Past events

Alexander Motyl's 'Vovochka' - Book reading

Friday, February 26, 2016, at 6:00pm

Vovochka: The True Confessions of Vladimir Putin's Best Friend and Confidant 

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Free and open to the public. Max 2 reservations per person.

Welcome to the Kremlin's phantasmagoric world, where a heady mixture of Orthodoxy, socialism, imperialism, racism, sexism, homophobia, and Mother Russia worship defines and distorts reality. Vovochka is the fictional story of "Vovochka Putin" and his intimate friend-a KGB agent with the same nickname. The two Vovochkas recruit informers in Berlin's gay bars, spy on East German dissidents, survive the trauma of the Soviet Union's collapse, fight American, Ukrainian, Jewish, and Estonian "fascists," and plot to restore Russia's power and glory. As their mindset assumes increasingly bizarre forms, "Vovochka Putin" experiences bouts of self-doubt that culminate in a weeklong cure in North Korea. A savagely satirical novel, Vovochka is also a terrifyingly plausible account of a Russian president's evolution from a minor KGB agent in East Germany to the self-styled Savior and warmongering leader of a paranoid state.


Alexander J. Motyl is a writer, painter, and professor. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2008 and 2013, he is the author of seven novels, Whiskey PriestWho Killed Andrei WarholFlippancyThe Jew Who Was UkrainianMy OrchidiaSweet Snow, and Fall River, and a collection of poems, Vanishing Points. Motyl's artwork has been displayed in solo and group shows in New York, Philadelphia, and Toronto and is part of the permanent collection of the Ukrainian Museum in New York and the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre in Winnipeg. He teaches at Rutgers University-Newark and is the author of six academic books, many articles, and a weekly blog on "Ukraine's Orange Blues."

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