Dmitri Bykov is a preeminent Russian author of prose fiction, poetry, biography, and essays, who is currently residing in exile in the United States as a vocal critic of Putin’s regime. His hugely popular “Citizen Poet” project, launched in 2011, provided poetic commentary on contemporary political and cultural events, as Bykov’s numerous articles, broadcasts, interviews, and blogs still do, aiming “to help Russia to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.”
In this lecture Bykov explores the roots and sources of Putin’s mythology, explains his success in capturing public opinion in Russia and predicts the decline of his political era. Bykov examines in detail the origin of Putin’s image and the meaning of secret service in Russian collective subconsciousness. Woland of Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita (1967); Ostap Bender of Ilf and Petrov’s Twelve Chairs (1928) and The Little Golden Calf (1931); and Colonel Stierlitz, the hero of the 1973 Soviet TV series about a Soviet spy operating in Nazi Germany, are the true heroes of Bykov’s analysis, while “the small bureaucrat Putin” is relegated to its margins.