01 June 2009

Old Provocations, Newly Marketed; or, What is 'Project Russia'?

In April a series of odd billboards popped up in and around Kyiv displaying the words 'Project Russia' in various languages and in varying sizes of typeface. The words themselves were arguably innocuous, but coupled with a pregnant image, they were decidedly less so. The image was an outline of the borders of the Soviet Union, with Ukraine and other non-Russian former Soviet republics clearly ensconced within. According to Dmitrii Gusev, who spoke with Delo, the billboards were advertising a three-volume propagandistic book project connected to the Kremlin.

The billboards -- including one that stood outside the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada -- have been reportedly removed from Kyiv. But 'Project Russia' continues to make the rounds -- by special delivery, as Novyi Region reports.

White envelopes with free copies of the book are reportedly appearing in the mailboxes of prominent intellectuals and civic leaders in Ukraine. They're not asking for them. Nor do they necessarily appreciate the free reading. Andrei Ermolaev, Director of the 'Sofia' Center for Social Research, had this to say about 'Project Russia': 'The text has an openly dull messianic character... It's been done either by cowards -- or jokesters.'

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