The Strongman: Vladimir Putin and the Struggle for Russia

Angus Roxburgh. I.B. Taurus, $28 (288p) ISBN 9781780760162
Former BBC Moscow correspondent Roxburgh (Pravda: Inside the Soviet Press Machine) begins his analysis of Putin and Russia with a review of the country under former President Yeltsin, which had been "truly battered by the abrupt transition from communism," before providing a brief biography of Putin's early life, his time as a KGB agent (a childhood aspiration) and rise in politics, aided by his patrons, the Family—which comprised Yeltsin's closest advisers. The author describes the past two decades of Russian history with an interesting, involved voice, discussing the Chechen war, attacks on journalists and politicians, and various aspects of Russian politics. Based on numerous interviews, Roxburgh delves into the relationships that Russia has built with other countries since the fall of the Soviet Union, including France, Britain, Italy, Germany, and, extensively, the United States. With canny understanding, Roxburgh illuminates diplomatic protocol, international politics, and the personalities involved, from Putin to Presidents Bush and Obama. Photos. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2012
Release date: 02/01/2012
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