‘We rebuilt the same barracks, we rebuilt the new dictatorship, we rebuilt the same regime that we used to live in and now we have another regime, and the question is the same: How to preserve our human dignity, if everything is humiliating?’ – Mikhail Shishkin
Mikhail Shishkin is one of the most celebrated living Russian novelists and the only author to have won all three major Russian literary prizes. All his books have been adapted for the stage in Russia and they have been translated into 30 languages.
On February 21 he comes to Intelligence Squared to discuss his new book My Russia: War or Peace? which is both a historical and a personal view of this troubled and conflicted country. In conversation with historian Victor Sebastyen Shishkin will trace the roots of Russia's problems, from Kievan Rus via the Grand Duchy of Moscow, empire, revolution and the Cold War to the now thirty-year-old Russian Federation. He will explore the uneasy relationship between the Russian state and its citizens, and set out his view that there are really two Russian peoples: the disillusioned and disaffected, who suffer from what he calls a slave mentality, and those who embrace so-called European values and try to stand up to oppression. And he will address the most vital question of all: Will Russia continue its vicious circle of upheaval and autocracy, or will its people find a way out of history?