December 25, 2023

A Very Famous Terrorist


A Very Famous Terrorist
Boris Akunin in 2013. Andrei Strunin

Russian author Boris Akunin, widely acclaimed for his detective novels, now finds himself entangled in legal troubles. Russia's Investigative Committee has initiated a criminal case against Akunin, accusing him of "justifying terrorism" and "disseminating fakes" about the Armed Forces. Concurrently, Rosfinmonitoring has added Akunin to its list of "terrorists and extremists."

The source of the alleged transgressions is unclear. According to independent outlet Meduza, Akunin's charges may be linked to statements he made during a conversation with pranksters Vovan and Lexus. The pranksters posed as calling on behalf of Alexander Tkachenko, Ukraine's former Minister of Culture. In the taped conversation, Akunin expressed a willingness to help Kiev.

Following the conversation, Akunin faced repercussions. AST, a major publishing house in Russia, announced the suspension of Akunin's books. The bookstore chain Chitay-Gorod-Bukvoed and the e-book service Litres halted the sale of Akunin's previously published works. Subsequently, following Akunin's classification as a terrorist and extremist, the police conducted searches at Zakharov Publishing House, which continued to publish his books.

Additionally, Novy Mir, one of the Russia's oldest literary magazines, removed two of Akunin's plays from its website, and the Moskovsky Gubernsky Theater canceled showings of the play "Priklyucheniya Fandorina" ("The Adventures of Fandorin"), based on Akunin's works.

In response to the accusations, Akunin, who has expressed anti-war and anti-Putin stances since 2014, pointed out that books have not been banned in Russia since Soviet times, and writers have not face accusations of terrorism since the time of the Stalin Terror.

Amnesty International condemned Akunin's persecution, asserting that baseless criminal investigations into his statements showcase the Russian government's vindictiveness against dissenters. Marie Struthers, Amnesty International's Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, criticized the Russian government for suppressing dissent.

Over the past few years, Akunin has consistently ranked among the top 20 most-published authors in Russia, with his books being printed in the millions. His latest novel, Yama ("The Pit"), published in May 2023, landed in 42nd place among the top 50 most popular books in Russia.

Akunin has lived in London since 2014.

You Might Also Like

An Anti-War Art Awakening
  • December 18, 2023

An Anti-War Art Awakening

Anonymous artist Zless creates anti-war art that juxtaposes traditional Russian symbols and the horrors of the invasion of Ukraine.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

A Taste of Russia

A Taste of Russia

The definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine has been totally updated and redesigned in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context, A Taste of Russia includes over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies. A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955