History of the final days of the USSR wins Pushkin House Russian Book Prize

Posted on 18th May 2015 by Jonathan O'Brien
The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union by Serhii Plokhy has won the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize 2015.
The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union by Serhii Plokhy has been declared the winner of the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize 2015.

Serhii Plokhy, Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University and award-winning historian, received glowing reviews on publication of his book. It was described by The Telegraph, quite simply, as 'masterful'

The Last Empire is a fascinating interpretation of the USSR's final moments before Gorbachev's resignation in 1991. Filled with the type of political intrigue that could only exist in reality, its breath-taking narrative makes it one of the best history books of the last few years and crucial to understanding modern Russia.

Now in its third year, the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize rewards the best non-fiction writing on Russia. Its aim is to establish wider understanding of the Russian-speaking world. Previous winners have included Red Fortress, a history of the Kremlin, and Former People about the lives of the Russian aristocracy who remained in the country after the Russian Revolution.

"We have found a worthy winner in Serhii Plokhy," said the chair of judges, Lord Browne of Madingley. "He has brought to life events that are of great relevance to our understanding of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine."

James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones, described the winning title as:“A powerful book, which continues the strong tradition of previous winners. We at Waterstones are delighted that our continuing partnership with the Pushkin House prize is able to reward such high quality writing.”

The other shortlisted titles, all of which would have been worthy winners, were:

The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée

Kolyma Diaries: A Journey into Russia’s Haunted Hinterland by Jacek Hugo-Bader, translated by Antonia Lloyd Jones

St Petersburg: Shadows of the Past by Catriona Kelly

Stalin Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 by Stephen Kotkin

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia by Peter Pomerantsev


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