Author Dmitry Glukhovsky Sentenced to Prison by Moscow

From Publishing Perspectives:

Fortunately, the author and journalist Dmitry Glukhovsky was not in Russia on Monday (August 7) when a Moscow court found him guilty on a charge of spreading false information about Russia’s armed forces. He has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Today (August 9), in response to our inquiry, Glukhovsky’s German public relations agent, Dorle Kopetzky at the Weissundblau agency, says that the writer left Moscow shortly before Vladimir Putin began his assault on Ukraine in February 2022, “and did not return after he called the war what it is.”

Glukhovsky, who joined us onstage at Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 18 to 22) in 2018 for a Publishing Perspectives Talk interview, has rarely been complimentary to the Putin administration, and many of his works were openly defiant.

“He has been critical towards the regime all these years now,” Kopetzky says, “and has fortified his efforts in exile.”

The Associated Press account of Glukhovsky’s sentencing points out that he is “the latest artist to be handed a prison term in a relentless crackdown on dissent in Russia,” referencing the May 5 pre-trial detention for theater director Zhenya Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk.

Most prominently, of course, on Friday (August 4), the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, already imprisoned, was convicted on charges of extremism and sentenced to 19 years in prison. That event prompted the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal to write, “The world hardly needs another reminder of the true nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russian state.”

A Reuters write-up in February spoke to Glukhovsky from an undisclosed location, and confirmed that prosecutors in Russia were “proceeding with a case against exiled science fiction writer Dmitry Glukhovsky, accused of publishing ‘false information’ about Russian atrocities in the Ukraine war.” As early as June of 2022, Reuters had reported that Glukhovsky was on a Russian interior ministry wanted list, the author on encrypted communication services having called out the Kremlin’s “special military operation” as a euphemism for Putin’s land-grab.

Glukhovsky, in a 2018 pre-Frankfurt interview with Publishing Perspectives, described the “wonderful times” of the current post-Soviet era for writers willing to see “an epoch of not only post-truth but also post-ethic.”

“These are really the times,” he said, “when all a writer needs to do is sit down and focus carefully on the dubious reality unfolding around him. What’s the point of writing a dystopian fiction nowadays,” he asks, “when the reality is exceeding your wildest fantasies?”

. . . .

Having worked in film, video game, and television development Glukhovsky has particularly broad potency as a storyteller and since the release of his debut trilogy Metro 2033, he has cultivated a loyal international following, propelling his writings into broad international translation and publishing deals.

Kopetsky describes his latest two-volume “Outpost” series as being set “in a Russia isolated from the West and ruled by a new czar from Moscow.” In the books, “a disease in Russia turns people into man-eating zombies after they hear a special combination of words, a ‘somewhat pandemic neuro-lingual infection.’”

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives

PG says Russia has experienced a huge brain drain as a result of the invasion of Ukraine. A great portion of the nation’s young highly-educated and talented people left the country to live in Eastern Europe and points beyond during the weeks following the outbreak of the war. PG thinks most will never return to Russia. They will certainly not return if Putin or someone who emulates Putin is the nation’s ruler.

Not far into the war, Russia instituted a program to take convicted criminals out of the nation’s prisons with a promise of a full pardon if the convicts agreed to fight on the front lines for a period of time – often one-two years. These conscripts have been used for roles such as leading charges toward dug-in Ukrainian troops armed with machine guns, and artillery.

Such charges define the term, “cannon fodder” and the Russian conscripts have been killed and severely wounded in large numbers. Needless to say, regular Russian soldiers have priority for the treatment of their wounds, and the convicts are left to treat themselves or each other as best they can.

Russia had a shrinking population before the invasion and the death and crippling of so many young Russian men will certainly accelerate the population decline. Russian ex-pats are unlikely to bring their families back to Russia in the aftermath of the war, regardless of how it ends.

An old saying goes, “The future belongs to those who show up.” Fewer and fewer Russians are going to show up for Russia’s future.

12 thoughts on “Author Dmitry Glukhovsky Sentenced to Prison by Moscow”

  1. As was the case in the Great War, artillery fire has so far inflicted somewhere between half and three-fourths of all casualties in the current Russo-Ukrainian conflict. Russia forces have fired, on average, four times as many artillery shells per day as have Ukrainian forces.

