Absurdistan

Absurdistan passport

Absurdistan is a term sometimes used to satirically describe a country in which absurdity is the norm, especially in its public authorities and government. The expression was originally used by Eastern bloc dissidents to refer to parts (or all) of the Soviet Union and its satellite states. Today, the term is most often reserved for Russia and states formerly in the Soviet sphere of influence which have retained Soviet-style authoritarian governments, such as Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, or Belarus.

The first printed use of the word, in any language, can be found in a 1971 German monthly periodical ‘Politische Studien.’ Later, in Czech, the term was often used by the dissident and later president Václav Havel. This seems to indicate that use of the term began during perestroika (restructuring of the Soviet economy). The first recorded printed use of the term in English was in ‘Spectator’ in 1989, in an article about Czechoslovakia (Czechoslovakians have taken to calling their country ‘Absurdistan’ because everyday life there has long resembled the ‘Theatre of the Absurd’).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.