Zakhar Prilepin represents much of what is confusing and contradictory about contemporary Russia. And on the other hand, it’s all absolutely simple. He’s a pro-Stalinist member of the anti-Putin opposition, a writer who exposes the dark side of modern Russian life while volunteering in the army of the pro-Russian Donetsk People’s Republic. Western readers […]Read more "“Sin” by Zakhar Prilepin"
Anyone tempted to say that heroes no longer exist need look no further than opposition Russian journalists to be proven wrong. Although there are many heroes and martyrs amongst that group, the name Anna Politkovskaya is particularly sacred. A furious truth-teller, Politkovskay always had the courage of her convictions, descending into chaos, corruption, and the […]Read more "“A Dirty War” by Anna Politkovskaya"
Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present A compelling survey of irregular warfare from the pre-Christian era to the present, “Invisible Armies” covers both guerrilla fighting, which Boot calls “the oldest form of warfare,” and terrorism, which he considers “strikingly modern.” While exhaustively researched, this is not a […]Read more "“Invisible Armies” by Max Boot"
I Am a Chechen! In “I am a Chechen!” German Sadulaev pulls together a set of stories, based heavily on his own biographical experiences, about the Chechen conflicts. Fragmentary, lyrical, in turns desperate and magical, and often non-linear, this collection follows in the tradition of Russian writers such as Lermontov and Babel, taking bare biography […]Read more "“I Am a Chechen!” by German Sadulaev"
“It’s very frightening,” Babchenko tells us, “that the war is in color.” Not black-and-white, like the heroic WWII movies he and his fellow soldiers had grown up on, but in the brilliant colors of the beautiful Caucasus mountains, where not one but two appallingly brutal wars have been fought in the past two decades. In […]Read more "“One Soldier’s War” by Arkady Babchenko"