Putin's People shortlisted for Pushkin House Russian Book Prize

Putin's People shortlisted for Pushkin House Russian Book Prize

Catherine Belton's book Putin's People (William Collins) has been shortlisted for the £10,000 annual Pushkin House Russian Book Prize, awarded to "the best non-fiction writing in English on the Russian-speaking world". 

Belton and HarperCollins are involved in a high-profile court case over the book. Last month the publisher settled with two Russian billionaires in a libel case, but will await a judgment later this year on claims brought by Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich and a Russian energy giant.

The judges for the award said 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.”

The other shortlisted titles are Archie Brown's The Human Factor (OUP), Evgeny Dobrenko's Late Stalinism (YUP), Jonathan Schneer's The Lockhart Plot (OUP), Andrei Zorin's Leo Tolstoy (Reaktion Books) and Katherine Zubovich's Moscow Monumental (PUP). 

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, added: “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.”