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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.
Children Of Rus by Faith Hillis
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.
The New Tsar by 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.
The Invention Of Exile by Vanessa Manko
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.
The Red Web by Andrei Soldatov
With important new revelations into the Russian hacking of the 2016 Presidential campaigns "[Andrei Soldatov is] the single most prominent critic of Russia's surveillance apparatus." -Edward Snowden After the Moscow protests in 2011-2012, Vladimir Putin became terrified of the internet as a dangerous means for political mobilization and uncensored public debate. Only four years later, the Kremlin used that same platform to disrupt the 2016 presidential election in the United States. How did this transformation happen? The Red Web is a groundbreaking history of the Kremlin's massive online-surveillance state that exposes just how easily the internet can become the means for repression, control, and geopolitical warfare. In this bold, updated edition, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan offer a perspective from Moscow with new and previously unreported details of the 2016 hacking operation, telling the story of how Russia came to embrace the disruptive potential of the web and interfere with democracy around the world.
The Invention Of Mikhail Lomonosov by Steven Usitalo
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.
The New Russia by Mikhail Gorbachev
After years of rapprochement, the relationship between Russia and the West is more strained now than it has been in the past 25 years. Putin’s motives, his reasons for seeking confrontation with the West, remain for many a mystery. Not for Mikhail Gorbachev. In this new work, Russia’s elder statesman draws on his wealth of knowledge and experience to reveal the development of Putin’s regime and the intentions behind it. He argues that Putin has significantly diminished the achievements of perestroika and is part of an over-centralized system that presents a precarious future for Russia. Faced with this, Gorbachev advocates a radical reform of politics and a new fostering of pluralism and social democracy. Gorbachev’s insightful analysis moves beyond internal politics to address wider problems in the region, including the Ukraine conflict, as well as the global challenges of poverty and climate change. Above all else, he insists that solutions are to be found by returning to the atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation which was so instrumental in ending the Cold War. This book represents the summation of Gorbachev’s thinking on the course that Russia has taken since 1991 and stands as a testament to one of the greatest and most influential statesmen of the twentieth century.
The Unlikely Futurist by James Rann
In the early twentieth century, a group of writers banded together in Moscow to create purely original modes of expression. These avant-garde artists, known as the Futurists, distinguished themselves by mastering the art of the scandal and making shocking denunciations of beloved icons. With publications such as "A Slap in the Face of Public Taste," they suggested that Aleksandr Pushkin, the founder of Russian literature, be tossed off the side of their "steamship of modernity." Through systematic and detailed readings of Futurist texts, James Rann offers the first book-length study of the tensions between the outspoken literary group and the great national poet. He observes how those in the movement engaged with and invented a new Pushkin, who by turns became a founding father to rebel against, a source of inspiration to draw from, a prophet foreseeing the future, and a monument to revive. Rann's analysis contributes to the understanding of both the Futurists and Pushkin's complex legacy. The Unlikely Futurist will appeal broadly to scholars of Slavic studies, especially those interested in literature and modernism.