Today I have another one of Emily Wieja’s interviews. These are remarkable because Emily thinks up all the questions, asks them, records them and their answers, edits them, and publishes them. She performs, in effect, all the tasks needed to run an entire television station – producer, editor, interviewer, cameraman, and tealady – in succession, one after the other. And this little half hour interview was recorded by her in Boston, Massachusetts, last Sunday, and published by her the following Wednesday, just 3 days later, which is remarkable given that Emily also has a day job to hold down.
And the person being interviewed by her today is the Russian author, orientalist, and board member of the All Russia Movement of Smokers’ Rights, Dmitry Kosyrev, speaking from his home in Moscow. As such his is a voice from outside the Anglosphere, and outside Western Europe. And his has been a different experience from that of most Western smokers, because the Soviet Union did not experience the ugly Western war on smoking until after the end of the Cold War. Antismoking zealots only arrived in Moscow at the about the same time as McDonalds cheeseburgers. And Russians have responded to them in much the same way as they responded to previous unwelcome invaders from the west, like Hitler and Napoleon: they have mounted a concerted resistance.
I’m hoping that there will be more interviews of Dmitry Kosyrev, because as a well-travelled orientalist (and sinologist) he most likely has experience not just of Russia. but also of China and South-East Asia, and may be able to shed a little light on the global war on smoking as it has impacted those countries. In fact, he may also know one or two people from those countries who can speak about their experience to people living inside the bubble of the Western society.
I might add that Dmitry is a fairly regular commenter on my blog (e.g. most recently here and here), and also writes his own Russian blog, which Google translate does quite a good job turning into mangled English.