Author: Peter Conradi
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
When the Soviet Union collapsed on 26 December 1991, it looked like the start of a remarkable new era of peace and co-operation. Some even dared to declare the end of history, assuming all countries would converge on enlightenment values and liberal democracy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Russia emerged from the 1990s battered and humiliated; the parallels with Weimar Germany are striking. Goaded on by a triumphalist West, a new Russia has emerged, with a large arsenal of upgraded weapons, conventional and nuclear, determined to reassert its national interests in the ‘near abroad’ – Chechnya, Georgia and Ukraine – as well as fighting a proxy war in the Middle East. Meanwhile, NATO is executing large-scale manoeuvres and stockpiling weaponry close to Russia’s border. In this provocative new work, Peter Conradi argues that we have consistently failed to understand Russia and its motives, and in doing so, have made a powerful enemy.
Author: Peter Conradi
Publisher: ONEWorld Publications
The Cold War ended twenty-five years ago, but tensions between Russia and the West are as bad as ever. What happened?
Author: Svetlana Alexievich
Publisher: Random House
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The magnum opus and latest work from Svetlana Alexievich, the 2015 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature—a symphonic oral history about the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new Russia NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY • LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE WINNER NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Wall Street Journal • NPR • Financial Times • Kirkus Reviews When the Swedish Academy awarded Svetlana Alexievich the Nobel Prize, it cited her for inventing “a new kind of literary genre,” describing her work as “a history of emotions—a history of the soul.” Alexievich’s distinctive documentary style, combining extended individual monologues with a collage of voices, records the stories of ordinary women and men who are rarely given the opportunity to speak, whose experiences are often lost in the official histories of the nation. In Secondhand Time, Alexievich chronicles the demise of communism. Everyday Russian citizens recount the past thirty years, showing us what life was like during the fall of the Soviet Union and what it’s like to live in the new Russia left in its wake. Through interviews spanning 1991 to 2012, Alexievich takes us behind the propaganda and contrived media accounts, giving us a panoramic portrait of contemporary Russia and Russians who still carry memories of oppression, terror, famine, massacres—but also of pride in their country, hope for the future, and a belief that everyone was working and fighting together to bring about a utopia. Here is an account of life in the aftermath of an idea so powerful it once dominated a third of the world. A magnificent tapestry of the sorrows and triumphs of the human spirit woven by a master, Secondhand Time tells the stories that together make up the true history of a nation. “Through the voices of those who confided in her,” The Nation writes, “Alexievich tells us about human nature, about our dreams, our choices, about good and evil—in a word, about ourselves.” Praise for Svetlana Alexievich and Secondhand Time “The nonfiction volume that has done the most to deepen the emotional understanding of Russia during and after the collapse of the Soviet Union of late is Svetlana Alexievich’s oral history Secondhand Time.”—David Remnick, The New Yorker “Like the greatest works of fiction, Secondhand Time is a comprehensive and unflinching exploration of the human condition. . . . In its scope and wisdom, Secondhand Time is comparable to War and Peace.”—The Wall Street Journal “Already hailed as a masterpiece across Europe, Secondhand Time is an intimate portrait of a country yearning for meaning after the sudden lurch from Communism to capitalism in the 1990s plunged it into existential crisis.”—The New York Times “This is the kind of history, otherwise almost unacknowledged by today’s dictatorships, that matters.”—The Christian Science Monitor “In this spellbinding book, Svetlana Alexievich orchestrates a rich symphony of Russian voices telling their stories of love and death, joy and sorrow, as they try to make sense of the twentieth century.”—J. M. Coetzee
Author: William Craft Brumfield
Publisher: Duke University Press
Twentieth Anniversary Edition, with a new preface by the author, available in June 2015 The twentieth century in Russia has been a cataclysm of rare proportions, as war, revolution, famine, and massive political terror tested the limits of human endurance. The results of this assault on Russian culture are particularly evident in ruined architectural monuments, some of which are little known even within Russia itself. Over the past four decades William Craft Brumfield, noted historian and photographer of Russian architecture, has traveled throughout Russia and photographed many of these neglected, lost buildings, poignant and haunting in their ruin. Lost Russia provides a unique view of Brumfield's acclaimed work, which illuminates Russian culture as reflected in these remnants of its distinctive architectural traditions. Capturing the quiet, ineffable beauty that graces these buildings, these photographs are accompanied by a text that provides not only a brief historical background for Russian architecture, but also Brumfield's personal impressions, thoughts, and insights on the structures he views. Churches and monasteries from the fifteenth to the twentieth century as well as abandoned, ruined manor houses are shown--ravaged by time, willful neglect, and cultural vandalism. Brumfield also illustrates examples of recent local initiatives to preserve cultural landmarks from steady decline and destruction. Concluding with photographs of the remarkable log architecture found in Russia's far north, Lost Russia is a book for all those concerned with the nation's cultural legacy, history, and architecture, and with historic and cultural preservation generally. It will also interest those who appreciate the fine art of exceptional photography.
