March 15, 2020

"When President Vladimir V. Putin began a program four years ago to hand out plots of land in remote areas of the Russian Far East, the idea was to lure young, hardy settlers..."

"... to the vast and sparsely populated region in a Slavic replay of the 1862 Homestead Act’s promise of 160 acres in the United States. Instead, at least in this patch of territory near the Chinese border, the Kremlin’s program got [60-year-old Sergei] Lunin, a self-declared anarchist — though, he insists, 'not an idiot who supports violence' — and lifelong gadfly. Before signing up as a pioneer to develop his plot of empty land, he edited a now defunct newspaper, Dissident, spent time in a Soviet jail accused of 'parasitism,' and did freelance work as a political consultant specializing in making mischief.... Like the American West, the Russian Far East has always been a land apart.... 'Here people are not afraid to talk loudly,' [Anton Chekhov] wrote. 'There is nobody to arrest them here and nowhere to exile them to. You can be as liberal as you like.' Today, there are plenty of people on hand to make arrests. The one-room apartment in the regional capital of Blagoveshchensk that Mr. Lunin shares with his wife, four cats, three dogs, two mice and one rabbit sits across the road from a compound of the Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., the post-Soviet incarnation of the K.G.B.... 'This will be my own little country and I will be its Putin,' [Lunin] explained during a recent visit along with his wife to their [7.4 acres of] land.... 'I was free under Brezhnev and am free under Putin,' he said. 'I am free inside.'"

"'Here I Can Be My Own Dictator'/The Kremlin’s plan to hand out plots of land in Russia’s Far East, long a magnet for dissenters, idealists and oddballs, has attracted some unusually freethinking settlers" (NYT).

Go East, old man!

26 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Don't let Bernie hear about free men living on their own private property. He would have to shoot the entire community.

Quaestor said...

Russia's Far East was and remains much more inhospitable than America's Wild West. When the Far East isn't overwhelming with snow it's overwhelming with mosquitoes and horseflies. Our Wild West just had snow and Comanches.

traditionalguy said...

"....just the Comanches" was an immovable barrier.

Quaestor said...

...Which encountered an irresistible force.

Lucien said...

And if the whole global warming thing pans out, Siberian real estate prices will skyrocket.

Char Char Binks said...

I'd move there, if I could speak Russian.

Fernandistein said...

Blagoveshchensk has a Sushi House and a Cosy House and a Hyundai dealership and a Nissan dealership and a medical college and a kindergarten #35 - it's just like the Wild West!

Lurker21 said...

There was once talk that eventually the Russian Far East would become Chinese because of population pressures, so it's not surprising that Putin would want more Russians to settle there.

Darkisland said...

This will be my own little country and I will be its Putin,'

"Ein reich die zwei"

John Henry

Yancey Ward said...

So, where is his plot of land if he lives in an apartment in the middle of a town with 200,000 people?

Rabel said...

inveterate malcontent
penniless 60-year-old
self-declared anarchist
lifelong gadfly
political consultant specializing in making mischief
generally useless asshole

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

inveterate malcontent
penniless 60-year-old
self-declared anarchist
lifelong gadfly
political consultant specializing in making mischief
generally useless asshole


Are we talking about Sanders?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YoungHegelian said...

A wonderful history of the Russian/Soviet Wild, Wild East.

Did you know you can buy it through this a link on this web site? I'll bet you didn't, because you are a very, very silly person!

n.n said...

A motive to leave the high-density urban jundgles. Good for the people. Bad for the aspiring politician who dream of exploiting democratic leverage.

n.n said...

Mongolia is a playground for cowboys.

Clyde said...

All that wide open space in Siberia and a one-room apartment for two people and ten(!) animals. In the Wild West, you could build another room onto your cabin if it got crowded.

tim maguire said...

The anarchist wants to be a dictator? Should get an "unclear on the concept" tag.

tim maguire said...

Lurker21 said...
There was once talk that eventually the Russian Far East would become Chinese because of population pressures, so it's not surprising that Putin would want more Russians to settle there.


That's where the next big war will happen (if India and Pakistan don't go at it first). It doesn't matter how much China and Russia work together against the US, ultimately they will be at each other's throats and it will go nuclear because that's the only way Russia doesn't lose 1/3 of their country.

JaimeRoberto said...

I used to work with a Russian who said Americans and Russians have a lot in common. Our countries are large. The people are often self-sufficient due to the way we expanded westward and they expanded eastward.

Rusty said...

I suggest a documentary by Werner Herzog called,"The Happy People".

daskol said...

Second that recommendation. Delightful as usual Herzog doc.

Josephbleau said...

Sounds like the poor gent had more “to his needs” than “according to his abilities.” Three is the “insane pet limit.”

Gunner said...

No bikini girls, no deal!

Michael The Magnificent said...

Can we please have a "parasitism" law? Pretty please?

Mike Petrik said...

So the USSR criminalized parasitism! Too funny.