Putin, a modern day Stalin

Masha Gessen, the Russian journalist, wrote a very important book last year, published by Granta in the UK. The Man Without a Face is a devastating portrait of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, a man who, when he took power of Russia in 2000, swiftly dismantled the young mechanisms of democracy put in place by his drunken predecessor Yeltsin […]

Why I wrote The Distinguished Assassin

As a postgraduate student of Russian literature at the University College London School of Slavonic and East European Studies in 1995, I will never forget my first encounter with Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, a staggering work that powerfully, and methodically, documents the vast network of forced labour camps that existed throughout the former Soviet Union. What […]

The “Evil” of Daniel Bartlam

To label the teenager Daniel Bartlam “evil”, as the Daily Mirror does this morning, is a gross oversimplification, not least because implicit in this label is the idea that he is somehow not human, something other, an abomination. He is none of these. Rather he is all too human – an isolated, troubled and destructive […]

The Tragedy and Delusion of KONY 2012’s Jason Russell

Jason Russell’s KONY 2012 film is indeed very powerful, playing perfectly to an idealistic youth with its simplistic, gung-ho Hollywood sentiment: that human evil can be eradicated and the world finally made good if only Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord, is at last captured and punished. And this youth, by virtue of their youth – […]

The Ugly and Awkward Truth of “Occupy London”

One of the protester’s banners at Occupy London declares, “The 99% needs a safety net more than the 1% needs a security blanket.” Many mainstream commentators argue that the protesters are nothing but a bunch of demented anarchists and hateful Marxists in search of either chaos or utopia, presenting no viable alternative to the Capitalism […]

Putin’s Third Term

It appears that Putin will be President once more, despite the protestations of the Russian people who cry not only foul play but also that they’ve had enough of Vladimir Vladimirovich – the leader who refuses to relinquish power in the vein of the many despots before him. Democracy in Russia is nothing but a […]

God and Melanie Phillips Will Cure ‘Sick’ Britain!

David Cameron, returning from his holiday in Tuscany earlier this week, declared a “fightback” against the rioters in England, vowing he’d do “whatever it takes” to restore order to the streets after four days of rioting and looting. He had to respond decisively – for there were significant questions over his leadership after he seemed […]

A Decadent and Murderous Underclass!

A Mail on Sunday poll this week reveals that “more than half of Britons want a return of the death penalty,” and this prompts me to reflect on a recent prison visit I made, in order to read from, and discuss, one of my novels – a meditation on life and death. As I sat […]

The State of Modern Fiction

What the fuck is going on with modern fiction?! I’m dying to read that wonderful book, which has a bloody big heart, yet I cannot find it. Gifted writers I greatly admire like William Boyd are now forced to churn out books like Restless, an all-too-familiar spy thriller that will be forgotten in no time, […]

Society Today – Britain’s Foreign Bosses

Society Today, Vol. 1, No.3, Summer 2006 With a new world order where money is placed above all else, British corporations are increasingly looking beyond the Great Isle – to the international market of talented executives – in order to recruit the best person to drive up share prices and maximise profits: the candidate’s professional […]