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?