A fearless, cutting portrait of Russia and an essential cri de coeur for journalism in opposition to the global authoritarian turn
In March 2022, as a correspondent for Russia’s last free press,Novaya Gazeta, Elena Kostyuchenko crossed the border into Ukraine to cover the war. It was her mission to ensure that Russians witnessed the horrors Putin was committing in their name. She filed her pieces knowing that should she return home, she would likely be prosecuted and sentenced to up to fifteen years in prison. Yet, driven by the conviction that the greatest form of love and patriotism is criticism, she continues to write.
I Love Russiastitches together reportage from the past fifteen years with personal essays, assembling a kaleidoscopic narrative that Kostyuchenko understands may be the last work from her homeland that she’ll publish for a long time—perhaps ever. It exposes the inner workings of an entire nation as it descends into fascism and, inevitably, war. She writes because the threat of Putin’s Russia extends beyond herself, beyond Crimea, and beyond Ukraine. We fail to understand it at our own peril.
Praise for I Love Russia:
“Sharp-edged . . . harrowing . . . With gritty determination, she ventures beyond the Kremlin and its state-managed propaganda . . . Kostyuchenko’s journalistic integrity is unquestionable and the dangers she faces are very real. It’s a vivid and poignant account.” —Publishers Weekly(starred review) “Not only does Kostyuchenko find her way into the very darkness, she goes for its blackest corners. . . . The good news that emerges is her talent. Read her. It’s worth it.” —Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief ofNovaya Gazetaand winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
“Elena Kostyuchenko is an important guide to the twenty-first century. She exemplifies all the reportorial virtues, from physical courage through careful prose. The Russia she recounts here is the Russia we need to understand.” —Timothy Snyder, author ofThe Road to Unfreedom “A haunting book of rare courage. Kostyuchenko’s searing reportage takes the reader under the skin of a Russia that few outsiders get to see. With spare, unflinching prose she lays bare the cynicism and corruption, but also the bravery and heart, of her beloved country.” —Clarissa Ward, CNN chief international correspondent