Luidmila Ulitskaya is one of modern Russia's most celebrated authors.
Her books have been translated in more than 30 languages, she has sold millions of copies in Russia. Probably the most famous writer in Russia today. Her liberal views often do not chime with those of the Kremlin, especially when it comes to the country where her family originated: Ukraine.
According to Luidmila Ulitskaya: "Anyone who wants to understand Russia must understand that the entire nation needs collective therapy to get over its recent past". For years she has observed events and commented on them from a position of relative independence.
I have to tell you that I love Russian women very much and I think that women in our society are the best part of it.
"The task of culture is to raise a person while politics always brings one down. This is the message that I constantly deliver: culture is higher than politics, but it is not as pragmatic as it seems to many people. A writer does not have a mission to fight with those in power," she tells Al Jazeera when asked how important the role of the author is in modern Russia.
Ulitskaya once said that she did not think the presidents and the leaders of the world were actually that clever.
Because if they were geniuses they would be doing some sort of other profession. When probed further on her thoughts on President Putin, she says:
"I think that the defining factor is that he is from the special services. Special services in the whole world and at all times starting from the most ancient ones, including the inquisition and other institutes of mind control - they realise a certain principle of observing human freedom."
"These are people who, for a living, desire to control minds. And I think that this largely defines their activity," she adds.
So will the conflict in Ukraine get worse? Where is Russia going? Is there any hope for democracy and change? All discussed with Luidmila Ulitskaya this week on Talk to Al Jazeera .
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