    If we assume that exploding Russian shells manage to kill or cripple about as many people as do Ukrainian ones, then this implies that despite Western government and media claims to the contrary, Ukrainian losses greatly outnumber Russian losses, and that in due course those losses will become unsustainable, particularly when we take into account that Ukraine has a much smaller population than does Russia.

    Therefore, in order for Ukraine to survive culturally, economically, and even biologically, its leadership must at some point offer terms that Russia finds acceptable. In other words, a Ukrainian defeat is mathematically certain.

    Perhaps Russia will choke on such a victory. But military victory has also been known to have bracing psychological, economic, and even demographic effects on a people, America after the Second World War being a notable example.

    Furthermore, it seems not out of the question that American military prestige and financial power could then end up sustaining the same sort of fatal blow that Britain’s did when its 1956 attempt at intervention in Egypt failed.

    • And yet, in WW1 it wasn’t the artillery that won the war, but rather the tactics of fire and maneuver (another caveat; artillery does kill lots of people, but it’s a lot harder to kill when said people are under cover).

      Both the Russians and Ukrainians suffer from the dig in and hunker down mentality, though the Ukrainians have been given training in fire and maneuver, they just need to get rid of their old leaders who cannot adapt to the new paradigm (that will happen, just like it did in WW1 by attrition).

      As for prestige and power suffering fatal blows, Britain’s case was slightly different to that of Ukraine.

    • That also, among other things, implies that the Russians have been employing their artillery as well as the Ukrainians have. Since the former currently control less territory than they did a week after the war started, this might not be the case.

      I will also point out that Russian victory in Ukraine would look much more like the British victory in WWII than the American victory in WWII, due to the relative cost in blood and treasure.

    • “If we assume that exploding Russian shells manage to kill or cripple about as many people as do Ukrainian ones…”

      You can assume what you like, but there is no reason to suppose that this is remotely the case, in Ukraine or any other conflict. In consequence your conclusion that “Ukrainian defeat is mathematically certain” is fatally flawed. Instead of relying on this flimsy basis to estimate relative casualties you would do far better to study the many sources providing studies/estimates of casualties and carefully examine their methodology and their underlying evidence.

      Given the frequently genocidal statements of Putin and his acolytes, with their denial of the existence of the Ukrainian people, the suggestion that they should go along with whatever terms Russia finds acceptable is deeply unethical.

      • Both countries cut their teeth under the KGB so statements from both sides needs to be taken with a pound of salt.
        But there are other sources beyond propaganda puffery like satellites and drone videos being mined by the CIA, NRO, and other closed mouth US sources and the not so quiet ISW in the UK. And then there’s a whole range of OPEN SOURCE INTELLIGENCE analysis organizations:

        As rule of thumb, their verified data is closer to the Ukraine brags and routinely gives the lie to russian disinformation. Best estimates are russia is losing 4-6 soldiers for each Ukrainian casualty. And Ukraine is following western practices rotating troops. Russia isn’t.

        The problem with ground wars these days is the private satellite constellations offer resolution of less than a half-meter per pixel and with “AI” processing they can image individual soldiers. Ukraine has access to these services. Russia doesn’t. And their last soviet era spy satellite died last year. It hasn’t been replaced.

        There is a lot more going on that meets the eye of casual reporters and the media.

        Total war, 21st century style, is more than soldiers shooting and dying.

    • You might want to take a broader look.
      Going by shell fire count is simplistic: not every shell is the same nor it is used the same way. Look up EXCALIBUR shells online.

      Odds are Russia will run out of conventional ammo first, mostly because while russia is using their best missiles and drones on killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure, Ukraine uses theirs to target ammo depots, field headquarters, and logistical bridges and hubs.

      The war might look like WWI trench warfare but WWI infantry didn’t have GPS, STARLINK, SWITCHBLADE loitering munitions, BLACK HORNET NANO drones, nor night vision gear.

