Post-nuclear Moscow subway novels strike chord as Doomsday Clock nears midnight

4 days ago 24

Best-selling novelist Dmitry Glukhovsky says sales of his books depicting life in the Moscow Metro after a nuclear apocalypse have been booming since Russia put him on a "wanted" list for opposing the war in Ukraine and he was forced to flee abroad.

Glukhovsky, 43, is known mainly for his dystopian novel Metro 2033 and its sequels, along with their spin-off video games, about how Muscovites survive in the city's famed metro system - "the world's biggest nuclear shelter" - after a war.

With President Vladimir Putin and other top Russian politicians regularly warning the West of nuclear war over its support for Ukraine, Glukhovsky said it was hardly surprising that Russians were trying to imagine life after such a disaster.

"It's getting us much closer (to midnight) because during Soviet times, during the times of the Cold War, nobody dared to really invoke that (possibility of Armageddon)... ," he told Reuters in an interview from an undisclosed location.

"... Never a diplomat, let alone the head of state, would threaten another superpower with using nukes against his capital. So that definitely gets us way closer to that possibility," he said, speaking in English.

Atomic scientists on Tuesday reset the "Doomsday Clock" - a symbolic timepiece - based on their latest assessment of how close they believe humanity is to annihilation due to existential threats such as nuclear war. The "time" is now 90 seconds to midnight, they said, 10 seconds closer than it has been for the past three years.

Glukhovsky deplored what he called the "routinisation" of the nuclear threats by Russia's leaders but said the Ukraine war was unlikely to trigger a global nuclear catastrophe.

"... the Russian regime is not suicidal. You know, they're not religious or political fanatics. They are very pragmatic. I would say they're mainly motivated by such things as greed and self-esteem. And I don't see (how) greed and self-esteem can bring you to begin a nuclear holocaust," he said.


Glukhovsky, who faces up to 15 years in jail if he returns home due to his anti-war stance, said his books must now be sold in Russia with a label bearing the disclaimer "This was written by a foreign agent". Under-18s are barred from buying them.

"But Metro 2033 was the number one bestseller within m...

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