From Oliver Bullough, the acclaimed author of the Orwell Prize-shortlisted, Let Our Fame Be Great, a study - part travelogue, part political analysis - of a nation in crisis
In the 1960s, two things happened in Russia. Not the overthrow of Nikita Khrushchev, though that may have been part of it, nor the invasion of Czechoslovakia, though that may have been part of it too. What happened is that around that time, women started to have fewer children than the country needed to sustain its population, and life expectancy began to fall. The two statistics taken together added up to what has become known as the 'demographic crisis', which accelerated in the chaos that followed 1991, and has not yet been reversed.
Tracing the lives of the generation that grew to maturity in the 1960s, and the struggles of one in particular who tried to create a better future, Oliver Bullough shows in The Last Man in Russia how this population collapse is a psychological catastrophe, a protest against rulers who offer their people such limited dreams. And as protests finally begin, fifty years after the nation began to die, he traces the flickers of hope that have survived and are beginning to burn.
Praise for Let Our Fame Be Great:
'Raw, romantic' Guardian
'A haunting portrait of a people blown to the winds by a forgotten storm' Economist
'Brilliant ... Bullough draws you irresistibly into his narrative, fusing reportage, history and travelogue in colourful, absorbing prose ... The book is a pleasure' Spectator
'Wonderful ... compelling' Financial Times
Oliver Bullough studied modern history at Oxford University and moved to Russia after graduating in 1999. He lived in St Petersburg, Bishkek and Moscow over the next seven years, travelling widely as a reporter for Reuters news agency. He is now the Caucasus Editor for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting. His first book, Let Our Fame Be Great: Journeys Among the Defiant People of the Caucasus, received the Cornelius Ryan award in the United States and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize in Britain. Oliver Bullough received the Oxfam Emerging Writer award in 2011.