WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE WINNER OF THE CORNELIUS RYAN AWARD FINALIST FOR THE LIONEL GELBER PRIZE FINANCIAL TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR “Fast-paced and excellently written…much needed, dispassionate and eminently readable.” —New York Times “Filled with sparkling prose and deep analysis.” –The Wall Street Journal The breakup of the Soviet Union was a time of optimism around the world, but Russia today is actively involved in subversive information warfare, manipulating the media to destabilize its enemies. How did a country that embraced freedom and market reform 25 years ago end up as an autocratic police state bent once again on confrontation with America? A winner of the Orwell Prize, The Invention of Russia reaches back to the darkest days of the cold war to tell the story of Russia's stealthy and largely unchronicled counter revolution. A highly regarded Moscow correspondent for the Economist, Arkady Ostrovsky comes to this story both as a participant and a foreign correspondent. His knowledge of many of the key players allows him to explain the phenomenon of Valdimir Putin - his rise and astonishing longevity, his use of hybrid warfare and the alarming crescendo of his military interventions. One of Putin's first acts was to reverse Gorbachev's decision to end media censorship and Ostrovsky argues that the Russian media has done more to shape the fate of the country than its politicians. Putin pioneered a new form of demagogic populism --oblivious to facts and aggressively nationalistic - that has now been embraced by Donald Trump.
WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE 2016 REVISED AND UPDATED EDITION How did a country that embraced freedom over twenty-five years ago end up as an autocratic police state bent once again on confrontation with the West? In this Orwell Prize-winning book, Arkady Ostrovsky reaches back to the darkest days of the Cold War to tell the story of Russia's stealthy and largely unchronicled post-Soviet transformation. Ostrovsky's knowledge of many of the key players allows him to explain the rise of Vladimir Putin and to reveal how he pioneered a new form of demagogic populism. In a new preface he examines Putin's influence on the US election and explores how his methods - weaponizing the media and serving up fake news - came to enter Western politics.
Originally published in Great Britain in 2015 by Atlantic Books.
In Children of Rus’, Faith Hillis recovers an all but forgotten chapter in the history of the tsarist empire and its southwestern borderlands. The right bank, or west side, of the Dnieper River—which today is located at the heart of the independent state of Ukraine—was one of the Russian empire’s last territorial acquisitions, annexed only in the late eighteenth century. Yet over the course of the long nineteenth century, this newly acquired region nearly a thousand miles from Moscow and St. Petersburg generated a powerful Russian nationalist movement. Claiming to restore the ancient customs of the East Slavs, the southwest’s Russian nationalists sought to empower the ordinary Orthodox residents of the borderlands and to diminish the influence of their non-Orthodox minorities. Right-bank Ukraine would seem unlikely terrain to nourish a Russian nationalist imagination. It was among the empire’s most diverse corners, with few of its residents speaking Russian as their native language or identifying with the culture of the Great Russian interior. Nevertheless, as Hillis shows, by the late nineteenth century, Russian nationalists had established a strong foothold in the southwest’s culture and educated society; in the first decade of the twentieth, they secured a leading role in local mass politics. By 1910, with help from sympathetic officials in St. Petersburg, right-bank activists expanded their sights beyond the borderlands, hoping to spread their nationalizing agenda across the empire. Exploring why and how the empire’s southwestern borderlands produced its most organized and politically successful Russian nationalist movement, Hillis puts forth a bold new interpretation of state-society relations under tsarism as she reconstructs the role that a peripheral region played in attempting to define the essential characteristics of the Russian people and their state.
Austin Voronkov is many things. He is an engineer, an inventor, an immigrant from Russia to Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1913, where he gets a job at a rifle factory. At the house where he rents a room, he falls in love with a woman named Julia, who becomes his wife and the mother of his three children. When Austin is wrongly accused of attending anarchist gatherings his limited grasp of English condemns him to his fate as a deportee, retreating with his new bride to his home in Russia, where he and his young family become embroiled in the Civil War and must flee once again, to Mexico. While Julia and the children are eventually able to return to the U.S., Austin becomes indefinitely stranded in Mexico City because of the black mark on his record. He keeps a daily correspondence with Julia, as they each exchange their hopes and fears for the future, and as they struggle to remain a family across a distance of two countries. Austin becomes convinced that his engineering designs will be awarded patents, thereby paving the way for the government to approve his return and award his long sought-after American citizenship. At the same time he becomes convinced that an FBI agent is monitoring his every move, with the intent of blocking any possible return to the United States. Austin and Julia's struggles build to crisis and heartrending resolution in this dazzling, sweeping debut. The novel is based in part on Vanessa Manko's family history and the life of a grandfather she never knew. Manko used this history as a jumping off point for the novel, which focuses on borders between the past and present, sanity and madness, while the very real U.S.-Mexico border looms. The novel also explores how loss reshapes and transforms lives. It is a deeply moving testament to the enduring power of family and the meaning of home.
