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Putinism: Russia and Its Future with the West Hardcover – June 30, 2015
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“An aptly timed and much needed look at the mercurial master of the Kremlin” ―Peter Baker, New York Times
“An erudite and unsettling but convincing argument that the new Russia is a dictatorship 'approved by the majority as long as the going is good,' and if Putin were to vanish today, his successor would make few changes.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Laqueur is grimly convincing in lowering expectations that Russia will become genuinely democratic any time soon. This thorough examination of all aspects of modern Russian society and culture makes an excellent addition to recent literature on Putin-era Russia.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Big-picture analysis is always good, and Walter Laqueur, dean of American Russia watchers, excels at it.” ―James S. Denton, World Affairs
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
By. Jordan Schulte
What is Putinism? Walter Laqueur, who has worked in the field of Soviet studies since 1954, has spent much of the last 15 years since Putin arrived on the scene trying to devise an accurate definition for the West and himself. After a 117 pages of squirming around the complicated nature of the ending of the Soviet Union and the rise of Vladimir Putin, we are given a clearly expressed dictionary.com like definition. “Putinism is state capitalism, a liberal economic policy, but also a great amount of state intervention – almost total interference when important issues are concerned.”
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the first president of the newly named Russian Federation was Boris Yeltsin. Elected by popular vote, Yeltsin preached the need for Russian to transition to a market capitalist driven economy instead of its past socialist economy. After nationwide privatization, Russia was left with a dramatic economic shift. Formerly all property and wealth was held in public hands, but now instead the majority of wealth and property was held by a small number of oligarchs. Yeltsin believed privatization would create new enterprises, but instead Russia was transformed into a plutocracy. In 1999, Yeltsin stepped down after nearly a decade of economic collapse, corruption, and inflation.
As the Yeltsin rule crept closer to its end, oligarchs who ruled the country were afraid that there state would slowly crumble into anarchy. A leading oligarch, Boris Berezovsky believe more so than his fellow oligarchs that this meant the state would either be captured once again by a strong central state apparatus or the military.Read more ›
Author Walter Laqueur demonstrates that Russians are highly intelligent and intensely intellectual. Their achievements in literature, science, and engineering have astonished the world. Being an immense country bordering on the most populated and commercially active countries of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, Russians understand their geographic destiny as a great power. According to Laqueur and others, the Russian psyche includes a “messianic mission” to enlighten the world in some undefined intellectual sense short of physical conquest.
The United States shares many of these characteristics, but Laqueur brings out the profound differences that make it so difficult for Americans and Russians to find common ground. The United States is a New World country taking its cue from the European Enlightenment of democracy and human rights. Russia is an ancient country, taking its cue from the authoritarian tradition it inherited from European Monarchs, Middle Eastern despots, and Asian Emperors.
Laqueur describes Russia’s national character as containing a heavy dose paranoia. Conspiracy theories of ethnic Russians being perpetually threatened by Jews, Western Europeans, Asian, and especially now by Americans (whom Russians see as employing democracy as a cover for global military conquests), is central to Russia’s psyche. Of course, some degree of paranoia is entirely justified, considering how often Russia HAS been victimized by aggressive neighbors who covet its territory.
But if Russia is paranoid, it seems not to be vindictive. Even while being invaded by Napoleon, Russians continued to cherish French culture.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
No particular thoughts; but a helpful book to better understand Putin ad Russia.Published 27 days ago by 1slasher
A very relevant and interesting topic. Full of valuable information. I found this to be a little dry but to be honest I find most books written in these types of topics very dry... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michelle Carrell
If you're looking for what makes Vladimir Putin tick, this book offers the most comprehensive study yet of all the big ideas that have influenced the growth and popularity of... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dominic Basulto
This is a great mess of a book that by no means should be anyone's first book on Russia. One should approach this book knowing something about Alexander Dugin, Ivan Ilyan and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by M. A Newman
Also a great "history book". He had great on-the-ground experience told in the way of a novel. A good read.Published 3 months ago by Del Chandler
The last half dozen leaders of the Soviet Union and Russia were all members of the Politburo - except Valdimir Putin. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Loyd Eskildson