Levada died, in 2006, gloomy about the prospects of his country ever transcending its culture of wiliness. I recently found myself returning to an essay from 2000 by Yuri Levada, a pioneering Russian sociologist, called “The Wily Man.” The essay was Levada’s attempt to understand why so many pathologies of the Soviet era — the propensity for double-think and an adaptive, accommodating response to power — persisted so powerfully in modern Russia. Some of those compromises were venal and self-serving. Russian sociologist Yuri Levada presented “wily man” in the early 2000s in searching for an explanation as to why so many Russians could lack trust in the government yet be loyal to the nation. The Wily Man. Guests: Ekaterina Babintseva and Slava Gerovitch on cybernetics in the United States and Soviet Union. No longer. The Real Russia Story in American Politics, Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin’s Russia. I also found myself comparing her predicament with, say, that of Sarah Fabian, the Justice Department lawyer who, last June, was in court defending the Trump administration’s treatment of detained migrant children. Russian sociologist Yuri Levada presented “wily man” in the early 2000s in searching for an explanation as to why so many Russians could lack trust in the government yet be loyal to the nation. Russian sociologist Yuri Levada presented “wily man” in the early 2000s in searching for an explanation as to why so many Russians could lack trust in the government yet be loyal to the nation. Here are some tips. These are men and women who temper their ideals and compromise with the Russian state to extract all manner of benefits and privileges from those in power. Impeachment, said Franklin Graham in November, was akin to an “unjust inquisition.”. John Bolton is a telling case in point of how wiliness works in the Trump era. Joshua Yaffa, a correspondent for The New Yorker, is the author of “Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin’s Russia.”. In 2014, when war broke out in the Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, she felt compelled to help its victims, especially children caught in the crossfire. Here, Yaffa is drawing on the research of Yuri Levada, a sociologist who wrote about the Soviet "wily man," someone who adapts to and extracts as much profit from the state as he can. To get a better sense of what this Russian “wily man” is and how its reflected in Russian life and what it means for Russia writ large, I turned to Josh for some insight. In Russia, the consequence of refusing to compromise is often clear: the frustration of worthy ambitions left unrealized, a career that goes nowhere, or maybe, if the stakes are high or you’re supremely unlucky, undue attention from police and the courts. The danger is that wiliness quickly becomes a self-perpetuating spiral, as Levada warned, with the excuses and justifications served up by wily men and women only serving to embed these pathologies ever deeper. The book’s title originates from a Russian saying that describes being stuck between two powerful opposing forces – in this instance the sometimes smothering state and morality and personal freedom. The Wily Man, according to Yaffa, drawing on the work of pioneering Soviet sociologist Yuri Levada, understands that he (or she) lives in a totalitarian society, and that personal success hinges on winning favour from those in power. After spending a long stretch of time back in the United States, I see clearly that Levada’s description of “wiliness” has become an intrinsic feature of a large and growing swath of American politics in the Trump age. Others convince themselves that by making a compromise this time, they can do some good the next time. The YLA are is the web-based, open-source project that serves as a clearing house for those interested in Yuri Levada scholarship and biographical methods of research. Fast forward twenty years and, as Joshua Yaffa shows in his rich and novelistic tour of contemporary Russia, the wily man is in many respects the archetype the New Putinist Person. He’s the author of Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin’s Russia published by Penguin Random House. The starkest example of this came during the recent impeachment trial in the Senate, where Republicans metamorphosed into bodyguards and apologists for President Trump. Mr. Bolton, the former national security adviser, declined to voluntarily testify to Congress, then put the most relevant facts in a surprise tell-all book, and finally dangled the possibility of testimony after all, before reversing course and instead telling interested parties, “You’ll love Chapter 14,” as he put it during an appearance at Duke University last month. Guest: Lee Farrow on Alexis in America: A Russian Grand Duke’s Tour, 1871-72 published by Louisiana State University Press. She did this by appealing for help to the very people who bore no small amount of responsibility for inciting that war and keeping it going: Vladimir Putin and other Kremlin officials. Guests: Meredith Roman and Minkah Makalani on Black radicalism, the Comintern, and Soviet antiracism. Russian sociologist Yuri Levada presented “wily man” in the early 2000s in searching for an explanation as to why so many Russians