Author Irina Malkova writes with love from Russia for the Emirates - GulfToday

Author Irina Malkova writes with love from Russia for the Emirates

Author Irina Malkova is also Editor-in-Chief of Russian Emirates.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

“When you live in Dubai for many years,” says Irina Malkova, Editor-in-Chief of lifestyle magazine Russian Emirates and author of the book Emirates: Culture of Possible. How in 50 years the country of the future emerged in the desert, “you realise that its true essence is not revealed to you immediately. “In the first year, it charms you with the glitz of the social life, in the second with creative projects and technologies.

By the third, you start to appreciate the safety and tolerance, and in the fourth, you delve into the larger history of the country and understand the mechanisms behind its projects. By the fifth, sixth or seventh, it finally begins to reveal to you the true secrets that underlie its success and development.” The main goal of the book, written under her pseudonym Irma Berg, is to narrate the life and mental make-up of the young nation.

“After all,” says Malkova, “if the Emirates were able to build a futuristic society in a barren desert, then with the right approach, anything is possible in this world.” The book focuses on the Vision of Sheikh Zayed and the current Rulers of the UAE, its contemporary lifestyle and plans for the future, including highlights and little-known places of different emirates, the cultural scene and its people.

After exploring cities, it travels to the vast expanse of the desert, towering sand dunes, rugged mountain peaks and lush palm oases. There are interviews with successful Emiratis, who expresses their point of view of the reasons for the fast-paced success of the country. Here’s all about Irina Malkova’s book, written with love from Russia for the Emirates    

How has Russia received your book?

Quite well, actually. It was published in April 2022 and throughout the summer, was a bestseller on, Russia’s most popular web portal. The print version of the book is now available in book stores across the country.

 Irina Malkova’s book, written under the pseudonym Irma Berg, is in the Russian language.

There’s currently a growing interest in the Middle East, especially for the UAE, in Russia. Dubai is renowned for its hospitality, tolerance and safety; which is why many people are turning their attention towards this region. Now, I’m always delighted to received messages from readers saying that my book has helped them to learn more about the UAE.

What were your sources when writing the book?

My research for the book was informed by conversations with Emiratis, observations of daily life, and an examination of the country’s governance. I was also inspired by the books written by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai. His books provided me with valuable insights into his leadership style and his vision for the country’s future.

Another source of inspiration for me was Sheikh Zayed and his vision for building the UAE. I spent a considerable time in Al Ain visiting his former palaces, which have now been transformed into museums, and speaking with people who knew him. The experience of being in places where he lived and exploring them, provided me with valuable insights. His legacy and spirit still resonate there, and you begin to understand his ideas.

Since the book is in Russian language, have you not kept vast numbers of English and Arabic speakers in the dark about it?

I would love to translate it to Arabic and English. It is one of my goals and I’m taking some steps towards it.

How different and similar is it to edit a newspaper and to write a book?

I have been working as a journalist and editor for almost my entire professional career. The book about the UAE is not my debut work; I have also written two novels in the past. Of course, writing a book is a much more personal and intimate process than writing articles, as it involves expressing one’s own ideas or creating entire worlds. It requires a significant amount of time and dedication.

Who are your favourite authors in fiction and non-fiction? Why?

I love Umberto Eco, Mikhail Bulgakov, Leo Tolstoy, Erich Maria Remarque and Hermann Hesse, as well as all writers with a philosophical perspective on the world. While I read plenty of non-fiction books, I don’t have a particular favourite author in that genre.

How will you define your writing style?

For my fiction novels, I would define my style as ‘magical realism’ - a style created by the Colombian writer and master storyteller Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This style infuses fantastical elements into stories with effortless grace and savoir faire, creating a world where the impossible becomes possible and the mundane is infused with a sense of the extraordinary. In a way, some can say that it’s a style that reflects the essence of life in the UAE.

What will your next book be on?

I am currently working on a fiction novel set in an apocalyptic future, where humanity has managed to avert destruction by changing its mindset. We need to shed our ignorance and look to the wisdom of sages across all cultures. Throughout the centuries, they have all taught us one thing: that the key to survival and success lies in removing our ego and separateness, and embracing unity.

Interestingly, this value of unity is also one of the core values of the UAE, which was instilled by Sheikh Zayed from the very beginning. Today, we can see the fruits of this value in action all around us. 

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