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Putin's Wars: The Rise of Russia's New Imperialism Paperback – February 27, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-1442231375 ISBN-10: 1442231378

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Van Herpen asserts in a timely new book, Putin’s Wars, that the Russian leader deliberately launched two wars after coming to power in 1999, first in Chechnya and then in Georgia, and that his relative success in both led directly to his current drive to dismember Ukraine. ... Drawing on a wide variety of Russian sources, Van Herpen documents how Russia’s FSB intelligence agency, under Putin’s direction, staged a series of explosions directed against civilian targets in Moscow and other cities. He notes that no Chechen has ever been put on trial for the bombings of apartment buildings, and the parliamentary commission set up to investigate the attacks had to stop its work because of a lack of cooperation from the Russian government. (McClatchy News Bureau)

Van Herpen’s work is incisive: He persuasively argues that the Russian Federation is both a post-imperial state and a pre-imperial state that seeks to expand its control over much of the former Soviet empire. Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s decision in late November 2013 not to sign an association accord with the European Union may soon test that thesis—if Russia and the EU continue to battle it out for predominant political-economic influence over the country, unable to reach a compromise. (Hall Gardner, author of NATO Expansion and US Strategy in Asia)

About the Author

Marcel H. Van Herpen is director of the Cicero Foundation, a think tank based in Maastricht and Paris. He specializes in defense and security developments in Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union. His books include Putinism: The Slow Rise of a Radical Right Regime in Russia.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (February 27, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442231378
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442231375
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
This book is well written and carefully researched.
Alan Holiman
It is amazing that a book published in February could so accurately predict the way the war in Ukraine has unfolded in the half year since.
Graham H. Seibert
Not Russia came to the U.S., but the U.S. and NATO came to Russia' s border, openly pushing both Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO.
Ivan Zapryanov

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Russia has been an expansionist empire for the past 500 years. When it fell apart, during the Bolshevik revolution and after the fall of communism, instinct drives them to put it back together. The desires of the subject peoples - Poles, Balts, Georgians and Ukrainains - are never taken into consideration. The rest of the world often acknowledges Russia's "sphere of interest" and does not probe deeply about human rights.

Russia tried democracy in the decade starting 1991. It didn't work. The elections were far from fair, and the people are not democratic in nature. Nobody was excited about the government. Vladimir Putin, who took over in 1999, had the insight that what the country really wants is a tsar.

Putin invented "sovereign democracy," the system with enough trappings of democracy to satisfy an uncritical West while allowing himself unrestricted control. Custine wrote 175 years ago that the Russian tsar had more power than any single person in the world, and that the Russian mentality was okay with that. Putin has re-created the czarist system, and his approval rates are hovering in the 80 percent range.

The the book details the elaborate planning that goes into supposedly unplanned events such as the war in Georgia and the "rebellion" in southeast Ukraine. Elements include the use of irregular forces such as Cossacks, Chechnyans, and local thugs, and the massive use of propaganda. Russia's ability to sway the libertarian right and the nationalist movements in Western Europe has been awesome. The book describes how and why it is done.

It is amazing that a book published in February could so accurately predict the way the war in Ukraine has unfolded in the half year since.
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A.S. Swanski on March 30, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book came out two days before Russian troops invaded Crimea which ultimately led to the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula. Marcel H. Van Herpen pretty much predicted the happenings in his excellent book Putin's Wars: The Rise of Russia's New Imperialism. And if Van Herpen is correct, Crimea is not the last piece of land that Putin will add to his beloved Fatherland.

Many Russians see books that criticize Putin as western propaganda full of lies and disinformation. But this time, they can't say this because Van Herpen's sources are almost exclusively Russian and many are actually official government documents or written by Putin or his assistants. It's this what makes this book such a compelling read.

Van Herpen doesn't treat his subject like a journalist looking for a sensationalist story, but follows an analytical path and puts Russia's 21st Century activities (so far) in a historical context. If objective wasn't such an abused word, one could say that this is the most objective book about this topic so far, and the "objective" truth that emerges from it is downright scary. Its not only frightening to read how Russia became Putinland, it's equally scary when you realize that Western countries have allowed Russia to become an ultranationalist state with fascist elements in every corner of the Kremlin and the Duma. It's like the West never bothered to read the same official documents and reports that Van Herpen had access to.

This is an important book. Required reading for anyone interested in the biggest security threat in today's Europe.
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By BroBeer on October 25, 2014
Format: Paperback
Well, what was surprising, was that the author arbitrarily switches the sequence of events and is not above utter omission of relevant facts. Russian actions in the North Caucasus - NOT just Chechnya - in 1999 was clearly a response to not a small invasion of radical fighters, including those from the Arab world, into Daghestan. Similarly, even the later EU reports - after fact-finding and investigations took place - on the 2008 war did not lay the blame on Russia but tried to dance around Saakashvili's guilt. But I guess this means nothing.
As for Crimea - there was no war there and anybody vaguely familiar with the history of Crimea during 1992-2014 would know that the people there tried to have a referendum several times already but were each time suppressed by Kiev's administrative and military diktat. Their 2014 uprising was a legitimate response to an armed and violent coup in Kiev and resistance against an illegitimate group in power to secure their right and freedom's is in accordance with international practice.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Steele on May 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book needs to be read to fully to understand current events unfolding in Russia and the former Soviet Republics. This is well researched and came out just before the Crimea crisis. It predicted this event followed by the Ukraine crisis. The only review written so far is spot-on. This book should be at the top of the list of books on Putin. This book is a wake-up call!
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