Misha Verbitsky

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Misha Verbitsky
Misha Verbitsky.jpg
Mikhail Sergeyevich Verbitsky

(1969-06-20) June 20, 1969 (age 49)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Alma materHarvard University
Known forTorelli theorem for hyperkähler manifolds
Scientific career
InstitutionsIndependent University of Moscow
HSE Faculty of Mathematics
Université libre de Bruxelles
Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada
Doctoral advisorDavid Kazhdan
Doctoral studentsAndrey Soldatenkov
Nikon Kurnosov

Misha Verbitsky (Russian: Ми́ша Верби́цкий, born June 20, 1969 in Moscow) is a Russian mathematician. He is currently working at the Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada, Rio de Janeiro. However, he is primarily known to the general public as a controversial critic, political activist and independent music publisher.

Scientific activities[edit]

Verbitsky graduated from a Math class in the Moscow State School 57 in 1986, and was active in mathematics since then.[1] His principal area of interest in mathematics is differential geometry, especially geometry of hyperkähler manifolds and locally conformally Kähler manifolds. He proved an analogue of the global Torelli theorem for hyperkähler manifolds[2] and the mirror conjecture[3] in hyperkähler case. He also contributed to the theory of Hodge structures.[4] His PhD thesis called Cohomology of compact Hyperkaehler Manifolds was defended in 1995 at Harvard University[5] under supervision of David Kazhdan. He held different positions, most prominently at the Independent University of Moscow (since 1996), Glasgow University (2002–2007) and HSE Faculty of Mathematics (since 2010). He currently works at IMPA in Rio de Janeiro.


Verbitsky's webzine :LENIN:, started around 1997, is one of the oldest Russian online projects and has been hugely influential in the shaping of Russian counter-culture. It was the first website in Russian to openly discuss topics considered taboo at the time, such as pornography and Right-wing extremism, and to create a milieu for the emerging counter-culture aesthetic. The site also contains the largest single collection of rare underground music from the ex-USSR and contemporary Russia.

Western counter-culture[edit]

While studying Mathematics at Harvard University in the early 90s, Verbitsky was heavily influenced by Western counter-culture, especially Thelema and industrial music, and was the first to introduce these concepts to post-Soviet Russia via his webzine. At the same time, Verbitsky developed his political views which can be described as a mixture of Social Darwinism, National Bolshevism and Anarchism. He is also a prominent supporter of the anti-copyright movement, and has given lectures on the subject at various locations, including Oxford University. His work Anticopyright: The Book is the only Russian publication placing concepts such as open source and copyleft into historical and cultural context.

Bolshevik party[edit]

After graduating from Harvard with a PhD, Verbitsky moved to Russia and became a close associate (though not a member) of Eduard Limonov's National Bolshevik Party. His articles were published in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including Russkij Zhurnal, Zhurnal.Ru, Zavtra and Limonka. When the National Bolsheviks split in 1998, he joined the Eurasia Party of Alexandr Dugin. Verbitsky has given numerous talks at the Novyi Universitet, Dugin's educational vehicle, and contributed to a variety of his publications such as Elementy and Vtorzhenie.

Writing style[edit]

Verbitsky's provocative writing style can be described as both aggressive and ironic, a mixture of gonzo journalism, profanity and surreal exaggeration which instantly captures the reader's attention. The critical response to his writings ranges from anger and disgust to fascination and widespread imitation (for example, his catchphrases "So it goes, Misha"[6] and "Kill, Kill, Kill" have been plagiarised all over the Russian web).[citation needed]

Ur-Realist Records[edit]

In 1998, Verbitsky founded the independent label UR-Realist Records to publish experimental and controversial underground music. Since then, over 40 albums have been released,[7] including those of punk legend Grazhdanskaya Oborona and the neofolk band Rada i Ternovnik.

Personal life[edit]

Verbitsky currently lives in Rio de Janeiro and teaches at IMPA.

In December 2009, Yuri Kuklachev, the founder of the Moscow Cat Theatre, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Verbitsky. Kuklachev is seeking to recover alleged damages caused by Verbitsky quoting previously published allegations of Kuklachev's animal cruelty in one of his blog posts; moreover, Kuklachev holds Verbitsky responsible for the expletive-ridden content of anonymous comments to the post in question.[8][9]

In 2012, Verbitsky was convicted without his knowledge of copyright infringement. He had posted a photograph of a Russian politician who claims that his beard is trademarked.[10] The case has been appealed.




External links[edit]