I grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, where, from a very young age, I saw people suffer. That made me wonder about the suffering’s cause. Having found little solace in studying literature, I shifted my attention to sociology. Nation-building, identity production, discourse analysis, and phenomenological sociology became the focus of my inquiry. I strove to understand how perceived reality becomes real, and how knowledge gets manufactured and then solidifies into institutionalized epistemologies. And yet I abandoned my studies in sociology, moved to Berlin and took to reading history at Humboldt-Universität. The following four years were characterized by an ever-growing intellectual apathy, from which I emerged with a Bachelor’s degree. My academic and personal interests have not changed a bit. In a historian’s parlance, they read: history of ideas and history of 19th-century nation-building and imperialism.