In My Russia: War or Peace? Shishkin traces the roots of Russia’s problems, from the ‘Kievan Rus’ via the Grand Duchy of Moscow, empire, revolution and Cold War, to the now thirty-year-old Russian Federation. He explores the uneasy relationship between state and citizens, explains Russian attitudes to people’s rights and democracy, and proposes that there are really two Russian peoples: the disillusioned and disaffected, who suffer from ‘slave mentality’, and those who embrace ‘European’ values and try to stand up to oppression.
Both deeply personal and taking a broader historical view, My Russia is a passionate, eye-opening account of a state entangled in a complex and bloody past, as well as a love letter to a conflicted country. Will Russia continue its vicious circle of upheaval and autocracy, or will its people find a way out of history – and how can we help?