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The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB Hardcover – September 14, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2010
“A relentless investigation that demonstrates how, with Putin’s rise, the KSB has taken its place ‘at the head table of power and prestige in Russia.’ ”

Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2010
“Few people are better placed than Mr. Soldatov and Ms. Borogan to write with authority on this subject. They run the website Agentura.Ru, a magpie's nest of news and analysis that presents a well-informed view of the inner workings of this secret state. Given the fates that have befallen other investigative journalists in Russia in recent years, some might fear for the authors' safety. But the publication of the "The New Nobility" in English is welcome; it should be essential reading for those who hold naïve hopes about Russia's development or who pooh-pooh the fears of its neighbors.” 

Foreign Policy, September 17, 2010
“The authors bring hard-digging, fact-based journalism to an aspect of Russia that has been hard to document and understand… Sober and probing.”

Basil and Spice, September 14, 2010
“A non-fiction book that reads like a spy thriller… The New Nobility is an important book, well written and meticulously researched by two journalists with the right sources, both inside and outside the FSB.”

Sunday Times (UK), September 19, 2010
“This compelling book is a distillation of [Soldavov & Borogan’s] work on the website. Drawing on considerable research it describes how the KGB, for decades at the violent vanguard of the communist dictatorship, switched effortlessly after the fall of the Soviet Union, preserving the stability of the new ultra-capitalist Kremlin; same people, many of the same methods, different name and economic system.”

The Guardian, September 25, 2010
“Because every page in this book gainsays his claim in the most forceful fashion imaginable that democracy is now decisive in defining Russia's political direction…. It is the product of two profoundly courageous Russian journalists who are meticulous about their reporting…. It is because they are Russian and superbly professional journalists that this book offers dozens of insights that no outsider could provide.”

The Guardian, October 3, 2010
“If all of this still feels too frivolous, turn to The New Nobility, an inside look at the KGB by a pair of fearless Russian journalists, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan. Charting the organisation's heyday, decline and creeping return to power, it promises to raise the hairs on your neck as effectively as Ackroyd's ghost stories.”

Financial Times, October 18, 2010
“A detailed dissection of the FSB, the heir to the KGB, which still casts a long shadow over Moscow. For more than a decade the two authors have run the website Agentura.ru, a gold mine of information on the inner workings of the security services, particularly the FSB. In a country where many journalists have been attacked or killed for speaking truth to power, their reporting has been brave.”

Mother Jones, November 2010
“The New Nobility is an unnerving look at the real power behind the new Russia.”

Russian Life
“For those looking for yet more evidence that the security services are pulling the strings in modern Russia, look no further than this extraordinary new book from the fearless journalists at agentura.ru. Soldatov (who has written for Russian Life) and Borogan have compiled a history of FSB activities and operations over the past decade that paint a very vivid picture of a security service that has become Russia’s new ruling class… With amazing accounts of some of the most significant security crises and counter-terrorist activities of the past decade, Soldatov and Borogan offer insights into FSB operations that have not been offered anywhere to date… A must read.”

About the Author

Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan are co-founders of the Agentura.Ru website. Soldatov worked for Novaya Gazeta from 2006 to 2008. Agentura.Ru and its reporting have been featured in the New York Times, the Moscow Times, the Washington Post, Online Journalism Review, Le Monde, The Christian Science Monitor, CNN, Federation of American Scientists, and the BBC. The New York Times called it “A Web Site That Came in From the Cold to Unveil Russian Secrets.”
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586488023
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586488024
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #943,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By H. Williams on October 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The main goal of the authors is to show that the FSB like the KGB and the tsarist's secret police before it have become the means by which the Kremlin controls Russia and in this the authors are successfull.They demonstrate how Putin has consolidated the FSB from the chaotic 90s and has used it to solidify his control over the country.They show how the FSB has played a role in the political,economic and administrative life of Russia.They give details about its involvement in the North Caucausus,the spy cases over the last decade and the hostage crises in the last couple of years.However,the authors have omitted a number of details that would have been interesting and it would seem that a number of their points are erroneous.
For example,there is no mention about the FSB's role in the Yukos affair and this is important as this was a turning point for Russia where Putin and his hardline allies in the siloviki were victorious in their control of Russia over the oligarchs.There is no mention of the FSB and Organized crime or of any possible role it played in information sharing with the CIA in the invasion of Afghanistan.No mention either of the role it played in the assasinations of Chechen warlords like Khattab,Arbi Barayev,Maskhadov and Basayev.The authors also make the claim that Nord Ost was a disaster but given the fact that the rebels attempted to attain some kind of victory,that many lives were saved and that by the authors own admission ,the operation was thought to be impossible ,I dont see how this could be so.
In conclusion,if you want to get a glimpse to how Russian politics works or of the role the FSB plays in modern Russia this book will be a great guide.If you were expecting details like how Christopher ANdrew has detailed the KGB and MI5,you will be sorely disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want an inside look at what is happening in Russia today, this is the book to buy. It gives facts, details, and analysis of why Russia is becoming a lost opportunity for freedom-loving people.

