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Siberian Education

Siberian Education: Growing Up in a Criminal Underworld

Nicolai Lilin

Translated by Jonathan Hunt

‘The only thing a worthy criminal takes from the cops is a beating, and even that he gives back, when the right moment comes.’

Siberian Education is the story of a tiny, tightly knit community of ‘honest’ and ‘dishonest’ criminals in Transnistria, a remote region between Moldovia and Ukraine. This is a place with a strict code of honour, a complex hierarchy, and a deep distrust of outsiders and especially police. Transgressions bring swift and severe retribution, and weapons are treated almost as religious icons.

Nicolai Lilin’s memoir is an account of a young boy growing up in a world that is strangely recognisable, yet unlike anything we have experienced. Controversial, brutally honest and sometimes disturbing, Siberian Education takes the reader to a place no writer had ever been.

Nicolai Lilin
About the Author

Nicolai Lilin was born in 1981 and grew up in the small republic of Transnistria, which declared its independence in 1990 but has never been recognised. Lilin left home to fight in the Russian army against the Chechens. Lilin later lived in Ireland, before moving to Italy, where he works as a tattooist in Turin.

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Text publication date:
31 May 2010
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