Keith Gessen

All articles by this author

School Daze

School Daze

The principal looked at me like I was crazy. Maybe I was.

Once I began to see the schools, of course, I could not unsee them. I realized how much of life—and by life in this case I mean real estate—was organized around them. Wealthy homeowners had the resources and the motivation to put time and money into their neighborhood schools; good neighborhood schools in turn attracted other wealthy homeowners. In the 1990s, a Federal Reserve economist named Sandra Black did a study on how much extra parents in Massachusetts were willing to pay for homes in superior school districts. (She studied the home prices in neighborhoods that were directly adjacent to district lines, so otherwise basically the same.) Black found that a 5 percent increase in test scores added 2.5 percent to the price of a home. In New York, where adjacent school zones might have radically different test scores, those 2.5 percent increases could add up quickly.

Revelation

Revelation

You didn’t have to go and read a thousand books to see it; you just had to stay where you were and look around.

Suddenly everything I had been looking at—not just over these past months in Moscow, but over the past few years in academia, and over the past fifteen years of studying Russia— became clear to me. Russia had always been late to the achievements and realizations of Western civilization. Its lateness was its charm and its curse—it was as if Russia were a drug addict who received every concoction only after it was perfectly crystallized, maximally potent. Nowhere were Western ideas, Western beliefs, taken more seriously; nowhere were they so passionately implemented. Thus the Bolshevik Revolution, which overthrew the old regime; thus the human rights movement, plus blue jeans, which overthrew the Bolshevik one; and thus finally this new form of capitalism created here, which had enriched and then expelled my brother, and which had impoverished my grandmother and killed Uncle Lev. You didn’t have to go and read a thousand books to see it; you just had to stay where you were and look around.

Angry White Men

Angry White Men

Trump’s advisers comprise a small right-wing criminal class within the larger corrupt political class.

More Americans voted for Al Gore than for George W. Bush, and this didn’t prevent Bush and his team from implementing a maximalist right-wing agenda the minute they got into office.

Introduction

Introduction

Poetry after Brodsky

What these poets have in common is a desire to address contemporary Russian realities, and to occupy, through the medium of poetry, a position that has been both the glory and the curse of Russian poetry for the past two hundred years. That is, to be something more than poets.

NHL Finals Update

NHL Finals Update

Sidney Crosby may be the greatest player in the world, but it turns out that’s not always such a fun job.

Was the Miracle on Ice, and Eruzione’s subsequent lifetime career as a motivational speaker, founded on an off-side? Given the broad sweep of American history, it would certainly make sense if it were so.

Introduction

Introduction

The following symposium does not pretend to be definitive about a difficult and in many ways tragic situation. But it does hope to shed light on some aspects of post-Maidan Ukraine that are less often discussed in the West. Anastasiya Osipova reflects on the emotional pressure of life in Kyiv; Tony Wood asks where neoliberal reforms are going to take Ukraine; Sophie Pinkham describes the logic of decommunization; Keith Gessen looks at Western media depictions of the Russia-Ukraine conflict over the past two years; and Nina Potarskaya recalls the trials and tribulations of the Ukrainian left since the protests began on Maidan in November 2013.

Introduction

Introduction

Introducing City by City: Dispatches from the American Metropolis

Two years into the project, the cities themselves erupted. The various city-centric iterations of Occupy—Occupy Boston, Occupy Philadelphia, Occupy Oakland—seemed to both validate our idea and move beyond it. When Occupy was done, we felt that the project, and our curiosity about the cities of our country, could expand.