In his new book, a version of the diary he has been writing since Russia invaded his country last February, the Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov writes, among other things, of soup. It is July and on the cultural front, where fighting with Russia has also been “very active”, there is at last good news for Ukraine: Unesco has just registered the culture of Ukrainian borscht as part of its intangible heritage. Kurkov, like the rest of his countrymen and women, is thrilled. Apparently, the world disagrees with Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry, who has repeatedly tried to defend Russian borscht from the “encroachment of Ukrainian nationalists”.
Kurkov is a good cook and on the night of 23 February, it was ruby-colored borscht, made from beetroot and garnished with sour cream and dill, that he was preparing for a group of visiting journalists at his apartment