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“Russians feel like game against an invincible predatory state”


Dmitri Glukhovski, 43, is a famous Russian science fiction writer. His first novel, published in 2005, Metro 2033, which describes an apocalyptic world in which the last men survive in the subterranean depths, met with immense popular success in Russia. But also abroad, where it has been translated into twenty languages. Residing in Europe since January, he faces up to ten years in prison in Russia for having “discredited the armed forces” by posting on his Instagram account these words: “ No to war in Ukraine. Admit that this is a real war against the entire Ukrainian people and stop it ! »

Exiled Russian writer Dmitry Glukhovsky stands in London's Woolwich district on September 27, 2022.

How did you react on February 24 to the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

I felt like a black curtain falling in front of my eyes; maybe it was a rush of adrenaline… I asked myself the question of talking about it, or not, on my Instagram account, which is followed by 200,000 subscribers. I knew it would put me at risk of not being able to return to Russia and losing everything I own there. For thirty seconds, I hesitated. Then I thought of my friends in Ukraine. And I understood that it was impossible for me to act as if there was no war. Everything was too black and white: the aggressor and the attacked; the victim and the executioner. I couldn’t keep silent so I decided to write an Instagram post against the war.

Six months later, on September 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a “partial mobilization” and staged mock referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine. For many, it was another shock. And for you ?

Three days ago this black veil fell before my eyes. The first is February 24. The second corresponds to the revelation of Boutcha’s crimes [le 1er avril, quand les forces ukrainiennes sont revenues dans cette ville de la banlieue de Kiev occupée par les Russes]. For me, as an individual and a writer, it is incomprehensible from a psychological point of view: how could soldiers, fighting for barely two weeks, commit such war crimes?

The third day is September 21, when I realized that no one in Russia would stop Putin as he embarked the country on an all-out war. Because this war is not only directed against Ukraine. It is also directed against Russia, against the Russian people. It is a war against the future of Russia, to enslave its people, so that Putin can maintain his political regime in blood, even after his death.

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