Author: Shaun Walker
Publisher: Oxford University Press
In The Long Hangover, Shaun Walker provides a deeply reported, bottom-up explanation of Russia's resurgence under Putin. By cleverly exploiting the memory of the Soviet victory over fascism in World War II, Putin's regime has made ordinary Russians feel that their country is great again. Shaun Walker provides new insight into contemporary Russia and its search for a new identity, telling the story through the country's troubled relationship with its Soviet past. Walker not only explains Vladimir Putin's goals and the government's official manipulations of history, but also focuses on ordinary Russians and their motivations. He charts how Putin raised victory in World War II to the status of a national founding myth in the search for a unifying force to heal a divided country, and shows how dangerous the ramifications of this have been. The book explores why Russia, unlike Germany, has failed to come to terms with the darkest pages of its past: Stalin's purges, the Gulag, and the war deportations. The narrative roams from the corridors of the Kremlin to the wilds of the Gulags and the trenches of East Ukraine. It puts the annexation of Crimea and the newly assertive Russia in the context of the delayed fallout of the Soviet collapse. The Long Hangover is a book about a lost generation: the millions of Russians who lost their country and the subsequent attempts to restore to them a sense of purpose. Packed with analysis but told mainly through vibrant reportage, it is a thoughtful exploration of the legacy of the Soviet collapse and how it has affected life in Russia and Putin's policies.
Author: William Taubman
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
The definitive biography of the transformational world leader by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Khrushchev. When Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985, the USSR was one of the world’s two superpowers. By 1989, his liberal policies of perestroika and glasnost had permanently transformed Soviet Communism, and had made enemies of radicals on the right and left. By 1990 he, more than anyone else, had ended the Cold War, and in 1991, after barely escaping from a coup attempt, he unintentionally presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union he had tried to save. In the first comprehensive biography of the final Soviet leader, William Taubman shows how a peasant boy became the Soviet system’s gravedigger, how he clambered to the top of a system designed to keep people like him down, how he found common ground with America’s arch-conservative president Ronald Reagan, and how he permitted the USSR and its East European empire to break apart without using force to preserve them. Throughout, Taubman portrays the many sides of Gorbachev’s unique character that, by Gorbachev’s own admission, make him “difficult to understand.” Was he in fact a truly great leader, or was he brought low in the end by his own shortcomings, as well as by the unyielding forces he faced? Drawing on interviews with Gorbachev himself, transcripts and documents from the Russian archives, and interviews with Kremlin aides and adversaries, as well as foreign leaders, Taubman’s intensely personal portrait extends to Gorbachev’s remarkable marriage to a woman he deeply loved, and to the family that they raised together. Nuanced and poignant, yet unsparing and honest, this sweeping account has all the amplitude of a great Russian novel.
