“The Monastery” (Обитель) by Zakhar Prilepin

The Monastery Zakhar Prilepin “Humanity is dark and terrifying, but the world is human and warm.” So ends Zakhar Prilepin’s massive historical novel “The Monastery” (Обитель), about the Solovki monastery-turned-prison-camp, the seed of the GULAG system. Following the fortunes of Artyom Goryainov, a prisoner in the camp, the novel charts all the aspects of prison […]

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Fantasy characters come to life! With music videos, sword dancing, and free books!

My characters are not only imaginary, they exist in an imaginary fantasy world. But they still have real-world prototypes or examples. Although I thought them up on my own, I’ve found some real-world examples of what they might look or be like. My main country in The Zemnian Trilogy is,  of course, Zem’ (“Earth” or “Land”). But […]

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“Hands off Baghdad”: Dino MC 47, Russia, Regime Change, and America’s Chickens Coming Home to Roost

“Hands off Baghdad,” Dino MC 47 raps in his 2009 single “They Tell Us.” “Hands off Gaza.” In a song that was relevant then and even more relevant today, the Russian rapper–his stage name is a combination of his nickname “Dynamite” and AK-47–decries the current state of Russian-US and Russian-Ukrainian relations, exhorts Russia’s youth to […]

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