Mikhail Shishkin: 'It Pains Me To Be A Russian Writer'

(MENAFN- Swissinfo) Russian writer Mikhail Shishkin, who lives and works in Switzerland, is our guest in On the Record. He talks about how to defend Russian culture, how he witnessed Switzerland welcome dirty money with open arms and whether Russia and Ukraine will ever be able to reconcile.

This content was published on April 4, 2024 - 12:05 2 minutes

Over 20 years of experience in journalism. Graduated from Moscow State University's Faculty of Journalism and the French Press Institute in Paris. Former TV and radio presenter in France and Russia. Areas of expertise: international relations and human rights. Published author.I have interviewed presidents, rock stars and political prisoners.

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The filmmaker from Italy, who was raised in Africa, calls Switzerland home now. Carlo studied film directing at the Italian National Film School, worked as a documentary editor and director/producer in Berlin and Vienna. He crafts multimedia into engaging narratives.

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Shishkin may live in the peaceful village of Laufen, but the war his country is waging against Ukraine is a constant source of torment.“How do you explain to people there [in Russia] that they are fascists?” he asks in an interview with SWI swissinfo.

Shishkin has lived in Switzerland since 1994. Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, he has followed the horrors of war through Telegram channels.“It hurts to be Russian,” he says.“How can one be happy? How can one forget this? We are at war!”

“The Russian language has been stained in blood,” he says. But“Who will write the new novel of redemption?” The Russian author is not volunteering for the job. That task, he argues, is best suited for a Russian soldier who has witnessed the worst of the war in Ukraine and must come to terms with what he saw – and did.

“The one who sat in the trenches in Ukraine and asked himself: 'Who am I? What am I doing here? Why are we, Russians, killing here?'”. If such a novel is written, then, according to Shishkin, Russian culture has a chance and a future.

In Switzerland, Shishkin's book Peace or War was published in German (Frieden oder Krieg, Orell/Füssli publishing house, 2019) and in French (La paix ou la guerre, Les éditions Noir sur Blanc, 2023).

Edited by Virginie Mangin/ds

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