Liberty and domestic spying are polar opposites, as Americans are slowly discovering. Russians were promised by Western journalists and Russian liberals alike, far more than democratic elections, they were promised freedom. And for a few years, they got it, but as Putin's internal security services were strengthened, Russians have lost much of their freedom, particularly freedom of speech.

It is risky now to demonstrate against the Putin government or even complain about some their policies. It is extremely risky to criticize local Russian officials in any form of media. State secrets seem to exist everywhere now. This may explain why some online Russian websites refuse to accept comments from readers in the West. Some, such as Pravda Online, seem to have closed down their forum permanently, while others have forums but Western IP addresses cannot register to comment. The FSB is watching everything, just as in America, the NSA is watching and listening and collecting data on everyone. And what good is all that information unless it is used?

What is striking are the parallels between Russian internal security services and American internal security services, virtual clones of each other, and perhaps designed by the same people? Alternative news media reported that Homeland Security hired at least one former East German Stazi official to design their structure and programs.

Could it be possible that in the near future, the vast databases of U.S. citizens will merge with those of Germany, France, Canada, Australia, U.K.
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Format: Hardcover
For those looking for yet more evidence that the security services are pulling the strings in modern Russia, look no further than this extraordinary new book from the fearless journalists at agentura.ru. Soldatov (who has written for Russian Life) and Borogan have compiled a history of FSB activities and operations over the past decade that paint a very vivid picture of a security service that has become Russia's new ruling class.

Today's FSB, the authors show, is careerist, clannish, suspicious and inward looking. Oh, and ruthless and absolutely unaccountable to any democratically governed body.

With amazing accounts of some of the most significant security crises and counter-terrorist activities of the past decade, Soldatov and Borogan offer insights into FSB operations that have not been offered anywhere to date, outside perhaps the FSB and the CIA. Certainly the Russian press has offered little in this realm since Putin, Edinaya Rossiya and the FSB stepped in to fill the power vacuum left behind when the Communist Party was sucked out into space. A must read.

As reviewed in Russian Life
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not a slightest doubt: it is an extremely scary book, on the level with any well-detailed research about Inquisition, Gestapo, GULAG or StaSi. Paging through the horrors of the past, we always enjoy a happy soothing thought: thanks God for our lives in the present-day lawful democracies with no omnipotent henchmen around us! This book, however, denies us this enjoyment - its pages prove that even now, in our most democratic XXI century, we have no grounds for any soothing thoughts. In 2014, the Russian FSB is much more far from accountability than its KGB predecessor ever was. In fact, it owns the country entirely, ruling the Russian economy, industry, trade, banking, foreign relations, education - well, everything. The book shows, that, unlike KGB (which was driven by the Communist ideology, being accountable before the Party Politburo), the FSB is driven only by its own lust for unaccountable power and money, thus corrupting the nation with a speed of uncontrolled cancer, which devours greedily all the healthy cells of a human body.
To judge from the book, actions of FSB (that is, of Service for Federal SECURITY) may be called "professional" only in the same sense as cancerous activities are professional in safeguarding the tumor's further growth. The activists of this cancerous progress were rewarded with a proud name of "The New Nobility". Just how could it happen in the democratic country, protected by the diligent copy of the U.S. Constitution, first, and by the common knowledge about millions of the old State Security's innocent victims, second?!
Some two hundred years earlier Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in his introduction to "Democracy in America" that "In the eleventh century, nobility is beyond all price; in the thirteenth, it might be purchased".
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