‘I consider myself as Russian as I am French’

Vladimir Volkoff, a Franco-Russian author of espionage novels and non-fiction books famed in France, died overnight at home, his publisher, Pierre-Guillaume de Roux, said on Wednesday. He was 72.

Volkoff, born in Paris in 1932 to Russian immigrant parents, began his literary career in 1962 after serving as a French secret-service officer, but only won widespread attention after bringing out an espionage story, Le Retournement (The Reversal), in 1979.

He also wrote historical and non-fiction works, including biographies of the Russian tsar Vladimir and the composer Tchaikovsky (to whom he was distantly related), and translated Charles Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers into French.

“I consider myself as Russian as I am French. I like to use the French language even though I can write in Russian or in English,” he said once as he was being considered for a place in France’s esteemed Academie Francaise.

Roux, of the publishing house Rocher-Privat, said Volkoff passed away in his residence in Perigord, in south-west France. He did not give the cause of death. — AFP

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