World War Z

World War Z

by

Max Brooks

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Father Sergei Ryzhkov Character Analysis

Ryzhkov used to be a chaplain in the Russian Army and volunteered to take on the responsibility of shooting soldiers who got bitten by zombies since this was an unpleasant task that no one else wanted to do. He tells the narrator that this was the beginning of Russia’s religious conversion—many other religious heads took on the same task, and Russians were pulled back to the comforts of God and the Church. After the war, the country became “The Holy Russian Empire.” Ryzhkov seems proud of this, but the narrator notes that he now works in a poor shantytown. The narrator asks him if it is true that the Russian President only used the religious conversion as an excuse to take on more power and use priests to kill his opponents by wrongly claiming they were infected. Ryzhkov evades these questions, suggesting that he is either a liar or is unwilling to face the truth. Ryzhkov’s narrative demonstrates the cruel and canny way in which Russia’s president grabbed power during the zombie crisis, portraying him as a foil to the American president.
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Father Sergei Ryzhkov Character Timeline in World War Z

The timeline below shows where the character Father Sergei Ryzhkov appears in World War Z. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7: Total War
The Cost of War Theme Icon
Siberia, The Holy Russian Empire. The narrator meets Father Sergei Ryzhkov, an old cleric, in a primitive shantytown. During the war, Ryzhkov served as chaplain at... (full context)
Humanity vs. Monstrosity Theme Icon
The Cost of War Theme Icon
Ryzhkov says that he was a religious man in a country that had forgotten religion, so... (full context)
Humanity vs. Monstrosity Theme Icon
The Cost of War Theme Icon
The narrator asks Ryzhkov if those ideas were “perverted for political reasons” since the president had declared himself head... (full context)
Chapter 8: Good-Byes
Humanity vs. Monstrosity Theme Icon
The Cost of War Theme Icon
...state.” She says that no one in Russia really believes in religion, except for Father Ryzhkov, who has been packed off into obscurity. She tells the narrator that he, too, is... (full context)