Captain of the Steppe
Deep in the desolate steppe, Captain Khabarov waits out his service at a camp where the news arrives in bundles of last year’s papers and rations turn up rotting in their trucks. One Spring, he decides to plant a field of potatoes to feed his half-starved men . . .
Oleg Pavlov is one of the most highly regarded Russian writers alive today. He has won the Russian Booker Prize (2002) and Solzhenitsyn Prize (2012) among many other awards. Born in Moscow in 1970, Pavlov spent his military service as a prison guard in Kazakhstan. Many of the incidents portrayed in his fiction were inspired by his experiences there; he recalls how he found himself reading about Karabas, the very camp he had worked at, in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago. He later became Solzhenitsyn’s assistant and was inspired to continue the great writer’s work. Pavlov’s writing is firmly in the tradition of the great Russian novelists Dostoyevsky and Solzhenitsyn.