A year before the start of the novel, Slovenia was democratic; now it's run by a tyrant with purple eyes. He dumps Sila, Gasper, the physicist Nakagami and five other dissidents on a [prototype] ship and sends them off into deep Space.
The ship has strict rules: No one leaves, no talking for more than four hours a day, and no entertainment.
There's a lot of isolation, green walls, some poster-making, and a few deaths.
Then a wormhole.
Remember that episode of Star Trek where an alien on a space station is watching over/protecting a planet of other aliens? This is similar, only the alien on the space station is Rasputin and the aliens on the planet are distant-Russian.
Is Rasputin insane? Is he even there?
Danny Aiello is in it [briefly].
"Misunderstands Space travel pretty much all the way through..." -Timothy Olyphant