Serfdom is freedom. Liberation is slavery. These days, the signs of the times aren't exactly subtle.
Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin's recent article praising the institution of serfdom and critiquing its abolition in 1861 raised more than a few eyebrows.
Russia, of course, isn't going back to serfdom. And Zorkin, despite the claims of some critics, wasn't calling for this.
But in Russia, history is never just history. And articles like this don't appear in the government's official newspaper by accident. They are usually meant to send some kind of message to the elite.
Moreover, in recent years, Zorkin has sometimes acted as a pamphleteer for the Kremlin who telegraphs an emerging policy line.
But if this was a policy balloon, it sure was a doozy.
So what was the real message of this strange and controversial article and what does it portend? On this week's "Power Vertical Podcast," we try to unpack Zorkin's message and take a closer look at Russia's increasingly conservative ideology and political climate.
Joining me are co-host Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University, an expert on Russia's security services, and author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows"; and Sean Guillory of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies, author of "Sean's Russia Blog."
Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes.