A pro-Western, NATO-backed Ukrainian government faces a stubborn insurgency in the pro-Russian East. Fighting rages around Donetsk, with civilians dying in artillery fire and airstrikes, while Russian troops mass on the Ukrainian border.
[Fedor] Berezin, a 54-year-old former Soviet Army officer and Donetsk native, is now living inside a real-life version of his own story: He is deputy defense minister of the embattled “Donetsk People’s Republic”.
The plot twist? Berezin is also the author of Science Fiction duology, War 2010: The Ukrainian Front and War 2011: Against NATO.
But Berezin’s novels are hardly a unique phenomenon.
In 2005, not long after Ukraine’s pro-Western Orange Revolution came Omega by Andrei Valentinov, describing three alternate history versions of the conflict. Then there’s The Age of the Stillborn by Gleb Bobrov, and Grigory Savitsky’s Battlefield Ukraine: The Broken Trident.
This is why Russian novelist Dmitry Bykov to call the Ukraine conflict “the writers’ war”.
Berezin’s own LiveJournal update about his new appointment began with the words, “I have found myself in an alternate reality”.
At a rally in Donetsk in late June, Berezin told the crowd that the obvious goal of the Kiev government was to drive all the Russians out of Eastern Ukraine – “to blatantly steal our land and give it to the Americans and the Europeans”. It sounds like a page from Berezin’s own novels.
By early July, Berezin’s tone had changed slightly, acknowledging to the Rossiyskaya Gazata that the civil war had turned out to be more terrifying than his fiction. Funny how that works.