Oliver Bullough

The United Kingdom


I moved to Russia in 1999, after growing up in mid-Wales and studying at Oxford University. I had no particular plan, beyond a desire to learn Russian, but got a job at a local magazine and realised I liked finding things out and writing about them.

The next year I moved to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, then joined Reuters news agency, which sent me to Moscow. The first major story I reported on was the Moscow theatre siege of 2002, when a group of Chechens seized a theatre in the capital.

It both horrified and fascinated me, and I resolved to find out as much as I could about Chechnya and the North Caucasus, to try to understand the roots of the conflict that had burst so unexpectedly into my life. I travelled extensively in the mountains that form

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“He realized that trust between people is what makes us happy. Any totalitarian state is based on betrayal. It needs people to inform on each other, to avoid socializing to interact only through the state and to avoid unsanctioned meetings.”
Oliver Bullough, The Last Man in Russia: The Struggle to Save a Dying Nation

“The Soviet state was, in fact, almost perfectly designed to make people unhappy. It denied its citizens not just hope, but also trust. Every activity had to be sanctioned by the state. Any person could be an informant. No action could be guaranteed to be without consequence. Father Dmitry preached friendship and warmth and belief to his parishioners, and inspired a generation to live as humans and not as parts of a machine.”
Oliver Bullough, The Last Man in Russia: The Struggle to Save a Dying Nation

“This may read like a mad journey through some of the most dangerous places on earth, but it is much more than that as well. Sheets witnessed most of the wars, disasters, and revolutions that followed the end of communism, and his accounts of them--from Chechnya to Chernobyl, and from Abkhazia to Afghanistan--serve as a passionate but considered obituary for the vanished Soviet empire.”
Oliver Bullough, Let Our Fame Be Great: Journeys Among the Defiant People of the Caucasus

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