Books about Russia and Ukraine go out of stock in Chinese market amid armed conflict: publishers
Published: Mar 02, 2022 07:18 PM
Books on display at the 2020 Moscow International Book Fair held at Moscow’s Manege Central Exhibition Hall Photos: VCG

Books on display at the 2020 Moscow International Book Fair held at Moscow’s Manege Central Exhibition Hall Photos: VCG

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Book sales about Russia and Ukraine have soared since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Some books have even gone out of stock, and are being urgently reprinted, according to Chinese publishers on Wednesday. 

Chinese observers said that the reason behind the mania is Chinese readers' strong eagerness to learn about the origin of the Russia and Ukraine crisis, and how the US exacerbated the conflict in its eagerness to achieve its own geopolitical goals.

According to e-commerce platform, three books about Russian President Vladimir Putin rank among the top 10 bestsellers, and on platform, biographical books about President Putin have fully occupied the top spots on the Leaders Biography List.

An employee at CITIC Press Group who wishes to be anonymous, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the book The Strongman: Vladimir Putin and the Struggle for Russia published in China in 2014 has been out of stock since last week and that the publisher is currently working on reprints.

Zhang Hongbo, director-general of the China Written Works Copyright Society and an expert in Russian studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the outbreak of the Russian-Ukraine conflict has triggered the interest of many Chinese readers to learn more about the history of Russia, Ukraine and the former Soviet Union, especially the history of Crimea.

"There are profound and complex historical and geographical factors behind the Russian-Ukrainian crisis," said Zhang.

Besides biographies, Russian literary  works and history books about Russia and Ukraine have also become highly popular.

On Chinese review platform Douban, the most searched key words are the well-known Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, Russia and Ukraine.

Sheng Dengyu and Zhou Lili, editorsat the Writers Publishing House, told the Global Times that the sale of the Ukrainian literary classic Never Drop Behind has seen an obvious increase in recent days. The book's author is Oles Honchar, most of whose works drew inspiration from humanity and war.

They added that the publishing house plans to publish another literary  book from Russia in June.

The Gates of Europe, a History of Ukraine, published in March 2019, sold over 1,000 copies on February 25, when the conflict escalated, according to its publisher CITIC Press Group, who arranged an urgent reprint of 19,000 copies last week to meet the demand of readers, The Paper reported.

"The US is the culprit of the Ukraine crisis," Xia Yishan, a research fellow of Central Asian studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

He added that the US took advantage of the historical conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and that it constantly sold weapons to Ukraine and threatened Russia's national security. It also incited NATO's vigilance against Russia and encouraged Ukraine to join NATO.

Zhang echoed Xia's opinion, saying Chinese readers can learn about the deep-seated causes and development of the current military conflict through the history of Russia and Ukraine, Russia-US international relations, the Ukrainian regime, and the US strategy toward the European Union and so on.

"The US is desperate to achieve its own geopolitical goals to suppress Russia and erode its sphere of influence, neither does it want to allow such a nuclear power to become bigger and 'threaten' its hegemony," Xia added.