Over recent months with the political situation in the United States remaining in the headlines worldwide, with many references to Vladimir Putin and Russian politics being made by the now present of the United States, Donald Trump, this independent and unbiased look into what it is that makes up the foundations of Russian Politics is timely indeed.
Written by Mikhail Zygar the former editor of the only independent TV station in Russia, TV Rain (Dozhd) it is made up of many, many stories and characters which, in many cases simply beggar belief in what they have done, set out to do or have carried out, all in the name of politics and how this amazing collection of people have created and shaped the man the world knows as Vladimir Putin.
Divided into four specific sections, reminiscent of a Victorian style novel, the facts contained within each of the sections could be construed as fiction, should the results of the machinations of the men behind the scenes, much of it now recorded in history, were not seen and felt on a daily basis by the rest of the world.
Zygar starts out taking a look at Putin, the young man who found himself the leader of Russia at a time when great change was taking place, and the peoples of Russia were still struggling to deal with the legacy of Boris Yeltsin. Just reading the first chapter gives an understanding of the layers within the Russian political system, the belief in country and history, the underhand dealing and deception which has existed for centuries, all of which are an essential component of the Russian psyche and the culture.
The work is fascinating in that it details how the man who thought he really could make a difference has been reinvented as a man who has achieved almost ‘messiah’ standing, in that he can be seen to do no wrong, is the father figure all Russians need to have in their lives and on the world political stage, is the man to be most feared.
But is Putin really the man he is portrayed as, or is he simply a man whom has, over the fifteen years of his Presidency learned to live with the status quo, shaped into the character “all the king’s men’ want him to be, and is now resigned to the point where he believes a considerable amount of the rhetoric that surrounds him.
The book reads like fiction of the deepest and most mysterious kind, but is not, and therefore, is as fascinating as it is real, as it details the complexities and intrigue of Russian politics, the challenges of doing business in Russia and the people who really do hold the power, for at least today. Tomorrow, who knows?
Brilliant, frightening, fascinating and complex by turn, anyone who has an interest in politics should add this radically different narrative of life inside the Russian political ‘Court’ to their reading list.
|Distributor||New South Books|