By Dave Rosenthal
2:48 PM EST, December 12, 2011
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is best known in the United States as the owner of the New Jersy Nets pro basketball team. Today, more non-basketball fans are learbning about his political ambitions, as he announced that he is running for the Russian presidency.
His foundation supports translation of Russian works and the Krasnoyarsk Book Culture Fair, as well as the NOS Literary Prize, which is meant "to reveal and support new trends in modern Russian literature." The prize takes an interesting approach to transparency, by having the jury discuss its choice of finalists and the winner on a talk show. The 25 authors on the long list are not household names here, which is unfortunate because Russia has a storied literary history -- except for the dark days of Communist censorship.
When I visited some years ago, I was impressed that Moscow residents honored long-dead authors by leaving flowers at statues around the city. That may have changed, now that the nation has been deluged by western culture in the post-Soviet era. But I'm hoping that old habits die hard.
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