“Unhappy is the land that needs a hero,” the German writer Bertolt Brecht said. The poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko concurred and added: “Unhappier is the land that needs a hero but breeds none.” What do such notions, as “hero” and “heroic” mean? What acts and motives make a person a hero? How is the era reflected in heroes? Who shapes who – is it the hero who shapes the era or vice versa? Who do our compatriots consider to be the heroes of their history?

Grigory Shalvovich Chkhartishvili (Boris Akunin), Writer, Specialist on Japan, Literary Scholar and Translator.