Afterwords: Russian invasions

A Russian military invasion has been at the top of the headlines, and with the publication of the opening chapter of Zakhar Prilepin’s novel Sankya in B O D Y last weekend, it’s timely to point to an excellent article by Phoebe Taplin in Russia Beyond The Headlines (RBTH) on the long Russian literary tradition of writing about Russian conflict in the Caucasus, a tradition that includes Chechen war veteran Zakhar Prilepin.

The article also highlights a number of other contemporary books dealing with what I would have called current conflicts, at least until last week, but now have to refer to as recent conflicts, such as The Sky Wept Fire by Mikail Eldin, I am a Chechen! by German Sadulaev  and One Soldier’s War in Chechnya by Arkady Babchenko.

Note: The article states that Sankya was being published in February but it is coming out April 29

Accusations of Fascism

Sankya is about the National Bolshevik protests, a controversial far-right political party banned in Russia.  The Novaya Gazeta, where Prilepin works, printed an English translation of a, editorial he wrote about accusations of fascism surrounding his play Otmorozki (Jerks), in which he says: “You will surely have noticed that sweeping accusations of fascism make any serious discussion impossible. If the feeble-minded folk from Lake Seliger and those who protest on Triumfalnaya and Manezh squares, His Majesty the Prime Minister [Ed note: Putin was Prime Minister then] and author Eduard Limonov all are accused of fascism, what is there to talk about?”

Russian writers and Putin

Not long before the above article’s publication RBTH published an article about the relations between writers and Russian rulers, referring to a high profile meeting held by Putin in 2007 with young Russian writers, including Prilepin. The writer’s opinion of that meeting and its significance can be seen in a very interesting editorial he wrote a few years afterwards, in which said, among other things:

“Nowadays, the authorities and writers exist independently and meet very rarely, only to observe formalities; when they do, their meetings are completely meaningless.”


Read an excerpt from Sankya in B O D Y

Read a review of Sin in Literalab

Read a review of The Black Monkey in Lizok’s Bookshelf

Photo – Zakhar Prilepin in Chechnya/

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Categories: Afterwords


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