Andrei Lankov is a Russian scholar specialized in the Korean Peninsula. He completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies at Leningrad State University, but also attended Kim Il-sung University in Pyeongyang in 1985. Since 2004 he is a professor of Korean Studies at Kookmin University. Andrei Lankov is the author of various books, both in English and Russian, on North Korean history and politics, the most recent of which, “The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia,” was published in 2013. He also contributes to “The Korea Times” and “Al Jazeera.”
In our interview we talked about his own experience in Pyeongyang, the false impressions of the country promoted by the foreign media, and the political and economic situation in North Korea. As he argues, the regime under Kim Jong-Eun faces challenges that force it to enact reforms, and that we can currently see signs of positive change.
Unfortunately, the media’s simplifications are to a very large extent driven by the ideological assumptions and fantasies, and cliches and stereotypes which have nothing to do with North Korea.
The interview was conducted on November 17th, 2014 in Seoul.