George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” set in an imagined future where totalitarian rulers deprive their citizens of all agency in order to maintain support for senseless wars, has topped electronic bestseller lists in Russia.
The novel is the most popular fiction download of 2022 on the platform of the Russian online bookseller LitRes, and the second most popular download in any category, the state news agency Tass reported on Tuesday.
The English author’s novel was published in 1949, when Nazism had just been defeated and the West’s Cold War with its erstwhile ally Josef Stalin and the Soviet communist bloc he now led was just beginning. The book was banned in the Soviet Union until 1988.
Orwell said he had used Stalin’s dictatorship as a model for the personality cult of the all-seeing Big Brother, whose “thought police” force cowed citizens to engage in “doublethink” in order to believe that “War is peace, freedom is slavery.”
However, the Russian translator of a brand new edition of “1984” sees the parallels with Orwell’s novel elsewhere.
“Orwell could not have dreamt in his worst nightmares that the era of ‘liberal totalitarianism’ or ‘totalitarian liberalism’ would come in the West, and that people — separate, rather isolated individuals — would behave like a raging herd,” Darya Tselovalnikova told the publishing house AST in May.