It is noteworthy that Mikhail Khodorkovsky, recently amnestied and exiled abroad after his long prison term in Siberia, chose as his first western publication not a long, political tract, but a diminutive sketchbook.
But do not be deceived. This little book’s power is inversely proportional to its size.
Chekhovian in its brevity (81 pages), it is a compilation of perceptive, respectful portraits of people whom Khodorkovsky met in prison, people whose principles set them apart – for good or ill. And since the greatest and worst aspects of human character are expressed in times of profound difficulty, the book offers a grim, hazy reflection of Russian society more generally (and much of humanity) – its apathy and despair, its courage and character.
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Russian Life is a 29-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.
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