Towards the Flame
By Dominic Lieven
The Russian decision to mobilize in July 1914 may have been the single most catastrophic choice of the modern era. Some articulate, thoughtful figures around the Tsar understood Russia's fragility, and yet they were shouted down by those who were convinced that, despite Germany's patent military superiority, Russian greatness required decisive action.
Russia's rulers thought they were acting to secure their future, but in fact - after millions of deaths and two revolutions - they were consigning their entire class to death or exile and their country to a uniquely terrible generations-long experiment under a very different regime.
Exceptionally, in 2016 the judges also awarded a second prize of £2,000, for the best Russian book in translation, to Oleg Khlevniuk from Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, and his translator Nora Favorov, for his work Stalin: New Biography of a Dictator (Yale).