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Talking Europe

'Populism easily turns into the promotion of radical nationalism'

Andreï Kurkov is a Ukrainian writer whose work has been translated into more than 30 languages. Best known for his novel "Death and the Penguin", he spoke to FRANCE 24 about Ukraine and Europe. His latest book "Vilnius, Paris, London", published in French, discusses internal migration within the EU. Despite the tensions on this topic, he remains optimistic and believes the Schengen zone will remain an area of freedom and movement that other countries could join.


On corruption in Ukraine, which Andreï Kurkov describes in his books, he says there have been many improvements since the Maidan revolution, such as reforms affecting the police, legal system and medical services. While admitting that changes "are moving slower than one wants them to", Kurkov says "the young generation doesn’t want to live according to the old rules".

Our guest says Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who is expected to run for re-election next year, has done good things. "He restored the Ukrainian army and managed to push ahead with police, legal and medical reforms", Kurkov said, while conceding that Poroshenko is "slow on the fight against corruption".

The Ukrainian writer also touches on the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 and the fate of the Ukrainian filmmaker and writer Oleg Sentsov, who is on hunger strike in a Russian jail.

A programme presented by Luke Brown

Produced by Isabelle Romero, Roxane Runel and Mathilde Benezet

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