Sunday, October 7, 2018

Can Harry Potter Save Russia? Some Russians Think So

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 7 – Russians have come together to crowd fund the publication of a Russian translation book about Harry Potter because they believe that the ideas the book promotes, including the value of human life, sanity and good sense, will help them move forward to democracy and freedom, the man behind the effort says.

            Mikhail Samin tells Elizaveta Kirpanova of Novaya Gazeta that such sanity “is not approved by the powers that be … because it can lead to dissent” and thus threaten those at the top in Russia (

            The book in question is California-based Eliezer Yudkovsky’s Harry Potter and Methods of Rational Thought. A Russian translation already exists, but Samin says that he turned to crowd funding to get the money necessary to publish the work in Russia on a not-for-profit basis, after securing the agreement of the author and of the Harry Potter trust. 

            Samin first came to public prominence in Russia as a result of his support for Aleksey Navalny and also for his leadership of the Pastafarian church there, a group may dismiss as quackery but one whose followers insist is “a real, legitimate religion, as much as any other.” He says he has long been a follower of the works of J.K. Rowling.

            Everyone should read the book, Samn says, because “rationality is not Mr. Spock who did not experience emotion.  Rationality is the set of instruments which allow us to approach final values and more effectively and happily solve problems on the way.  It is a means of understanding and accepting the world as it is and recognizing errors if we are not correct.”

            What is important, he says, is “reality and not what we think about it.” That is the message of the book he is publishing now that he has gathered enough money via crowd funding.

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