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ZOV: The Man Who Said No to War

Pavel Filatyev

Memoir, Albin Michel, 2022

In August 2022, the international media erupted with the news of Russian ex-soldier Pavel Filatyev and his memoir, ZOV. ZOV is Pavel’s first-hand, soldier’s account of the war in Ukraine. As The Guardian wrote: Pavel “expose[d] the rot at the core of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.” 

ZOV is a bold, brave, shocking story about the inner workings of the Russian army which adds an important new voice to the conversation about Russia today. This is a powerful dramatic reportage by an ordinary soldier, which, as Literary Hub puts it, “reads like a cross between Catch-22 and The Good Soldier Švejk.”

Writing this memoir and speaking out against the war put Pavel in such grave danger that he had to flee Russia. Pavel has now received political asylum in France, though that does not necessarily mean he is safe. But he is still willing to put his life on the line to expose the realities of a brutal, corrupt, ignorant and self-serving Russian regime.

“I simply cannot watch all this in silence any longer. I was not scared when I was on the frontline in Ukraine, I was only terribly sorry I could not change anything. So why am I scared now to publish this text in my own country, to voice my opinion? Because here we are not allowed to tell the truth anymore, to say what we think, to protect our rights. Here we are only allowed to go to war and die a meaningless death or to make do and endure all this in the name of some indefinite future happiness which feludes us time and time again.”

Rights Sold:

Bulgaria: Prozorets; Denmark: Gads Forlag; Estonia: Rahva Raamat; Finland: Bazar; France: Albin Michel; Germany: Hoffmann und Campe; Hungary: Helikon; Italy: Piemme; Norway: Vigmostad & Bjørke; Romania: Litera; Spain: Galaxia Gutenberg; Sweden: Lind & Co


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