Located at the plexus of Europe and Asia, Russian identity continually fluctuates between both Slavophile and pro-Western tendencies, a phenomenon that is at times painful and disturbing. Our disputes still divide us, reminding us of the centuries-old standoff between ‘West’ and ‘East’.

I had never bought art before, thinking it the bastion of well-heeled ladies and rich bankers. But I knew I had to have this painting, and I bought it for a fraction of what Abbas’s paintings sell for now. Later, I went back to the gallery to find out if they had any more of his work.

An obituary of the West is untimely and as deliriously naïve as prophecy. I prefer then to engage in critical play the conditions that organise our dreams and dreads of a PostWest.

What is going on? Responses to the current economic situation fall into two broad categories – those who argue that we need more of the same but more carefully moderated, and those who lay the responsibility firmly at the door of what is broadly termed neo-liberal economics.

For the past decade or so, Hamid Dabashi, the increasingly prolific Iranian-born but New York-based sociologist of religion and cultural critic, has been working on an ideology of resistance that defies the new globalised world order and challenges the allegedly inevitable Clash of Civilisations thesis.

You know the story. Prince Hamlet grieves the untimely and mysterious death of his father and resents Claudius, his uncle, for marrying his mother and taking over the kingdom of Denmark with dictatorial glee. But then one day, Hamlet is visited by the ghost of his father who names Claudius as his killer and demands vengeance.