A Russian writer calls on his contemporaries to resist Putin

With eight translations slated for his works in the Western world, Vladimir Sorokin, a Russian writer, encourages his fellow countrymen (and women) to combat Putin’s “fake news” with the truth.

Having left Russia for Germany three days before the invasion of Ukraine, Alexandra Alter of The New York Times writes that Vladimir Sorokin “seemed disoriented, but not surprised, to find himself facing what could be a long exile.” Beginning his career in letters as an underground Soviet author, English-language publishers are currently preparing eight new translations of his subversive works for Western audiences. An admirer of Dostoyevsky, Sorokin said in an interview last month, “A Russian writer has two options: Either you are afraid, or you write.”

With Putin’s right-wing ideology penetrating democracies around the globe (perhaps most alarmingly in the United States, where Trumpism almost sparked an apocalyptic war against China), Sorokin’s words ring true not just in Russia. Indeed, President Vladimir Putin, dictator of the Russian Federation, compared himself to transphobic English author J.K. Rowling in his own condemnation of “cancel culture.” As Putin’s propaganda spreads worldwide, all literary artists must meet misinformation with the truth, or else watch their respective cultures enter the future while returning to a regressive past, much like in one of Sorokin’s stories.