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My Russia: War or Peace?

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529427813

Price: £12.99

ON SALE: 15th February 2024

Genre: Literature & Literary Studies / Prose: Non-fiction / Literary Essays

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In his timely new book, Mikhail Shishkin, argues that Russia is not a ‘riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’: we just don’t know enough about it. So what is the real story behind Putin’s autocratic regime and its invasion of Ukraine?

In My Russia: War or Peace? Shishkin traces the roots of Russia’s problems, from the ‘Kievan Rus’ via the Grand Duchy of Moscow, empire, revolution and Cold War, to the now thirty-year-old Russian Federation. He explores the uneasy relationship between state and citizens, explains Russian attitudes to people’s rights and democracy, and proposes that there are really two Russian peoples: the disillusioned and disaffected, who suffer from ‘slave mentality’, and those who embrace ‘European’ values and try to stand up to oppression.

Both deeply personal and taking a broader historical view, My Russia is a passionate, eye-opening account of a state entangled in a complex and bloody past, as well as a love letter to a conflicted country. Will Russia continue its vicious circle of upheaval and autocracy, or will its people find a way out of history – and how can we help?


Shishkin is the most prominent Russian novelist of his generation. To compare him to Solzhenitsyn is no exaggeration... [An] important book
Sunday Times
An elegant blend of history, biography and polemic
Daily Telegraph
Often sings with powerfully estranged, original observations... minutiae and grand philosophy collide on every page.
Boris Fishman, The New York Times Book Review (on The Light and The Dark)
Shishkin is interested in what is most precious and singular in classic Russian fiction: the passionate inquiry into what, in Maidenhair, is called the 'soul, quintessence, pollen.'
Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal (on The Light and The Dark)