The Illuminer Prize was established in 2008 by Dmitry Zimin, the founder and Honorary President of VimpelCom, and his non-profit Foundation called Dynasty. The aim of the Prize is to increase readership of non-fiction, especially of books on popular science, as well as to encourage authors who wish to popularize ideas in the scientific community.

Since 2009 the Prize has been awarded to authors in two categories: the humanities and the natural sciences. The short list of the Prize is announced in September and laureates are announced in November.



  1. Maxim Chertanov, Darwin, Molodaya Gvardia (2013) [Special Award: Biography, Winner]
  2. Boris Tenenbaum, Great Churchill, Eksmo, Jauza (2011) [Special Award: Biography]
  3. Sergey Belyakov, Gumilev, Gumilev’s Son, AST, Astrel (2013) [Special Award: Biography]
  4. Victor Sonkin, Rome once stood here, AST, Corpus (2013) [Humanities, Winner]
  5. Vera Milchina, Everyday Life in Paris in 1814-1848, New Literary Review (2013) [Humanities]
  6. Dmitri Kopelev, Creating Spheres of Influence in the Sea in XIV-XVIII. Origins and Evolution of Piracy, Krieg (2013) [Humanities]
  7. Alexander Vaskin, Moscow Burnt by Fire. The City in 1812, Sputnik + (2012) [Humanities]
  8. Alexander Petrov, Gravitation. From Crystal Spheres to Wormholes, Century -2 (2013) [Exact and Natural Sciences]
  9. Peter Obrastzov, Amazing Stories about Very Different Creatures. Secrets of those that Live in the Earth, Water, and Air, Lomonosov (2012) [Exact and Natural Sciences]
  10. Dmitry Zhukov, Halt, who is paving the way? Behavior of humans and Other Animals, Alpina Nonfiction (2013) [Exact and Natural Sciences, Winner]


  1. Henry Ehrlich, Gold, a Bullet, and a Saving Poison. 250 Years of Nanotechnology, Azbuka-Atticus (2012) [Exact and Natural Sciences]
  2. Vladimir Surdin, Exploration of Distant Planets, Fizmatlit (2011) [Exact and Natural Sciences, Winner]
  3. Vladimir Reshetnikov, Why is the Sky Dark? How is the Universe Organized?, Century 2 (2012) [Exact and Natural Sciences]
  4. Victor Zuev, Many Faces of a Virus. Secrets of Latent Infections, AST-Press (2012) [Exact and Natural Sciences]
  5. Leonid Mlechin, Lenin. Seduction of Russia, Peter (2012) [Humanities]
  6. Alexander Mescheryakov, The Emperor Meiji and his Japan, Natalis (2009) [Humanities, Winner]
  7. Boris Kovalev, The Everyday Life of Russian People during the Nazi Occupation, Molodaya Gvardia (2011) [Humanities]
  8. Sergei Ivanov, In Search of Constantinople. Guide to Byzantine Istanbul and Surrounding Areas, “Around the World (2011) [Humanities]


  1. Vladimir Tsymbal, Plants. The Parallel World [Natural Sciences]
  2. Luba Strelnikova, What everything is done from? Stories about the Substance [Natural Sciences]
  3. Anton Pervushin, 108 minutes that changed the World. The truth about Yuri Gagarin’s flight [Natural Sciences]
  4. Alexander Markov, The Evolution of Man, Astrel, Corpus (2011) [Natural Sciences, Winner]
  5. Sonin Konstantin, Lessons on Economics [Humanities]
  6. Vladimir Plungian, Why are Languages so different?, AST-Press (2011) [Humanities, Winner]
  7. Irina Lewontina, Russian with a Dictionary [Humanities]
  8. Jacob Gordin, Caucasian Atlantis. 300 years of war [Humanities]


  1. Simon Shnol, Heroes, Villains and Conformists of the Domestic Science [Natural Sciences]
  2. Vladimir Uspensky, Apology for Mathematics [Natural Sciences, Winner]
  3. Vladimir Surdin, Journeies to the Moon [Natural Sciences]
  4. Sergei Rubin, The Structure of the Universe [Natural Sciences]
  5. Alexander Markov, The Birth of complexity. Evolutionary Biology today: Unexpected Discoveries and new Questions [Natural Sciences]
  6. Alexander Prasolov, Japan: Faces of the Time [Humanities]
  7. Andrei Nemzer, Red Wheel by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The Trial Reading [Humanities]
  8. Sergei Ivanov, 1000 years of Insights [Humanities, Winner]
  9. Andrei Zaliznyak, The Notes on an amateur Llinguistics [Humanities]


  1. Leonid Ponomarev, Under the Symbol of the Quantum [Natural Sciences, Winner]
  2. Victor Dolnik, Disobedient Child of the Biosphere [Natural Sciences]
  3. Alexander Dmitriev, How to comprehend the complex Laws of Physics [Natural Sciences]
  4. Simon Gindikin, Stories about Physicists and Mathematicians [Natural Sciences]
  5. Alexander Yanov, Russia and Europe. 1462-1921 [Humanities]
  6. Andrei Ostalskogo, Oil: The Beast and Treasure [Humanities]
  7. Grigory Kozlov, An Attempt at Art [Humanities, Winner]
  8. Andrei Zubov, History of Russia in XX century [Humanities]