Book Prize 2021

CELEBRATING THE BEST NON-FICTION WRITING
ABOUT RUSSIA

The Pushkin House Book Prize recognises the very best non-fiction writing on Russia.


It celebrates books which combine excellence in research with readability.

ARCHIE BROWN, EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF POLITICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, HAS WON THE NINTH ANNUAL PUSHKIN HOUSE BOOK PRIZE OF £10,000 FOR THE HUMAN FACTOR: GORBACHEV, REAGAN AND THATCHER AND THE END OF THE COLD WAR (OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS).

Six highly readable and important new works offering fresh insights into Russian history,  politics, current affairs, literature and architecture are under consideration for the £10,000 annual Pushkin House Russian Book Prize.

A prestigious jury has unveiled the shortlist for the best non-fiction writing published for the first time during 2020 in English on the Russian-speaking world. The prize is designed to showcase, reward and encourage original, insightful and well written books and to encourage public understanding and intelligent debate around the country and its culture.

Fiona Hill, chair of the judges, said: “We had an embarrassment of riches and a difficult task to narrow down a shortlist from a large number of outstanding books. The six selected cover some of the key topics emphasised by Pushkin House, and represent a diverse set of authors. They provide a stellar reading list for anyone generally or specifically interested in contemporary Russia.”

Douglas Smith, winner of the first Pushkin House Book Prize and a funder of the prize with his wife Stephanie Ellis-Smith, said: “From revolutionary espionage to contemporary kleptocracy, from the literary classics to the death of the cold war and from urban planning to the last gasps of Stalinist tyranny, this year’s shortlist for the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize has something for everyone and speaks to the exciting breadth of today’s best writing on Russia.”

Marc Polonsky, managing trustee of The Polonsky Foundation, co-funder of the prize, said: “The shortlisted books illustrate the range and quality of contemporary writing about Russian history and culture. We are delighted to support the Pushkin House Book Prize in its important work of promoting understanding of Russia's complex past and present.”