Russia's relationship with its neighbors and with the West has worsened dramatically in recent years. Under Putin's leadership, the country has annexed Crimea, begun a war in Eastern Ukraine, used chemical weapons on the streets of the UK and created an army of Internet trolls to meddle in the US presidential elections. How should we understand this apparent relapse into aggressive imperialism and militarism?
Sergei Medvedev will discuss this new wave of Russian nationalism which he feels is the result of mentalities that have long been embedded within the Russian psyche. Whereas in the West, the turbulent social changes of the 1960s and a rising awareness of the legacy of colonialism have modernized attitudes, Russia has been stymied by an enduring sense of superiority over its neighbors alongside a painful nostalgia for empire. It is this irrational worldview that Putin and others have exploited, as seen most clearly in Russia's recent foreign policy decisions, including the annexation of Crimea.
Sergei Medvedev, a historian, writer and journalist, has won this year's Pushkin House Russian book prize for his work on contemporary Russia, The Return of the Russian Leviathan.
A prestigious jury overseeing the Prize - awarded each year for the best non-fiction writing in English on the Russian-speaking world - singled out his work among six shortlisted finalists whose books covered culture, history, politics, science, and the environment.
Sergei Medvedev is the first Russian-based author to win the prize. His book was translated into English by Stephen Dalziel and published by Polity.
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