This brilliant, angry, funny essay on the extremes of Russian corruption comes from an award-winning Moscow-based TV reporter named Andrei Loshak. He starts with the saga of how Russia’s endemic official culture of kickbacks, nepotism and gangsterism finally wore down IKEA’s dogged attempts to import its trademark Scandinavian efficiency and logic. He ends with a cinematic vision of off-the-grid Ural villagers defying the state’s arbitrary repression in an emblematic bid for some sort of dignity and freedom. In between, drunken, destructive police, and the author’s sustaining Russian sense of humour, Loshak’s voice makes this bleak reality feel almost uplifting.
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