Author: Douglas Smith
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Epic in scope, precise in detail, and heart-breaking in its human drama, Former People is the first book to recount the history of the aristocracy caught up in the maelstrom of the Bolshevik Revolution and the creation of Stalin's Russia. Filled with chilling tales of looted palaces and burning estates, of desperate flights in the night from marauding peasants and Red Army soldiers, of imprisonment, exile, and execution, it is the story of how a centuries'-old elite, famous for its glittering wealth, its service to the Tsar and Empire, and its promotion of the arts and culture, was dispossessed and destroyed along with the rest of old Russia. Yet Former People is also a story of survival and accommodation, of how many of the tsarist ruling class—so-called "former people" and "class enemies"—overcame the psychological wounds inflicted by the loss of their world and decades of repression as they struggled to find a place for themselves and their families in the new, hostile order of the Soviet Union. Chronicling the fate of two great aristocratic families—the Sheremetevs and the Golitsyns—it reveals how even in the darkest depths of the terror, daily life went on. Told with sensitivity and nuance by acclaimed historian Douglas Smith, Former People is the dramatic portrait of two of Russia's most powerful aristocratic families, and a sweeping account of their homeland in violent transition.
Author: Robert Z. Aliber
The International Money Game has been fully rewritten to take account of changes in the world economy. It provides a comprehensive overview of international financial developments, including both the structure of payments arrangements and the series of credit and asset bubbles as well as financial crises.
Author: Susan Richards
Publisher: Other Press, LLC
After the fall of communism, Russia was in a state of shock. The sudden and dramatic change left many people adrift and uncertain—but also full of a tentative but tenacious hope. Returning again and again to the provincial hinterlands of this rapidly evolving country from 1992 to 2008, Susan Richards struck up some extraordinary friendships with people in the middle of this historical drama. Anna, a questing journalist, struggles to express her passionate spirituality within the rules of the new society. Natasha, a restless spirit, has relocated from Siberia in a bid to escape the demands of her upper-class family and her own mysterious demons. Tatiana and Misha, whose business empire has blossomed from the ashes of the Soviet Union, seem, despite their luxury, uneasy in this new world. Richards watches them grow and change, their fortunes rise and fall, their hopes soar and crash. Through their stories and her own experiences, Susan Richards demonstrates how in Russia, the past and the present cannot be separated. She meets scientists convinced of the existence of UFOs and mind-control warfare. She visits a cult based on working the land and a tiny civilization founded on the practices of traditional Russian Orthodoxy. Gangsters, dreamers, artists, healers, all are wondering in their own ways, “Who are we now if we’re not communist? What does it mean to be Russian?” This remarkable history of contemporary Russia holds a mirror up to a forgotten people. Lost and Found in Russia is a magical and unforgettable portrait of a society in transition.
Author: Craig Unger
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “The story Unger weaves with those earlier accounts and his original reporting is fresh, illuminating and more alarming than the intelligence channel described in the Steele dossier.”—The Washington Post House of Trump, House of Putin offers the first comprehensive investigation into the decades-long relationship among Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and the Russian Mafia that ultimately helped win Trump the White House. It is a chilling story that begins in the 1970s, when Trump made his first splash in the booming, money-drenched world of New York real estate, and ends with Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States. That moment was the culmination of Vladimir Putin’s long mission to undermine Western democracy, a mission that he and his hand-selected group of oligarchs and Mafia kingpins had ensnared Trump in, starting more than twenty years ago with the massive bailout of a string of sensational Trump hotel and casino failures in Atlantic City. This book confirms the most incredible American paranoias about Russian malevolence. To most, it will be a hair-raising revelation that the Cold War did not end in 1991—that it merely evolved, with Trump’s apartments offering the perfect vehicle for billions of dollars to leave the collapsing Soviet Union. In House of Trump, House of Putin, Craig Unger methodically traces the deep-rooted alliance between the highest echelons of American political operatives and the biggest players in the frightening underworld of the Russian Mafia. He traces Donald Trump’s sordid ascent from foundering real estate tycoon to leader of the free world. He traces Russia’s phoenixlike rise from the ashes of the post–Cold War Soviet Union as well as its ceaseless covert efforts to retaliate against the West and reclaim its status as a global superpower. Without Trump, Russia would have lacked a key component in its attempts to return to imperial greatness. Without Russia, Trump would not be president. This essential book is crucial to understanding the real powers at play in the shadows of today’s world.