      Yes, the russians are expending more ammo but it is because they fire blindly, on delayed intelligence that has to travel up to high command and back down. Often the tsrgetting data is so bad they end up killing their own front line troops. Which problem they *fixed* by sending untrained convicts and conscripts to the front lines and keeping their increasingly battle weary trained veterans far behind them, waiting to see where Ukraine makes their push, waiting for another THUNDER RUN.

      What the ukrainians are doing (probably with GREEN BERET and UK COMMANDO consultants) is mounting distributed strikes, drawing the russian reserves to one side first and then the next. Instead of a single breakthrough they have six mini beachheads as of this week and are steadily moving towards Mariupul. Or Maybe Bahkmut. Or someplace else.

      The russians are hoping that if the war lasts long enough, the left in the west will cave in.

      Problem is, while they might be (barely) hanging on in the field, they are losing the broader war: the war of economies. Whie Ukraine’s economy is actually *stronger* today than when the war started, because of all the humanitarian aid and running their industry full tilt, russia’s economy is anything but healthy:

      The ruble is collapsing. Exports are shrinking in volume and what they can sell has to move at a discount and brings in second tier currencies, not dollars or Euros, or Yen. One report said the chinese have been paying them in their monopoly-money yuan and then refusing it for their top tier exports. One supplier of trainling edge chips reportedly had a 60% failure rate. And refused returns.

      Their economy is so ragged that last week they floated the idea of redirecting their black sea gas pipeline south to feed the tri-nation (Kazakstan, Usbekistan, Turkemistan) pipeline to China and were told NO! in no uncertain terms by Turkmenistan. The pipeline was paid for by the turkmen nations to meet *their* needs and is already working to capacity. Translation: go pound salt. After all, what is russia going to do? Invade them…

      Yes, the war is a war of attrition but it is a total war, 21st century style. Instead of bombing the already rickety, corrupt russian industrial base, they are starving it. And before the war, russia’s entire economy was the size of Canada. It has not gotten better. Every tank they lose is a ank they can’t replace soon, every shell they fire is one less from a stockpile that can’t replace it one for one. Iin fact, as of January, their artillery fate had dropped 75% from earlier in the war. They used to outgun Ukraine 10 to 1 but as of this summer they’re down to 3-5 to 1. And their shells are, as I said, shorter ranged and less accurate.

      (As of the gerontocrat’s rationale for giving Ukraine cluster shells, he was referring to the older, cheaper, pre-excalibur shells. Because the gear the US is shipping is the older, near expiration ammo. Useful but far from frontline stuff. I’m no fan of incrementalism but the unspoken secret of the US strategy is to send over older gear because if they send the best stuff Ukraine can handle, Russia would pullback too soon and come back in 5-10 years. If they stay in long enough, it’ll take them 20-30 years to recover.)

      The Ukraine war is messy but if you look closely there is way more going on than you see in the mainstream media. Russia must be taken off the table before China moves on Taiwan. Ideally, a total russian lost will stall China until their economy shrinks and they need to cut back their military. (They just hit deflation, just like Japan in the 90’s. Which took them a generation to “recover” from. And that was with Japan fully supported by globalization. China won’t have that.) If they’re going to move, they need to do it by 2027, when the US new toys hit the field.

      The US is playing for time to make up for the lost decade from 2009 to 2019.

      Ukraine is proving to be very useful there, almost as much as Putin.

    • I’m not convinced about your statement that artillery has inflicted between half and three-fourths of all casualties in Ukraine.

      The Ukrainian military has used thousands of drones for both reconnaissance and as a more accurate alternative to artillery. The drone strikes don’t require artillery in fixed positions. Those fixed positions make artillery subject to often very accurate counter-battery fire.

      Basically tracking the location where a drone was launched is impossible because of the difficulty in tracking the much smaller drones and the lower altitudes at which drones can and often are flying.

      Additionally, unlike artillery, drones don’t need to fly in a straight line to attack enemy troops and equipment. Drones can and do change direction and altitude to make themselves more difficult to intercept.

      Just a few thoughts.

  2. Perhaps the very same media outlets and public officials who have lied steadily to the American people about questions of war and peace for a quarter of a century have suddenly decided to tell us the truth about the Russo-Ukraine conflict–but that, as Ring Lardner would put it, is not the way to bet.

