Paranoid Revolution,” 23 Songs, 1994.