The 82nd issue of NZ at its most has a revolutionary character, of course, not in sense of speaking for revolution, but analyzing revolutionary theories, practices and developments in the postwar world – from the radical leftist Paris of 1950’s to the new events in Syria.
The principal piece in the volume is given to the Situationist movement and Situationists – companions and followers of the founder and permanent leader of the movement Guy Debord, as well as the concept of “psychogeography” associated with their range of ideas. A new wave of interest to Situationists, Debord’s environment, psychogeography – particularly noticeable nowadays in English-speaking countries – aspires thinking of how the history of this (perhaps the most mysterious and unreflected) radical movement in postwar Western Europe has been represented in Russian. As it turns out not very good. The new NZ issue is trying to fill this gap to some extent. It publishes a large selection on Situationists, their history, philosophy and influence on the modern world. The impetus for the debate was the release of the book by a well-known American theorist of culture and leftist publicist McKenzie Wark “Beach Beneath the Street”. The 82 volume includes two texts unequivocally devoted to the Wark’s book: a review of his work, written by a cultural historian from Dublin Karl Whitney and Kirill Kobrin’s essay “Psychogeography Situations.” The very Wark’s passage is presented by a chapter on the influence of the philosophy of Henri Lefebvre on the Situationists’ theoretical views, and in the “Political Theory and Practices of Depoliticization” section the translation of chapters from Lefebvre’s book “Introduction à la modernité” is published.
The study of the enigmatic personality of the presituationist movement Ivan Shcheglov is also presented in the “Situationists section”. Shcheglov is written about in Andrey Lebedev’s article “Chtch: in Pursuit of a Red-Haired Man”. Shcheglov is also mentioned in a conversation between Lebedev and historian from Lyon, one of the last participants of the French Situationists’ movement Gilbert Vodais. What was the Situationists influence on the radical art and politics outside France and are there Debord’s successors nowadays Anna Aslanyan asked the British avant-garde artist Stewart Home. The section ends with an article by Sadie Plant “Now, the SI”.
The “Situationists section” with its psychogeographical aspect is supplemented by the Umberto Eco's essay “In Quest for Treasures”, which is about the European travel itineraries to places which shelter Christian relics.
The “revolutionary” motive continues in the section “Events and Comments”. Leonid Fishman writes about the “Winter protests” 2011/12 in Russia (“Winter Protests: From «Population Segments» to the New Social Classes?”), the so-called “Arab spring” is written about by Leonid Isaev (“The Syrian Dead-End: «Arab Spring» Is Over”). The theme continues in the review of the book “System Monitoring of Global and Regional Risks: Arab spring of 2011” by Alyssa Shishkina (in the New Books section).
The real and relatively recent revolution – and almost everyone finds consensus in that – had been Russian perestroika, which resulted in the collapse of the USSR. Some of its aspects – particularly in connection with the current state of Russian society – are discussed in the section “The Staging of Politics, or Reading over the Perestroika”. Sergei Prozorov provides an analytical overview of the historical period from Gorbachev to Putin in the article eloquently titled “The Second End of History: The Policy of Lackadaisicalness from Perestroika to Putin”. American researcher Nikita Nankov “reads” perestroika through the texts of Plato, and finally, the historian of culture Irina Sandomirskaya tells a fascinating story of one manuscript of “the late socialism” that was sent by pensioner Eugenia Kiseleva to Maxim Gorky Central Film Studio – the story not so much of the text itself, as of fierce debate over its post-Soviet publication and interpretation (“«A Naive Letter» Fifteen Years Later, or To the Death of Co-Author”).
As usual, in this NZ issue there are the columns by Ilya Kalinin (Daily Political Economy), Alexander Kustarev (Political Imaginary) and Alexey Levinson (Sociological Lyrics). The issue ends with the traditional Russian Intellectual Journals’ Review (by Petr Rezvykh) and the New Books section, with Kevin Platt’s response to the book by Alexander Etkind “Internal Colonization: Russia's Imperial Experience” to be marked among them.