Joy Neumeyer
Articles by Joy Neumeyer

Cultural Despair and the Soviet Seventies

In today’s United States, the ’70s seem close at hand. After Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, Foreign Policy asked if the country was once again facing “the geopolitical malaise of the 1970s.” Such comparisons reached a fever pitch during Trump’s impeachment trial, when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi griped that at least Nixon had the dignity to leave office. Back then, cultural commentators warned of The Death of Progress and The Promise of the Coming Dark Age (the titles of books published in 1973 and 1976, respectively). As American capitalism and Soviet socialism competed for global hegemony, both societies were plagued by fears of decline amidst geopolitical and economic shifts, and both cultures were full of alienated characters in search of regeneration.

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The Khachaturyan Sisters and Russia’s History of Fighting Terror at Home

The case of the Khachaturyan sisters reads like one of Liudmila Petrushevskaya’s darkest tales. On August 2, 2018, Maria (age 17), Angelina (18), and Krestina (19) were arrested on charges of having murdered their father Mikhail. He had subjected them to years of severe physical and sexual abuse, including beating them with the butt of a pistol, cutting them with knives, and attacking them with pepper spray. His body was found in the stairwell of their Moscow apartment building with 36 stab wounds around the chest and neck and pepper spray in his eyes. The sisters confessed but said their lives had been at risk. They are currently awaiting trial.

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