This study explores the evolution of Lomonosov's imposing stature in Russian thought from the middle of the eighteenth century to the closing years of the Soviet period. It reveals much about the intersection in Russian culture of attitudes towards the meaning and significance of science, as well as about the rise of a Russian national identity, of which Lomonosov became an outstanding symbol. Idealized depictions of Lomonosov were employed by Russian scientists, historians, and poets, among others, in efforts to affirm to their countrymen and to the state the pragmatic advantages of science to a modernizing nation. In setting forth this assumption, Usitalo notes that no sharply drawn division can be upheld between the utilization of the myth of Lomonosov during the Soviet period of Russian history and that which characterized earlier views. The main elements that formed the mythology were laid down in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; Soviet scholars simply added more exaggerated layers to existing representations.
There is no competition since this is the first book in the English language on cosmonaut selection and training Offers a unique and original discussion on how Russia prepares its cosmonauts for spaceflight. Contains original interviews and photographs with first-hand information obtained by the authors on visits to Star City Provides an insight to the role of cosmonauts in the global space programme of the future. Reviews the training both of Russian cosmonauts in other countries and of foreign cosmonauts in Star City
For centuries, dictators ruled Russia. Tsars and Communist Party chiefs were in charge for so long some analysts claimed Russians had a cultural predisposition for authoritarian leaders. Yet, as a result of reforms initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev, new political institutions have emerged that now require election of political leaders and rule by constitutional procedures. Michael McFaul traces Russia's tumultuous political history from Gorbachev's rise to power in 1985 through the 1999 resignation of Boris Yeltsin in favor of Vladimir Putin. McFaul divides his account of the post-Soviet country into three periods: the Gorbachev era (1985-1991), the First Russian Republic (1991-1993), and the Second Russian Republic (1993-present). The first two were, he believes, failures—failed institutional emergence or failed transitions to democracy. By contrast, new democratic institutions did emerge in the third era, though not the institutions of a liberal democracy. McFaul contends that any explanation for Russia's successes in shifting to democracy must also account for its failures. The Russian/Soviet case, he says, reveals the importance of forging social pacts; the efforts of Russian elites to form alliances failed, leading to two violent confrontations and a protracted transition from communism to democracy. McFaul spent a great deal of time in Moscow in the 1990s and witnessed firsthand many of the events he describes. This experience, combined with frequent visits since and unparalleled access to senior Russian policymakers and politicians, has resulted in an astonishingly well-informed account. Russia's Unfinished Revolution is a comprehensive history of Russia during this crucial period.
A former KGB spy, Vladimir Putin is one of the world’s most enigmatic figures. This is his Russia. Internationally admired for her fearless reporting, award-winning journalist Anna Politkovskaya turns her steely gaze on President Putin and his early regime in this explosive book. From Putin’s tyrannical grip on ordinary citizens to rampant corruption in highest ranks of the government, as well as Mafia dealings, scandals in the provinces and the decline of the intelligentsia, Politkovskaya offers a scathing condemnation of the President and his rule, revealing a shocking state of affairs: soldiers dying from malnutrition, parents requiring to bribes to recover their dead sons' bodies and conscripts are being hired out as slaves. More relevant and important than ever in today’s political landscape, Putin's Russia is both a gripping portrayal of a country in crisis and the testament of an extraordinary reporter. ‘A searing portrait of a country in disarray and of the man at its helm, from the bravest of journalists’ New York Times ‘Anna Politkovskaya is a heroic journalist’ Guardian ‘We will continue to learn from her for years’ Salman Rushdie
Throughout the eighteenth century, the Russian elite assimilated the ideas, emotions, and practices of the aristocracy in Western countries to various degrees, while retaining a strong sense of their distinctive identity. In On the Periphery of Europe, 1762–1825, Andreas Schönle and Andrei Zorin examine the principal manifestations of Europeanization for Russian elites in their daily lives, through the import of material culture, the adoption of certain social practices, travel, reading patterns, and artistic consumption. The authors consider five major sites of Europeanization: court culture, religion, education, literature, and provincial life. The Europeanization of the Russian elite paradoxically strengthened its pride in its Russianness, precisely because it participated in networks of interaction and exchange with European elites and shared in their linguistic and cultural capital. In this way, Europeanization generated forms of sociability that helped the elite consolidate its corporate identity as distinct from court society and also from the people. The Europeanization of Russia was uniquely intense, complex, and pervasive, as it aimed not only to emulate forms of behavior, but to forge an elite that was intrinsically European, while remaining Russian. The second of a two-volume project (the first is a multi-authored collection of case studies), this insightful study will appeal to scholars and students of Russian and East European history and culture, as well as those interested in transnational processes.