Mikhail Shishkin: Russian culture's biggest enemy is the Russian state

Photo: Dmitri Kotjuh / HeadRead

Throughout July, ERR's Culture portal will share discussions with writers from this year's HeadRead Literary Festival, which takes place annually in Tallinn and attracts top talent from around the world.

Russian writer Mikhail Shishkin discussed contemporary Russia, Russian culture, and when you should stay silent or emigrate with former Estonian diplomat Harri Tiido.

Watch the discussion, in English with Estonian subtitles, above.

Mikhail Shishkin is one of the most highly acclaimed Russian authors who has also won the main literary prizes of his native country – despite the fact that Shishkin, who has been living in Switzerland since 1996, is one of the fiercest critics of Putin's Russia. Especially after Russia launched its full-scale war against Ukraine. Shortly after Russia attacked Ukraine, Shishkin published an essay, writing, "On behalf of my Russia and on behalf of my people, I apologize to all Ukrainians. However, I realize that not everything that happens is forgivable." Shishkin explores the topics of guilt and redemption related to war, and the future of Europe and European sensibility in more depth in his collection of essays "My Russia: War or Peace?"

Before joining the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Harri Tiido worked as a journalist for Estonian Radio, Kuku Radio and Voice of America.

The HeadRead literary festival took place this year from May 24 to May 29. Over the course of five days, around 4,500 people visited the primary venue Writers' Union. The festival also took place in the Estonian Children's Literature Center, the Tallinn Central Library, Ait, Kellertheatre and KuKu Club.

In total, 11 author interviews recorded during the festival will be published on the Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) platform Jupiter, which is free for European viewers, and will be made available to the international audience via ERR's portals.

The series feature conversations between Mikhail Shishkin and Harri Tiido, Kristina Sabaliauskaitė and Linda Kaljundi, Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin and Sinéad Mac Aodha, Eero Epner and Maarja Undusk, Elin Cullhed and Eia Uus, Kate Mosse and Elisa Johanna Liiv, Andri Snær Magnason and Maarja Merivoo-Parro, Lilli Luuk and Carolina Pihelgas, Jussi Adler-Olsen and Krõõt Kaljusto-Munck, and Monique Roffey and Kaisa Ling, Anthony Horowitz and Jason Goodwin.

HeadRead. Source: Dmitri Kotjuh


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Editor: Karmen Rebane, Mart Rummo, Helen Wright, Kristina Kersa

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