Author: Stephen F. Cohen
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Reveals what really happened in Russia following the breakup of the Soviet Union, and the complicity of U.S. policy in a great human tragedy. Reprint.
Author: Tony Wood
Publisher: Verso Books
How the West's obsession with Vladimir Putin prevents it from understanding Russia It is impossible to think of Russia today without thinking of Vladimir Putin. More than any other major national leader, he personifies his country in the eyes of the outside world, and dominates Western media coverage of it to an extraordinary extent. In Russia itself, he is likewise the centre of attention for detractors and supporters alike. But as Tony Wood argues, this overwhelming focus on the president and his personality means that we understand Russia less than we ever did before. Too much attention is paid to the man, and not enough to the country outside the Kremlin's walls. In this timely and provocative analysis, Wood looks beyond Putin to explore the profound changes Russia has undergone since 1991. In the process, he challenges many of the common assumptions made about contemporary Russia. Though commonly viewed as an ominous return to Soviet authoritarianism, Putin's rule should instead be seen as a direct continuation of Yeltsin's in the 1990s. And though many of Russia's problems today are blamed on legacies of the Soviet past, Wood argues that the core features of Putinism--a predatory, authoritarian elite presiding over a vastly unequal society--are integral to the system set in place after the fall of Communism. What kind of country has emerged from Russia's post-Soviet transformations, and where might it go in future? Russia Without Putin culminates in an arresting analysis of the country's foreign policy--identifying the real power dynamics behind its escalating clashes with the West--and with reflections on the paths Russia might take in the 21st century.
Author: James M. Goldgeier, Michael McFaul
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
Russia, once seen as America's greatest adversary, is now viewed by the United States as a potential partner. This book traces the evolution of American foreign policy toward the Soviet Union, and later Russia, during the tumultuous and uncertain period following the end of the cold war. It examines how American policymakers—particularly in the executive branch—coped with the opportunities and challenges presented by the new Russia. Drawing on extensive interviews with senior U.S. and Russian officials, the authors explain George H. W. Bush's response to the dramatic coup of August 1991 and the Soviet breakup several months later, examine Bill Clinton's efforts to assist Russia's transformation and integration, and analyze George W. Bush's policy toward Russia as September 11 and the war in Iraq transformed international politics. Throughout, the book focuses on the benefits and perils of America's efforts to promote democracy and markets in Russia as well as reorient Russia from security threat to security ally. Understanding how three U.S. administrations dealt with these critical policy questions is vital in assessing not only America's Russia policy, but also efforts that might help to transform and integrate other former adversaries in the future.
Author: Steven Lee Myers
In this gripping narrative of Putin's rise to power, Steven Lee Myers recounts Putin's origins--from his childhood of abject poverty in Leningrad to his ascent through the ranks of the KGB, and his eventual consolidation of rule in the Kremlin. As the world struggles to confront a bolder Russia, the importance of understanding the formidable and ambitious Vladimir Putin has never been greater. On the one hand, Putin's many domestic reforms--from tax cuts to an expansion of property rights--have helped reshape the potential of millions of Russians whose only experience of democracy had been crime, poverty, and instability after the fall of the Soviet Union. On the other, Putin has ushered in a new authoritarianism--unyielding in its brutal repression of dissent and newly assertive politically and militarily in regions like Crimea and the Middle East. The New Tsar is a staggering achievement, a deeply researched and essential biography of one of the most important and destabilizing world leaders in recent history, a man whose merciless rule has become inextricably bound to Russia's forseeable future.
Author: Vasiliĭ Peskov
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Describes the Lykovs, a family of fundamentalists, who have survived in Siberia for more than fifty years