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TOPIC: russian exiles

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

"The Idiot Has Started A War" — A Secret Meeting With Exiled Russian Author Dmitry Glukhovsky

Dmitry Glukhovsky, the Russian author of Metro 2033, is currently standing trial in absentia in Moscow for speaking out against Putin. He has gone into hiding in Europe, where Die Welt has met up with him in a secret location in Berlin.

BERLIN — "It’s happened, the idiot has started a war..."

Founded in 1909 by the impresario Sergei Diaghilev, the Ballets Russes had been traveling all around Europe to perform. Fokine and Balanchine choreographed pieces for the company, Nijinsky danced for them, Satie composed music, as did Stravinsky – the ballet company performed his masterpiece The Rite of Spring – Cocteau wrote libretti, while Bakst, Matisse and Picasso designed the sets.

It was an explosion of the avant-garde. In 1917 the artists were caught off guard by the October Revolution. They were cut off from returning home. They stayed in Europe, in most cases for the rest of their lives. Diaghilev died in Venice in 1929.

In hindsight, this episode seems like an ominous foreshadowing of the reality facing many Russians today.

In the nondescript lobby of a Berlin hotel, the author Dmitry Glukhovsky reflects on this history as he speaks about his own forced exile in Europe. He is currently on trial in Moscow, accused of “knowingly spreading false information about the Russian army.” The likely sentence will be 15 years in a penal camp.

So he has gone into hiding, and is cautious about meeting strangers. In the lead-up to our meeting, we exchanged messages on an encrypted app.

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