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In The New York Review of Books NYR Daily on November 10, 2016:

Autocracy: Rules for Survival
Masha Gessen


I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now:

Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization.[….]

Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.[….]

Rule #3: Institutions will not save you. [….]

Rule #4: Be outraged. If you follow Rule #1 and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised. But in the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock. This will lead people to call you unreasonable and hysterical, and to accuse you of overreacting. It is no fun to be the only hysterical person in the room. Prepare yourself. [….]

Rule #5: Don’t make compromises. [….] In an autocracy, politics as the art of the possible is in fact utterly amoral. [….]

Rule #6: Remember the future. [….]

Are you listening, Claire?


Can you find common ground with Stephen Bannon? (November 14, 2016)