Michail Ryklin

By Right of Being Stronger - Russian Culture in the Age of »controlled democracy«

(German title: Mit dem Recht des Stärkeren)
ca. 238 pages
Michail Ryklin
Foto: Michail Ryklin
© Jürgen Bauer

Michail Ryklin was born in Leningrad in 1948 and now lives in Berlin and Moscow. He is the most prominent contemporary thinker in Russia, and the only intellectual with an equally intense first-hand knowledge of life in Western culture and in the Russian context.
A former assistant to Jacques Derrida in Paris, he is now a professor at the Institute of Philosophy at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow. Michael Ryklin is awarded the Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding 2007.



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In January 2003, the art exhibition »Attention, Religion!« organized in the Sacharov Center in Moscow was trashed. Yet it was not the miscreants who were subject to public despise and legal persecution, but the exhibition organizers and the artists. In a law suit that grabbed the headlines they were accused of »insulting the religious feelings of the Russian people« and threatened with jail sentences.

Michail Ryklin, who followed the grotesque case in the courts, narrates events in three sections: from the viewpoint of one of the accused, who lived for months in agitation, from that of a chronicler of the ongoing events, and from that of a commentator who tries to read the writing on the wall. He describes not only the despise shown contemporary art, something reminiscent of the Soviet era, and despicable anti-Semitic behavior, but also the ever stronger alliance between the Russian Orthodox church and the secret services. In his intellectual circles he witnesses how people gradually cease to stand up against injustice, are increasingly frightened, or become cynically passive. Whether the state attacks artists, scholars and environmentalists, or oligarchs, as in the case against Chodorkovsky – Ryklin analyzes the danger of a new Russian variant of fascism.

Other publications

Kommunismus als Religion/Communism as Religion (2008)

Sold to:

Croatia (Fraktura), Greece (Epikentro)

Räume des Jubels/Spaces for Celebration (2003)

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Spanish world rights (Herder), Italy (Bollati Boringhieri)