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Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia Hardcover – May 27, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0195340730 ISBN-10: 0195340736 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"One of America's most seasoned Kremlin-watchers, Goldman's snappily written Petrostate argues boldly that Russia has become an energy superpower with a strong political agenda."--The Economist

"This may be Goldman's best book, and that's saying a lot. Focusing on Putin's Russia with a scholar's commitment to deep and meaningful research and a reporter's eye for detail and color, Goldman has explained why and how Russia has again emerged as a global power. The answer is oil. At inflated prices, it leads directly to inflated national aspirations and further down the road to dangers of a totally unpredictable nature. Read and learn."--Marvin Kalb, former Moscow bureau chief for CBS News

"Few developments are likely to reshape the contours of international politics over the next decade more than Russia's ascent to energy superpower. And no one can tell the story of that ascent and the challenges it presents with better knowledge or flair for detail than Marshall Goldman."--Mark R. Beissinger, Professor of Politics, Princeton University

"In Petrostate, he treats petroleum as the key to Russian power, devoting the first half of his brief and very readable book to a fast-paced history of oil in Russia's economic growth from the mid-nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth."--The Nation

"A superb, readable description of Vladimir Putin's role in the emergence of Russia as a successful and potentially threatening petrostate. As a bonus Goldman also provides a concise survey of Russian political and economic history, with emphasis upon the growth of its oil and gas industries from the earliest days to the present."--James R. Millar, Professor of Economics and International Affairs, George Washington University

"'What is good for Gazprom is good for the world!' This emphatic claim by a prominent Russian energy official lies at the core of Marshall Goldman's timely and sobering new study of Moscow's petroleum industry. Putin is at the center of Goldman's readable study of the resurgence of Russian power based on petro-dollars. But the author combines sound history with economic analysis to come to the important conclusion that the new assertiveness of the Kremlin is here to stay."--Norman M. Naimark, Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor in East European Studies, Stanford University

About the Author

Marshall Goldman is Professor of Economics Emeritus at Wellesley College and Senior Scholar at the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard University. An internationally recognized authority on Russian history, politics, and economics, he has met with Mikhail Gorbachev and interviewed Vladimir Putin, and has advised former President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush on Russia. Goldman has written for publications like Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic Monthly; and he has appeared on numerous television programs, including The News Hour, Crossfire, Face the Nation, The Today Show, and Nightline.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195340736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195340730
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #672,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

If you are a researcher, you should certainly corroborate the facts in this book.
This is really the story that should have been explored, but unfortunately Petrostate doesn't cover this ground in any detail at all.
Allan M. Lees
Cheney has subsequently made similar efforts elsewhere against Russia, and failed as well.
Loyd E. Eskildson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 84 people found the following review helpful By interstone on June 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a student of Russian energy markets, I can confidently say that this book is rife with factual errors. Simple things like calling Iran one of the top gas exporters in the world (Iran doesn't export gas at all, it imports it, though Iran does have some of the largest gas reserves in the world); claiming that liquefied natural gas (LNG) often needs long-term contracts of "two years" to sell (usually needs contracts of 10-20 years); contending that OPEC regulated the oil market through production quotas from its founding in 1960 (the production quota system wasn't formally instituted until 1986-1987); etc. The conclusions that Goldman draws from his analysis are largely correct because he knows Russia well, but a lot of the (incorrect) detail he includes demonstrates an interested observer's - not an expert's - understanding of energy markets. If you are an interested observer, go ahead and buy this book. If you are a researcher, you should certainly corroborate the facts in this book.

Overall, the book is filled with detail, most of it correct but some not. I certainly learned something from reading it, things that had slipped under the radar, but I am not convinced that one should trust Marshall Goldman's grasp of energy markets.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on July 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Petrostate" provides good insights into Russia's comeback after its late 1990s nadir, as well as an understanding of its economic-political strategies.

Russia regained its place as the world's largest oil producer in 2007; energy generates about 30% of Russia's GDP and 60% of its exports. Russia is a major energy provider to Europe and the U.S. The U.S. buys $10 billion of Russian petroleum, LUKoil bought nearly 3,000 U.S. filling stations from Getty Oil and Mobil. Gazprom also provides LNG to the U.S., via a swap arrangement with Algeria. It also provides natural gas to 405 of Germany's homes and many of its factories, as well as much of the rest of Europe. Russia's Gazprom pipelines also play a major role in delivering gas from the "stans."

There is a fair amount of evidence that CIA chief Casey (Reagan administration) worked with Saudi Arabia (mad at Russia for invading Afghanistan) to break Russia's economy via increased S.A. production - however, the data do not provide a clean fit supporting this theory. Low energy prices in 1998 led to Russia defaulting on its debt, as well as many bank failures within the country. Prices quickly recovered in 1999, and along with a 40% increase in production between 2000-2004 transformed Russia into a major holder of foreign currencies. Russia has avoided the "Dutch Disease" because it didn't have much manufacturing, other than defense industries, to start with.

Mass privatization did not begin until mid-1992 under Yeltsin. Oligarch-controlled banks loaned the state money in exchange for stock certificates; most of the state's economic problems were due to companies and individuals failing to pay taxes - only about 3 in 70 did, and even those usually paid much less than owed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alex Zhilyakov on July 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Petrostate provides enormous amount of information about russian oil and gas industry and state policy.

The book connects the dots between people, corporations, policymakers and events which took place in the country; it explains dynamics which dominated Russia from the times oil was first discovered to present and into the future.

Half of the book is devoted to Vladimir Putin and his strategy to re-emerge Russia as an energy empire. Mr Goldman goes in-depth to explain how Putin transformed profit-oriented, privately-owned oil and gas corporations into "national champions" which promote state's interests above their own; how oil, gas, and pipelines are used to shape Russia's foreign policy and methods Russia uses to advance its interests in Europe and Asia.

If you were always curious about privatization in 1990's, Russian oligarhs, and Ukraine having gas supply cut off once in a while, you will read this book like a thriller. Mr Goldman understands Russia very well and shares a unique vision into recent events in the country and the big picture of Russia as energy superpower.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gerrit Ruitinga on July 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The book opens with the sentence "Russia once again an energy superpower and that is exactly what the book is about.

Russia was the most important non-American producer at the start of the 20th century, it was a very important producer during the Cold War years and it lost it completely in the break up of the Soviet Union.

After the desatrous privatisation under Jeltzin the industry was in tatters. Goldman describes clearly and with good analytical depth how under Putin the country slowly got its grip on its most important natural resource back. Needless to say that the methods used were heavy handed and certainly in a general sense morally and legally questionable. This is not new and the saga continues as we read in the news paper every day ( see e.g. the deleopments around the BP-TNK joint venture).

Goldman also analyzes the role the energy industry plays in the overall aim of Russia to be an important power once again. In particular Europeans should watch this with intensity as they are more and omore dependent on Russia for their energy, in particular gas.

In all, a good, readable and enjoyable analysis. The 5th star is missing for the technical flaws pointed out correctly bey another reviewer. Not hurting the conclusions but a bit sloppy indeed.
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