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Introducing the 2015 Lionel Gelber Finalists. Today’s Nominee: Serhii Plokhy

Every day this week, Foreign Policy is featuring an interview with one of the finalists for the Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary award for the year’s best non-fiction book in English on foreign affairs, jointly sponsored by FP and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Today’s finalist is Harvard Professor Serhii ...

TO GO WITH AFP STORY "RUSSIA POLITICS HI
TO GO WITH AFP STORY "RUSSIA POLITICS HISTORY USSR GORBACHEV" A picture taken on August 21, 1991 shows Soviet President Mikhail Gorbatchev making his first appearance since the military coup speaking to reporters at his country house shortly before his return to Moscow after the coup failed. Behind Gorbatchev stands Russian vice-president Alexander Rutskoi (2nd R). The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, said on August 15, 2011 that former US president George H.W. Bush had warned him about his safety a few weeks before Communist hardliners staged their August 1991 coup. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE BENTURA (Photo credit should read STEPHANE BENTURA/AFP/Getty Images)

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Every day this week, Foreign Policy is featuring an interview with one of the finalists for the Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary award for the year’s best non-fiction book in English on foreign affairs, jointly sponsored by FP and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Today’s finalist is Harvard Professor Serhii Plokhy, whose book, The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union, offers a new interpretation of the collapse of the U.S.S.R., assigning a prominent role to Plokhy’s native Ukraine.

The jury citation for Plokhy’s book is below:

The final months in the life of the Soviet Union were volatile, dangerous and filled with portents for the future. Serhii Plokhy exploits newly available sources to tell a thrilling story of close calls and might-have-beens, where the roles of Ukraine and the United States White House appear in fresh and decisive detail. The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union is a seedbed for the next installment, perhaps, in this gripping, revealing tale.

And listen to the interview, conducted by Rob Steiner, a former Wall Street Journal correspondent and director of fellowships in international journalism at the Munk School, here:

Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer is the Europe editor at Foreign Policy. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Forbes, among other places. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and master’s degrees from Peking University and the London School of Economics. The P.Q. stands for Ping-Quon. @APQW

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