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  • Published: 6 February 2024
  • ISBN: 9781847927705
  • Imprint: Bodley Head
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $35.00

I Love Russia

Reporting from a Lost Country




Blending personal memoir with frontline reportage, this is an intimate and fearless portrait of contemporary Russia by one of Russia's most prominent independent journalists

An unprecedented and intimate portrait of Russia, and fearless cri de coeur for journalism in opposition to the global authoritarian turn

To be a journalist is to tell the truth. I Love Russia is Elena Kostyuchenko's fearless and unrelenting attempt to document Putin's Russia as experienced by those whom it systematically and brutally erases: sex workers in Moscow, queer people in the outer provinces, patients and doctors at a Ukrainian maternity ward, and reporters like herself.

The result is a singular portrait of a nation and a young woman who refuses to be silenced. In March 2022, as a reporter for Russia's last free press, Novaya Gazeta, 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 15 years in prison. Yet, driven by the conviction that the greatest form of love and patriotism is criticism, she continues to write, undaunted and with eyes wide open.

I Love Russia stitches together reportage from the past 15 years with personal essays, assembling a kaleidoscopic narrative that Kostyuchenko understands may be the last thing she'll publish for a long time-perhaps ever. 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.

  • Published: 6 February 2024
  • ISBN: 9781847927705
  • Imprint: Bodley Head
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $35.00

About the author

Elena Kostyuchenko

Elena Kostyuchenko was born in Yaroslavl, Russia in 1987. She began working as a journalist when she was 15, and spent 17 years reporting for Novaya Gazeta, Russia's last major independent newspaper until it was shut down in the spring of 2022 in response to her reporting from Ukraine. She is the author of two books published in Russian, Unwanted on Probation and We Have to Live Here, and the recipient of the European Press Prize, the Gerd Bucerius Award, and the Paul Klebnikov Prize.

Praise for I Love Russia

Elena Kostyuchenko is an important guide to the twenty-first century. The Russia she recounts here is the Russia we need to understand

Timothy Snyder

A fascinating, frightening, compulsively readable chronicle of life in Putin's Russia. As a girl, Elena Kostyuchenko wanted to believe in her country; as a journalist she has dedicated her life to exposing its darkness. Her prose is haunting, edgy, searing. Her stories are unforgettable, and deeply important

Carol Off, author of All We Leave Behind

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, unfliching prose she lays bare the cynicism and corruption, but also the bravery and heart, of her beloved country

Clarissa Ward, author of On All Fronts

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 of Novaya Gazeta and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

In this sharp-edged debut, Kostyuchenko shares experiences from her harrowing career as a reporter for Novaya Gazeta, a Moscow-based independent newspaper ... Throughout, Kostyuchenko's journalistic integrity is unquestionable and the dangers she faces are very real. It's a vivid and poignant account

Publishers Weekly

Would you like to know where Putin comes from? What the Russians are like today? And why? Read this book. For years, the author has been keeping a diary of the soul of her people, with love and with hate. Scientists claim that there is no place in the body where the soul resides. So where is it then? The author goes to homes and schools, sits at weddings and celebrations, asking about love and hate, children and parents. We get to see the rise of the monster that now leaves its footprints in Kyiv, Bucha, and Irpin — and how it forces the whole world to fear the future

Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of Second-hand Time

Elena's bravery and reportage are astonishing - the Russia we never see, every page another insight into life under Putin

Christina Lamb, author of Our Bodies, Their Battlefields

Bold, revelatory ... This is remarkable, courageous first-person journalism from a Russian woman who was raised a proud patriot, and now finds herself compelled to tell the awful truth of the country's oppressive authoritarianism under Vladamir Putin

Big Issue

Brilliant and immersive ... reportage at its brave and luminous best

Luke Harding, Observer

Fearless reporting… shocking and moving… This gritting insider’s take on Russia will prove more helpful than the welter of book by western experts when it comes to countering Putin’s disinformation

Sunday Times, *Book of the Week*

I Love Russia is full of rigorous journalistic detail, but is also deeply personal, beautifully written ... real and intimate

Rob Hastings, I Paper

Few have tried to examine the life of ordinary people in the world's biggest country (by physical size) the way this one does ... [Elena's] style of brave, intimate reporting is likely to be a rarity in Russia for years to come

New York Times

Injustice screams out from the tenacious reporting

Times Literary Supplement