The Road to Unfreedom Quotes

Rate this book
Clear rating
The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder
1,770 ratings, 4.34 average rating, 322 reviews
The Road to Unfreedom Quotes Showing 1-25 of 25
“In 1976, Stephen King published a short story, “I Know What You Need,” about the courting of a young woman. Her suitor was a young man who could read her mind but did not tell her so. He simply appeared with what she wanted at the moment, beginning with strawberry ice cream for a study break. Step by step he changed her life, making her dependent upon him by giving her what she thought she wanted at a certain moment, before she herself had a chance to reflect. Her best friend realized that something disconcerting was happening, investigated, and learned the truth: “That is not love,” she warned. “That’s rape.” The internet is a bit like this. It knows much about us, but interacts with us without revealing that this is so. It makes us unfree by arousing our worst tribal impulses and placing them at the service of unseen others.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“Authoritarianism begins when we can no longer tell the difference between the true and the appealing. At the same time, the cynic who decides that there is no truth at all is the citizen who welcomes the tyrant.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“Western journalists are also taught to report various interpretations of the facts. The adage that there are two sides to a story makes sense when those who represent each side accept the factuality of the world and interpret the same set of facts. Putin’s strategy of implausible deniability exploited this convention while destroying its basis. He positioned himself as a side of the story while mocking factuality. “I am lying to you openly and we both know it” is not a side of the story. It is a trap.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“The poet Czesław Miłosz wrote in 1953 that 'only in the middle of the twentieth century did the inhabitants of many European countries come to understand, usually by way of suffering, that complex and difficult philosophy books have a direct influence on their fate.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“Authoritarianism arrives not because people say that they want it, but because they lose the ability to distinguish between facts and desires.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“Those who accept eternity politics do not expect to live longer, happier, or more fruitful lives. They accept suffering as a mark of righteousness if they think that guilty others are suffering more. Life is nasty, brutish, and short; the pleasure of life is that it can be made nastier, more brutish, and shorter for others.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“Some Americans can be persuaded to live shorter and worse lives, provided that they are under the impression, rightly or wrongly, that blacks (or perhaps immigrants or Muslims) suffer still more.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“Kyiv is a bilingual capital, something unusual in Europe and unthinkable in Russia and the United States. Europeans, Russians, and Americans rarely considered that everyday bilingualism might bespeak political maturity, and imagined instead that a Ukraine that spoke two languages must be divided into two groups and two halves. "Ethnic Ukrainians" must be a group that acts in one way, and "ethnic Russians" in another. This is about as true as to say that "ethnic Americans" vote Republican. It is more a summary of a politics that defines people by ethnicity, proposing to them an eternity of grievance rather than a politics of the future.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“An important sign of the collapse of the rule of law is the rise of a paramilitary and its merger with government power.”
Timothy Snyder , The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“To distract from their inability or unwillingness to reform, eternity politicians instruct their citizens to experience elation and outrage at short intervals, drowning the future in the present. In foreign policy, eternity politicians belittle and undo the achievements of countries that might seem like models to their own citizens. Using technology to transmit political fiction, both at home and abroad, eternity politicians deny truth and seek to reduce life to spectacle and feeling.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“Right before the election, Russia placed three thousand advertisements on Facebook, and promoted them as memes across at least 180 accounts on Instagram. Russia could do so without including any disclaimers about who had paid for the ads, leaving Americans with the impression that foreign propaganda was an American discussion. As researchers began to calculate the extent of American exposure to Russian propaganda, Facebook deleted more data. This suggests that the Russian campaign was embarrassingly effective. Later, the company told investors that as many as sixty million accounts were fake.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“History as a discipline began as a confrontation with war propaganda. In the first history book, The Peloponnesian Wars, Thucydides was careful to make a distinction between leaders' accounts of their actions and the real reasons for their decisions.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“One of Russia’s long-range bombers, a Tu-95 built to drop atomic bombs on the United States, was renamed “Izborsk” in honor of the club. In case anyone failed to notice this sign of Kremlin backing, Prokhanov was invited to fly in the cockpit of the aircraft. In the years to come, this and other Tu-95s would regularly approach the airspace of the member states of the European Union,”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“In the 1990s, Trump Tower was one of only two buildings in New York City to allow anonymous purchases of apartment units, an opportunity that the Russian mob quickly exploited.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“Putin’s aim was not to fool Ukrainians but to create a bond of willing ignorance with Russians, who were meant to understand that Putin was lying but to believe him a”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“In the end, though, freedom depends upon citizens who are able to make a distinction between what is true and what they want to hear. Authoritarianism arrives not because people say that they want it, but because they lose the ability to distinguish between facts and desires.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“The greater and the more obvious the lie, the more his subjects demonstrate their loyalty by accepting it, and the more they participate in the great sacral mystery of Kremlin p”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“emphasizing cultural differences, making politics about being rather than doing. In the United States, this meant playing to the grievances of whites even though they were a majority whose members held almost all the wealth; in Ukraine it meant exaggerating the difficulties of people who spoke Russian,”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“Like all immorality, eternity politics begins by making an exception for itself. All else in creation might be evil, but I and my group are good, because I am myself and my group is mine.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“Brezhnev. It was Brezhnev who proved to be Stalin’s most important successor, because he redefined the Soviet attitude to time: he buried the Marxist politics of inevitability, and replaced it with a Soviet politics of eternity.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“Czechoslovakia spoke of “normalization,” which nicely caught the spirit of the moment. What was, was normal. To say otherwise in Brezhnev’s Soviet Union was to be condemned to an insane asylum.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“To find his successor, Yeltsin’s entourage organized a public opinion poll about favorite heroes in popular entertainment. The winner was Max Stierlitz, the hero of a series of Soviet novels that were adapted into a number of films, most famously the television serial Seventeen Moments of Spring in 1973.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“All of the virtues depend upon truth, and truth depends upon them all. Final truth in this world is unattainable, but its pursuit leads the individual away from unfreedom. The temptation to believe what feels right assails us at all times from all directions. Authoritarianism begins when we can no longer tell the difference between the true and the appealing. The cynic who decides that there is no truth is the citizen who welcomes the tyrant.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“Every Pennsylvania county that Obama won in 2012 but Trump won in 2016 was in opioid crisis.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“Adolf Hitler claimed that all that mattered was the struggle of the race, and that the elimination of Jews would restore nature's eternal balance. His Thousand-Year Reich lasted twelve years, and he committed suicide. A state does not endure because a leader mystifies a generation.”
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America