I Love Russia
Reporting from a Lost Country
"Elena Kostyuchenko is an important guide to the 21st century." —Timothy Snyder, author of The Road to Unfreedom "A fascinating, frightening, compulsively readable chronicle of life in Putin's Russia." —Carol Off, author of All We Leave Behind To be a journalist is to tell the truth. I Love Russia is Elena Kostyuchenko's fearless attempt to document Putin's Russia as experienced by those it systematically and brutally erases: village girls recruited into sex work, queer people in the outer provinces; patients and doctors in a Ukrainian maternity ward; and reporters like herself, at risk not only because of her work but because she lived openly as a queer woman and LGBTQ activist in a deeply homophobic state. It takes us to places that non-Russians have never seen and brings us voices we have never heard. At once uncompromising and deeply humane, her book stitches together reportage and personal essays into a kaleidoscopic, often otherworldly journey. Here is Russia as it is, not as we imagine it. I Love Russia may be the last work from her homeland Kostyuchenko will publish for a long time—perhaps ever. She writes as she does, because she is driven by the conviction that the greatest form of love and patriotism is criticism. And because the threat of Putin's Russia extends beyond herself, beyond Crimea and beyond Ukraine.