The Last Man in Russia

April 12, 2014

I recently read The Last Man in Russia: The Struggle to Save a Dying Nation by Oliver Bullough. A book that seems even more relevant with Russia in the news a lot lately, it is a well-told mix of history, travelogue, and socio-cultural critique. The focus of the story is Father Dmitry Dudko, a dissident Orthodox Christian priest imprisoned during Stalin's regime, which offers some important moments for considering church-state issues. Bullough providing a fascinating look of present-day Russia during his travels researching Dudko's life. Weaving these accounts with the story of Dudko intimately wraps the past and present. Bullough uses Dudko's life to tell the story of Russia and why it is a dying nation. Even though he warns this at the start of the book (which means it cannot be a happy tale), he puts together the story so well that I found myself engrossed in the story to the point I was startled by the turn in the tale.