could lack trust in the government yet be loyal to the nation. MOSCOW — The American political world has — once again — become consumed with the influence of Russia, trying to make sense of whom the Kremlin might favor in the presidential election: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, or both. Russian sociologist Yuri Levada presented “wily man” in the early 2000s in searching for an explanation as to why so many Russians could lack trust in the government yet be loyal to the nation. In 2000, at the beginning of Vladimir Putin's rule over Russia, sociologist and political scientist Yuri Levada, coined the term Wily Man, to describe a Russian characteristic that existed during the Soviet Union and continued through to the Federation of Russia. But many started out with motives that were understandable, even admirable. Over the last several years, guided by the prism of Levada’s wily man, I have studied the ways that many of Russia’s brightest figures — television producers, humanitarian aid workers, theater directors, Orthodox priests — have compromised themselves to accommodate to the state. Russian sociologist Yuri Levada presented “wily man” in the early 2000s in searching for an explanation as to why so many Russians could lack trust in the government yet be loyal to the nation. In 2000, the Russian sociologist Yuri Levada penned an essay on what he labeled the “wily man.” He wrote that this new species of post-Soviet Russia “not only tolerates deception, but is willing to be deceived, and even requires self-deception for the sake of his own preservation.” This figure was clever and resourceful, and could adapt and even succeed by exploiting loopholes, cracks, and crevasses in the system. Russian sociologist Yuri Levada presented “wily man” in the early 2000s in searching for an explanation as to why so many Russians could lack trust in the government yet be loyal to the nation. Joshua Yaffa is a correspondent for the New Yorker in Moscow and a prize-winning journalist. Guest: Andrew Jacobs on American tourism to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It’s hard to argue with those who accepted jobs in the Trump administration and federal agencies on the grounds that they could make a difference on policy issues, or at least prevent Armageddon. Sociologist Yuri Levada presented “wily man” in the early 2000s in searching for why so many Russians could lack trust in the government yet be loyal to the nation. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com. The cost of rejecting wiliness was made clear when the chairman of the group that organizes the Conservative Political Action Conference , Matt Schlapp, said he would worry about the physical safety of Mitt Romney if he showed up at the conference. Numerous evangelical leaders have contorted themselves to hold up Mr. Trump as a virtuous, even godly, figure. The convergence between Vladimir Putin’s political culture and our own. Over the last several years, guided by the prism of Levada’s wily man, I have studied the ways that many of Russia’s brightest figures — television producers, humanitarian aid workers, theater directors, Orthodox priests — have compromised themselves to accommodate to the state. In 1999, the year Vladimir Putin came to power, Levada published a new essay called “The Wily Man,” which attempted to reckon with a capitalist variation on an older Soviet theme. Follow the StarTribune for the news, photos and videos from the Twin Cities and beyond. Russian sociologist Yuri Levada presented “wily man” in the early 2000s in searching for an explanation as to why so many Russians could lack trust in the government yet be loyal to the nation. After 1991, Levada expected to see the end of the wily man, but he found that those traits outlived the Soviet Union. Yaffa learned about the wily man while living and reporting in Moscow for the New Yorker. If it took some wiliness to remain in their jobs, then perhaps some compromises are worthwhile. As I watched the parade of witnesses in the House impeachment hearings, like Ambassador Bill Taylor or Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, I found myself grateful for their professionalism. And that is the scary thing about observing wiliness at home: how readily and quickly we bend, not when there is truly no other choice, but when there are plenty of other choices, the wily one being merely the easiest and most expedient. As Levada put it in his essay, a wily individual looks to “use the rules of the game for his own interest, but at the same time — and no less important — he is constantly trying to circumvent those very same rules.” Just so with Mr. Bolton, who has sought to project loyalty to the system while looking to outsmart and subvert it when personally advantageous. Here, Yaffa is drawing on the research of Yuri Levada, a sociologist who wrote about the Soviet "wily man," someone who adapts to and extracts as much profit from the state as he can. In 2000, the Russian sociologist Yuri Levada penned an essay on what he labeled the “wily man.” He wrote that this new species of post-Soviet Russia “not only tolerates deception, but is willing to be deceived, and even requires self-deception for the sake of his own preservation.” In 2000, at the dawn of Russia’s Putin epoch, the sociologist Yuri Levada published an article titled “The Wily Man.”