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Author: Zakhar Prilepin

Foreword: Alexey Navalny

Translators: Mariya Gusev and Jeff Parker with Alina Ryabovolova

Sasha “Sankya” Tishin, and his friends are part of a generation stuck between eras. They don’t remember the Soviet Union, but they also don’t believe in the promise of opportunity for all in the corrupt, capitalistic new Russia.

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Sasha “Sankya” Tishin, and his friends are part of a generation stuck between eras. They don’t remember the Soviet Union, but they also don’t believe in the promise of opportunity for all in the corrupt, capitalistic new Russia. They belong to an extremist group that wants to build a better Russia by tearing down the existing one. Sasha, alternately thoughtful and naïve, violent and tender, dispassionate and romantic, hopeful and hopeless, is torn between the dying village of his youth and the soulless capital, where he and his friends stage rowdy protests and do battle with the police. When they go too far, Sasha finds himself testing the elemental force of the protest movement in Russia and in himself.

Originally published in 2006, Sankya is even more relevant today as a prism through which to view the recent large-scale actions against Vladimir Putin. It is Prilepin’s first novel and is widely considered his best.



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Zakhar Prilepin was born near Ryazan in 1975. Prilepin had a varied life before dedicating himself to writing, spending time as a student, as a labourer, as a journalist and as a soldier, serving with the Special Forces in Chechnya. More recently Prilepin has come to the public attention not only as one of the best writers of his generation, but as a committed, and often controversial, political activist on behalf of the ‘Other Russia’ coalition. Prilepin lives in Nizhny Novgorod where he is the regional editor of independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta. His website is one of the most popular author’s sites in Russia.

Prilepin’s combination of lucid prose and social consciousness has made him one of the most popular and acclaimed writers in Russia today and drawn comparisons with the Russian classics. His novel Sankya, which draws on his own experiences to depict life among young political extremists, was shortlisted for the Russian Booker in 2007, when it also won the Yasnaya Polyana Award and the Best Foreign Novel of the Year Award in China. Prilepin’s works have been translated into numerous foreign languages; regrettably, English-speaking readers have as yet had to content themselves with a handful of short stories.


The Super Natsbest Prize 2011
The National Bestseller Prize 2008
Alexander Nevsky Award “The True Sons of Russia” 2007
The Russian Booker Prize 2006

Endorsements and Review Quotes

“For many, this novel is seen as a mild critique of Russia’s current political situation, particularly with President Putin in mind.” Varia Fedko-BlakeThe Culture Trip

“This English translation of Zakhar Prilepin’s Sankya by Mariya Gusev and Jeff Parker has been long overdue; and in recent months disturbingly relevant. The novel gained a cult following on its 2006 release, and Prilepin was hailed as the reincarnation of any number of Russian greats, most famously Gorky.” Maxim Edwards, openDemocracy

…probably the most important writer in modern Russia, a sensitive and intelligent critic of his country’s condition.” NEWSWEEK

The novel comes to parody a thriller as the revolutionaries plunge towards a vain uprising. There is a touch of absurdity in their actions (while willing to commit assassinations, their great challenge to the president is to throw food at him).” Robin Davis, The Scotland-Russia Review

“The novel is so vivid that it seems to be almost extremist.” KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA

At its core, Sankya can be seen as the most vivid explanation of how we went from Pussy Riot and Bolotnaya to Maidan and Donetsk in a span of just a few years. In other words, how post-Soviet society went from the masked girls of Pussy Riot to the masked men of Eastern Ukraine.” RUSSIA DIRECT

“This is a novel of ideas, a novel of action, and a novel of heartbreak and beauty” THREE PERCENT

“Prilepin, who has served in special police forces as well in the Russian military in Chechnya before becoming one of the leaders of the National Bolshevik group and getting arrested more than 150 times, clearly draws from his own experience. But the novel is not a polemic; it is a piece of art. It looks long and hard into the darkest crevasses of the consciousness of the young people stuck between eras, the young people who must be understood rather than dismissed if the country is to move forward.” ZORAN ROSKO blog 


Additional information

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Zakhar Prilepin


348 pages

Publication date

8th April 2014

Book Format

Hardcover, Paperback, EPUB, Kindle, PDF