The Radicalist
The Radicalist
Samizdat Online co-founder Yevgeny Simkin brings truth to the people
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Samizdat Online co-founder Yevgeny Simkin brings truth to the people

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Yevgeny Simkin is a contributor at The Bulwark and co-founder of Samizdat Online.

During the Soviet Union, samizdat was the grassroots practice of evading censorship by reproducing banned publications, often by hand. Samizdat Online is the digital incarnation of this practice, publishing articles from an array of outlets while bypassing firewalls and protecting readers’ anonymity to bring truth to people living under authoritarian rule. Samizdat’s only requirement for publishing articles is that they come from an outlet that has been banned by an autocratic leader.

This interview includes two separate conversations, held weeks apart, that I have stitched together as one episode. In the first, we discuss Yevgeny’s life growing up in Russia and the antisemitism he faced there, how he cut his teeth at CBS and the erosion of public trust in the media since the days of Edward R. Murrow, how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has affected his Ukrainian and Russian employees, the state of life in rural Russia today, the playful flexibility of Russian grammar and why he thinks poetry is more beautiful in Russian than in English, the ethos of pre-Soviet folktales and where Russia went wrong as a nation, the rise of Putin and the bedrock importance of free speech in the media, and Samizdat Online's efforts in Russia, Iran, China, and beyond.

In the second half, we discuss the events of October 7, Osama bin Laden’s reputation repair on TikTok, the psychology of antisemitism in the United States, David Hirsh’s thoughts on the banality of evil, and a few exciting updates for Samizdat Online.

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The Radicalist
The Radicalist
The Radicalist follows writer and foreign correspondent David Josef Volodzko as he speaks with politicians, historians, psychologists, writers, and professors about political extremism in all its forms, tracing its philosophical roots and political consequences to help us better understand our world today.