  3. One could, not unreasonably, maintain that Zeihan himself is an exemplar of corporate media, given that he makes most of his no doubt impressive income as a consultant to (according to Wikipedia) “energy companies, financial institutions, business associations, agricultural interests, universities, and other government organizations.”

    In any case, Zeihan is the sort of public figure who strikes me as very impressive indeed when he expounds upon the embarrassingly wide array of subjects about which I know little. But on those rare occasions when he happens to deal with a topic about which I have insider information, he does not seem nearly so impressive.

    • I don’t take him as gospel (I don’t buy France 24 as much as he does. I favor TLDR instead) but he is data driven and numbers don’t lie.


      1- He isn’t media but yes, he is corporate. A corporation unto himself.

      2- He has a track record of accuracy going back to 2014. (The Ukraine war? He not only predicted it, which is only mildly impressive, but he also called the year, back in 2014 which is.)

      3- His presentations (available on youtube for the interested) run in two parts, first 30 minutes of the *data* supporting his viewpoint, followed by a customized impact analysis in the area of expertise of his audience. Hard to snow people about their own affairs. (The first full video of his I caught he was briefing the intelligence crew at Fort Benning on the very subjects of their mission. The question and answer session was interesting because of the eays they agreed and diverged.

      4- What he peddles is the *big* picture. His business is geopolitics, not academia, or human relations. Geopolitics is about macro economics, geography, and the interests of nation states. He operates in the realm of Asimov’s DEAD HAND, the forces that arise out of the actions of millions. So unless you operate on that level, whatever you do is of no interest to him nor should you be interested in his work.

      5- Because he is data driven, his analysis is perforce short term. His projection sonly run 5-10 years and he corrects them as the data changes. Usually in time for his next book.

      6- Because he is expensive, his customer base is organizations that actually need a view from the outside as a sanity check. And he not only shares his data with them, he learns what is important to them.

      Apropos of the OP he covered back in 2014 things like:

      “Why did russia invade Ukraine?” Because its in their way to the “defensible border” they think they need to secure to keep another Napoleon from comming after them. “Why is the west supporting Ukraine?” Because the “border Russia wants includes half of Poland and all of Romania and Bulgaria. All members of NATO and the only way to beat them is for Russia to go nuclear. “Why now?” Because if they don’t do it now, they will no longer be able to muster a big enough army to even try; they looked at the demographic data, numbers and distribution by age, and in 20 years there won’t be enough young adults to form an army.

      As to the media, his explanation summarizes the poor quality of output from the corpotate media companies which, ultimately, stems from the internet. Remember, newpapers and broadcast news make their money from ads. Not from being accurate. As the internet ate big chunks of their revenues they had to downsize and they weren’t going to get rid of the folks dealing with the advertising or the bylines. But they cut and did cut editorial. And fact checking. So they ended up with made up news (remember those scandals at the NYT and WP?) misquotes and opinion passing as fact. In case you hadn’t noticed there are several online ooerations dedicated soely to fact checking the corporate mecia. Because if they don’t do it before publishing it will have to be done afterwards. If at all. In the quest for cost reductions, most newspapers don’t do book reviews, rely mostly on echoing press releases and getting ride of enture sections. The NYT just fired their enture section and will instead be licensing stories from THE ATHLETIC. Most of them have even turned to “AI”.

      Likewise, in the quest to retain the audience they still have, first CNN, then Fox, and then everybody else, latched on to the reinforcing view bubble model of catering to the bias of a specific segment. Which of course requires uniformly slanting everything one way. Which retains a slice of the market that only cares to heR what reinforces their ideology but renders them offensive to everybody else.

      CNN is the posterchild for this because, after all, they started it:

      All this is just a brief look at the root of the problem, which is, as Zeihan pointed out, the change in the economics of corporate news and the kneejerk reaction to cut costs to ” live wifhin their means”.

      He just said it in less words.
      Dossn’t make it any less true, though.

      • Much like Gordon Chang, Zeihan has been predicting since 2005 that China will collapse within the next three to five years. To be wrong about something like that once may be regarded as a misfortune, but to be wrong about it so many times begins to look like carelessness.

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