. Yuri Alexandrovich Levada (Russian: Ю́рий Алекса́ндрович Лева́да; 24 April 1930 in Vinnytsia – 16 November 2006 in Moscow) was a well known Russian sociologist, political scientist and the founder of the Levada Center But in America, at least at the moment, a wider spectrum of choices remains. The concept, though an idiosyncratic coinage of the sociologist Yuri Levada, seemed to echo the ways the Russians he encountered thought about themselves: beset by temptation, prone to fateful compromises with power. The Wily Man knows all the shortcomings of the Russian state and yet depends upon it. Her compromise in playing nice with the Kremlin may have looked unsavory to some, but it also provided tangible benefit for scores of sick and injured children, who without her intervention would have been left forgotten and untreated in a chaotic war zone. Mr. Yaffa, a correspondent for The New Yorker, is the author of “Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise In Putin’s Russia.”. Jerry Falwell Jr., the head of Liberty University, explained in 2018 that “nice guys” make good religious leaders, but “the United States needs street fighters.” In 2016, the evangelical intellectual Wayne Grudem wrote an essay titled “Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice,” which centered on what Trump could deliver as president: judges, abortion restrictions, further rights for Christian schools and business owners. Some of those compromises were venal and self-serving. But for me, an American journalist based in Moscow since 2012, that is a far less interesting topic than the story of the convergence between Russia’s political culture and our own. Ms. Fabian posited that soap, toothbrushes and beds were not necessarily part of the government’s obligations to provide “safe and sanitary” conditions. But for me, an American journalist based in Moscow since 2012, that is a far less interesting topic than the story of the convergence between Russia’s political culture and our own. I found it hard to judge Dr. Glinka, even as I acknowledge that compromises like hers, multiplied many times over, are what gives the Putin system its longevity. The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram. Russian sociologist Yuri Levada presented "wily man" in the early 2000s in searching for an explanation as to why so many Russians could lack trust in the government yet be loyal to the nation. It is not just politicians who have compromised. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. * The Yuri Levada Archives (YLA) are part of the International Biography Initiative sponsored by the UNLV Center for Democratice Culture. Here, Yaffa is drawing on the research of Yuri Levada, a sociologist who wrote about the Soviet “wily man,” someone who adapts to and extracts as much profit from the state as he can. As I reported their stories, I quickly lost certainty in the illusion that if I found myself in similar circumstances I would necessarily act any differently. Reading him now, nearly 15 years later, I wonder about the prospects for my own. This project, the brainchild of Yuri Levada, one of Russia’s most prominent sociologists, prepared the ground for the subsequent emergence of the discursive construction of Homo sovieticus —a human species presumed to have been irreparably damaged by the Soviet system. You can’t affect the outcome of the game if you’re not on the field, one might say — and indeed it’s not entirely incorrect logic. One could readily choose not to take the bribe, or pay one, whether literally or with one’s conscience — but that would mean less power, fewer riches, less comfort or advantage in the moment. Russian sociologist Yuri Levada’s theory of the “wily man”—a personality type focused on coping with a repressive state that, though it can’t be defeated, can be manipulated for personal gain—provides the framework for understanding Russian society under President … Some, like Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell, made their wily calculations long ago, and made sure to telegraph their allegiance before the Senate hearings began. Some find those temptations hard to resist. More often, as in Russia, these choices look understandable — perhaps even commendable. The same goes for doctors and scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who have been forced to calibrate their public messaging on the real and growing threat of coronavirus with the political urges of the president to downplay the danger. All of this has put me in mind of Russian figures like Elizaveta Glinka, or Dr. Liza, who rose to prominence as a pioneer of hospice care for the terminally ill in Russia. Yet for a long while, I maintained another delusion: that there were was something particularly Russian about these compromises — that they were inevitable result of how the Putin state has gained an effective monopoly over politics, business and civic life. In Levada’s telling, the wily man or woman “not only tolerates deception, but is willing to be deceived.” Indeed, says Levada, he even “requires self-deception for the sake of his own self-preservation.”. 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