July 5, 2018

World Cup Sparks Skyrocketing Sales of Classic Russian Literature

Newsweek (07/08/18) Sharkov, Damien

According to Moscow’s largest bookstore, sales of classic Russian novels are going through the roof—and it’s all thanks to the World Cup. The Russian government estimates that the tournament has brought nearly two million visitors to Russia, creating a demand for translated versions of the country’s greatest literary works.

The Moscow House of Books reports that translations of Alexander Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Leo Tolstoy, and other legendary Russian writers are all selling fast. “The most sought-after writer among tourists appears to be Mikhail Bulgakov,” says Nadezhda Mikhailova, director of the Moscow House of Books. “In June, sales of his books published in other languages grew by 30% compared with previous months.” Mikhailova says Bulgakov’s Soviet-era novel The Master and Margarita is the most popular seller, especially the English-language edition. She says sales of the Spanish, German, and Italian versions have also increased.

According to Mikhailova, sales of the translated versions of Alexander Pushkin’s works have also doubled over the course of the World Cup. The Romantic poet’s most popular work is his novel Eugene Onegin, written entirely in verse. Other works experiencing a boom in popularity are Leo Tolstoy’s 19th-century classic Anna Karenina, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, and Boris Pasternak’s controversial 20th-century romance, Doctor Zhivago.