MOSCOW -- Alexievich, who writes primarily in Russian, is very much a part of this "Russian world" -- that is, in the cultural and civilizational sense, and not in the political or military sense that gained currency during events in Ukraine. This "Russian world," this "Russian civilization" now stands at possibly the most critical juncture of its existence. And it is very timely that a Russian-language Slavic author who writes that this "Russian world" is standing at the threshold of the deepest crisis of its long history has received this award now.
Jolted back to life by the screeching of iron, I quickly sat up in my bunk and glanced through the foggy window of my Soviet-era train at an ever-slowing blur of Cyrillic letters. In mere moments I would finally step into the mysterious capital of Belarus, the notorious "last dictatorship in Europe."