When the Soviet-Afghan War triggered a downfall of Homo Soveticus ideology, and the Communist regime collapsed in 1991, there was an expectation, both in the West and in Russia, that the country would embrace Western values and join the civilised world. It took no account of a ruined economy, depleted and exhausted human capital and the mental and moral dent made by 70 years of Soviet rule. Nobody knew what kind of country would succeed the Soviet Union, or what being Russian really meant. The removal of ideological and geographical constraints did not add moral clarity. In particular, the intelligentsia—the engine of Soviet collapse—was caught unprepared. When their “hopeless cause” became reality, it quickly transpired that the country lacked responsible elite able and willing to create new institutions. Herman Bronnikov, a protagonist of Andrei Volos’s tetralogy Judgement Days, was one of these Soviet intellectuals.
Grinzane Cavour Literary Award Winner 2008 (Italy) Novel of the Year Prize (2004, Russia)
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In Ludmila Ulitskaya’s novel “Sincerely yours, Shurik” the plot is simple: a very good, smart, strong-willed Grandmother Elizaveta Ivanovna and her daughter Vera, a very nice, tender, but quite confused mother raise their boy Shurik in an atmosphere of idyllic family love.
The boy becomes a kind man, very helpful and quite responsive to those in need around him. Shurik has grown into a well educated, mature and attractive young man from...