Valshebnik Publishing

Started in 2020 as the publishing arm of Valshebnik Consulting.

Two books have been published so far:


‘People Matters, People Matter: Personal experience, observations & tools for the Management Talent and Change’

by Gary.R.Hays (2020)

is a collection of the HR blogs appearing on this website, collected in this book to celebrate the company’s 10 year anniversary.


Copies are still available (€20 plus postage & packing) from Valshebnik Publishing.

Please contact us for more information (by using the contact form below on this page or in the menu on the right)



‘I am not a Magician: Living and working in Vladimir Putin’s Russia’

by Gary.R.Hays (2021, 2022) 

Living ten minutes from Red Square and the Kremlin and working for a Russian company, life is anything but dull. Vladimir Putin returns to reclaim the Presidency; the White Ribbon protestors fight against his comeback, election fraud and the riot police; our oligarchs try and keep their oil company out of state control; Mikhail the driver tries to keep his job but do as little work as possible; Olya and Angela want stability and to survive; Denis is trying to get his career back on track; whilst the beautiful Ira just wants to escape Russia to her dream of Scotland. Russia is a country where something unexpected happens every day. And somehow I fall under its spell.

Set in 2011-2014, if you want to understand what has happened since in the Crimea and Ukraine, this is the place to start.



Copies can be ordered directly from Valshebnik Publishing  (€22.50 plus postage & packing)

Please contact us for more information (by using the contact form below on this page or in the menu on the right).


I am not a Magician – Reviews

In 140 short stories, Gary Hays paints a lively picture of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Based on his own observations and experiences, he creates a wonderful tale that takes the reader from the hectic life of the Moscow marshrutka driver to the elegant diplomatic residences near the Red Square. A journey through places and times that leaves a lasting impression on anybody interested in a country so rich in history and culture.

Ron Keller, Netherlands Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2009-2013) 

Gary Hays turns out to be just as creative on paper as on the football pitch. His book ‘I am not a Magician’ is the best eyewitness account of how a dictatorship has developed into an oligarchy through the years, written amiably, laconically and affectionately, and especially filled with beautiful details and some hilarious scenes. If you are looking for a book on present-day Russia that is both insightful and humorous, this is it.

Jan Donkers, Dutch journalist, producer and presenter of music radio programmes, the father of Dutch pop journalism, visiting professor of Dutch literature and writer of numerous collections of essays, travel stories and novels.

A book worthwhile reading ….as Gary Hays falls under Russia’s spell, where something unexpected happens every day

Professor Fons Trompenaars, cultural guru, thought leader (inducted into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame), top management consultant and best selling author (for example ‘Riding the Waves of Culture, Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business’) 

A wonderfully insightful book. A must read for anyone who wants to understand Russia and Russians and get beyond the stereotypes. Gary Hays brings the multitudinous facets of the Russian soul to life in his self aware and inquisitive analysis of his time in Russia. An experience you feel you are sharing in real time as you go on a journey of discovery with him. Still absolutely relevant today and very readable.
Best book on Russia I’ve read since Hedrick Smith’s The Russians

Peter Howes OBE FCA, expert on Russia, the former Soviet Union and Central Asia 

Gary Hays has written a sympathetic and highly readable account of his 2 years living and working in Moscow and his immersion into Russian life, people and history. Gary is an insightful storyteller with a keen eye for detail. The book gives a detailed snapshot of living in Russia a stone’s throw from The Kremlin in the middle of Putin’s Presidency.

Dr Colin Schaverien, Russophile

Ever wondered how it is to live and work in Putin’s Russia? Gary Hays takes you on a fascinating journey as he discovers Russia, its people, culture and history. His vivid language instantly transports the reader into Russia with all its complexities, peculiarities, beauty, contradictions and traditions. For me, Gary’s candid story fits perfectly with the poem ‘The mind cannot understand Russia’ written by the Russian poet and diplomat Fyodor Tyutchev in1866 (translation by Anatoly Liberman):  

You will not grasp her with your mind

Or cover with a common label,

For Russia is one of a kind –

Believe in her, if you are able…

Kristine Racina, Director The Expatriate Archive Centre, which collects and preserves the life stories and source material of expatriates worldwide for academic research.

Having spent time in Moscow, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was left with a desire to explore Russia and it’s eccentricities further. 

Mandy Reid, International teacher in Russia & Kazakhstan 

Thank you for loving my country and writing about it so that other people can understand it too.

Irina Romanenko