Vladimir Stenberg and Georgii Stenberg, The Mirror of Soviet Society, cover of Red Field magazine, 1928
ne hundred years after the 1917 Soviet revolution in Russia, two baffling museum exhibitions attempt to recast one of the bloodiest regimes in human history in a positive light. "Revolution Every Day" at the Smart Museum and "Revolutsiia! Demonstratsiia! Soviet Art Put to the Test" at the Art Institute take different approaches to their subject, but neither pays much more than lip service to the millions of victims of the historical period these shows celebrate.
Sinophobia in Central Asia is real. But does that translate into a threat to China’s lasting presence in the region?
By Sebastien Peyrouse
In the less than three decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union, China has emerged as a key player throughout Central Asia. Yet, despite increasingly prominent political, economic, and security relations, China for most Central Asians remains a little known, poorly understood, and even feared country. Since the 2000s, articles critical of Beijing’s policies have proliferated in Central Asian media. Over the past three years, several demonstrations have been organized in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to challenge the Chinese “soft expansion” in the region. Aware of the potentially negative impact of increasing Sinophobia on its foreign policy, China has countered with public diplomacy and soft power policies, including in Central Asia.
In the final years of his life, the great neurologist Oliver Sacks reflected on the physiological and psychological healing power of nature, observing that in forty years of medical practice, he had found only two types of non-pharmaceutical therapy helpful to his patients: music and gardens. It was in a garden, too, that Virginia Woolf, bedeviled by lifelong mental illness, found the consciousness-electrifying epiphany that enabled her to make some of humanity’s most transcendent art despite her private suffering.