Nov. 7: Reading with Elena Kostyuchenko

I Love Russia: Reporting from a Lost Country

Reading with Elena Kostyuchenko
I Love Russia: Reporting from a Lost Country
Tuesday, November 7, 2023 | 7 p.m.
Still North Books & Bar
3 Allen Street, Hanover, NH

This event is free and open to the public.

Elena Kostyuchenko is a Russian independent journalist. For 17 years she was a special correspondent of Novaya Gazeta, till the newspaper was shut down under the pressure of Russian authorities in March 2022. She reported on conflict, crime, human rights and social issues. Kostyuchenko was among the first to prove the presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. She covered the Russian invasion of Ukraine from the second day of the war. Now she collaborates with the independent Russian exiled media Meduza. Her book I love Russia will be released on October 17, 2023. Her work was acknowledged with multiple awards including European Press Prize, the Gerd Bucerius Award-Free Press of Eastern Europe, and Paul Klebnikov Prize.

About the book:

A fearless, cutting portrait of Russia and an essential cri de coeur for journalism in opposition to the global authoritarian turn

To be a journalist is to tell the truth. I Love Russia is Elena Kostyuchenko's unrelenting attempt to document her country as experienced by those whom it systematically and brutally erases: village girls recruited into sex work, queer people in the outer provinces, patients and doctors at a Ukrainian maternity ward, and reporters like herself.

Here is Russia as it is, not as we imagine it. The result is a singular portrait of a nation, and of a young woman who refuses to be silenced. In March 2022, as a correspondent for Russia's last free press, Novaya Gazeta, Kostyuchenko crossed the border into Ukraine to cover the war. It was her mission to ensure that Russians witnessed the horrors Putin was committing in their name. She filed her pieces knowing that should she return home, she would likely be prosecuted and sentenced to up to fifteen years in prison. Yet, driven by the conviction that the greatest form of love and patriotism is criticism, she continues to write.

I Love Russia stitches together reportage from the past fifteen years with personal essays, assembling a kaleidoscopic narrative that Kostyuchenko understands may be the last work from her homeland that she'll publish for a long time—perhaps ever. It exposes the inner workings of an entire nation as it descends into fascism and, inevitably, war. She writes because the threat of Putin's Russia extends beyond herself, beyond Crimea, and beyond Ukraine. We fail to understand it at our own peril.