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The Strongman [Kindle Edition]

Angus Roxburgh
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Russia under Vladimir Putin has proved a prickly partner for the West, a far cry from the democratic ally many hoped for when the Soviet Union collapsed. Abroad, he has used Russia’s energy might as a foreign policy weapon, while at home he has cracked down on opponents, adamant that only he has the right vision for his country’s future.

Former BBC Moscow correspondent Angus Roxburgh charts the dramatic fight for Russia’s future under Vladimir Putin - how the former KGB man changed from reformer to autocrat, how he sought the West’s respect but earned its fear, how he cracked down on his rivals at home and burnished a flamboyant personality cult, one day saving snow leopards or horse-back riding bare-chested, the next tongue-lashing Western audiences. Drawing on dozens of exclusive interviews in Russia, where he worked for a time as a Kremlin insider advising Putin on press relations, as well as in the US and Europe, Roxburgh also argues that the West threw away chances to bring Russia in from the cold, by failing to understand its fears and aspirations following the collapse of communism.


Editorial Reviews

Review

*A solid foreign correspondent narrative of Putin’s behavior* - Bill Keller, The New York Times

*The considerable value of this book lies in his painstaking and empathetic effort to understand how Mr.. Putin came to power, why many Russians still support him today, and how the West's approach to Russia has helped to shape his rule.* – The Wall Street Journal

*A serious book that portrays a Russian administration at sea in a world most of its officials did not comprehend. Putin himself emerges as a more complex character than the epithet *strongman* would suggest…Every chapter of this book is worth reading.” – The Independent (UK)

“[A] lively and absorbing study of the Putin years.” - The Guardian (UK)

*As a former adviser to the Kremlin in 2006-09, working for the Brussels based consultancy GPlus, Roxburgh had an excellent vantage point, and here he offers a stellar cast of sources, drawn from those closest to Putin and Western leaders. Their accounts make this is a valuable book.* - European Voice

*Roxburgh is a talented journalist and writer...a useful history of the Putin era....with views from Russian politicians, and some of the key players from the world of international politics, it is a book firmly rooted in fact and analysis. This means that Roxburgh’s approach is refreshingly free from some of the usual polemic, and he is to be congratulated for giving credit where credit is due and for underlining Putin’s role in stabilising Russia after the free-fall of the Yeltsin years.* - Good Book Guide

About the Author

Angus Roxburgh is one of Britain’s most distinguished foreign correspondents. An author and renowned journalist, he was the Sunday Times Moscow Correspondent in the 1980s until he was expelled from the Soviet Union in a tit-for-tat espionage row. He returned in the 1990s and was the BBC’s Moscow correspondent during the Yeltsin years. Subsequently, he worked as an advisor and speechwriter for Putin’s communications team, a role which gave him unrivalled access to the Kremlin’s inner circle.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3302 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00F1ULOW2
  • Publisher: I.B.Tauris; 1 edition (December 15, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007N797R0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,885 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
(27)
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I must say that that this book was a well researched , balanced and ground breaking study of Putin as a Russian leader. It was very surprising to "digest" the information contained in this book especially as the author is a mainstream western journalist. Whilst there is criticism of Putin, the author instead of needlessly demonizing him like other western analysts and journalists, provides a lot of perspective in Putin's upbringing and KGB training as well as an explanation of Russia's experience in the 1990s to show that Russia was not going to become a democracy overnight. He provides criticism of western policies toward Russia and his style of doing so is shocking , well written, groundbreaking and candid. Thus phrases like "what the west missed in Yeltsin was a leader who was pliant" are a good way of phrasing an accurate view. He also provides interviews with key insiders that provide a lot of insight into events concerning Russia, NATO ,the west and the globe over the last 20 years. We hear from Dmitry Peskov how Khodorkovsky was plotting to take over the Kremlin by buying off the duma and we hear from Sergei Markov about the Kremlin's effort to fix the election in Ukraine in 2004 by stating a view that was absurd and conspiratorial in nature (the west was plotting to put an anti Russian candidate to rule Ukraine).Most importantly of all, we hear from Nicholas Burns , one of the architects of NATO expansion that NATO expansion was targeted at Russia. He basically says that he knew Russia would try to become strong and dominate Europe again and that they had to protect Eastern Europe.For me, this was a shocking revelation and it is astonsihing to see this view making it into a work by a mainstream western journalist.

That being said, the flaw of this book is that Mr.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A regime the West can't change March 31, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Britain's veteran Russia specialist, Angus Roxburgh, offers a mature, reasoned, and experienced Western view of Putin and Putinism. It serves as a necessary counterpoint to the incessant demonizing of both emanating from the United States. I seriously doubt if it could have been written or published now in the US. Russia-bashing is an old American tradition, predating even the Bolshevik revolution (see David Fogelsong's "The American Mission and the `Evil Empire': The Crusade for a `Free Russia' Since 1881.") And unfortunately, in the wake of the Crimean annexation, it is the negative that's escalating to ever more shrill (and impotent) heights. Roxburgh bids us to stand back and look at the world not just from Putin's view, but that of Russia itself. The West has obliviously (or, perhaps knowingly) plowed on ahead with a self-interested agenda to simultaneously remold and contain the "New" Russia, as if said adjective was merely a supporting prop.

Roxburgh is good at demonstrating the Western "forked tongue" over NATO expansion eastward, which is ultimately behind most of the post-Soviet angst. But he shies short from connecting the dots. The Latvian president's tear-jerking ode to her country's freedom from Russian domination at the Prague summit of 2002 (p. 97) left many Russian eyes dry, as they recalled the two Latvian SS divisions that served Nazi occupiers in the Third Reich's thrust toward Moscow. The Kremlin cries today of "Ukrainian fascists" who have taken over Kiev hearken to the same bloody memories, still willfully ignored by the West as it seemingly patronizes groups precisely for their anti-Moscow militance.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Fun Read with lots of insider info June 7, 2014
By The Kid
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is both a well written book and an enjoyable read. It doesn't take a stance heavily one way or the other which keeps the book from being to heavy handed. There are many times in which he gives the opinions and view points from people behind the scenes and this is what makes this a really good book. I really enjoyed reading this and felt I knew the Russians and Putin's stand on things better after reading it. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to better understand the Russian approach to foreign policy, Great Book!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting Book October 26, 2013
By R. Land
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this book very informative, giving a long range perspective on Russia and it President. The author is fair to both Putin and the West, and shows errors and miscalculations on both parts, and leaving the reader with the feeling that things could have been so much different ... and better. There was a window of opportunity to truly engage the former Soviet Union and improve relations, but a failure to understand the history of the Russian people and assuming that they would embrace democracy as anyone does in the West proved fatal. Rebuffed and somewhat dismissed, Putin turned to what he knew ... autocratic power ... turning what might have been a budding democracy into a sham democracy that hides a totalitarian regime. It is hard to review without going into details, so I will recommend this book to anyone interested in post-Soviet Russia and its 'strongman' President, Vladimir Putin.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Russia and Putin August 10, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent insight to the Russian administration, to their political and historical thinking, and a clear and detailed picture of Vladimir Vladimirovich. Not as detailed as other biographies but the purpose of the book is to place his politics into a context not to know every inch of him.

If you want to understand, what is actually happening today in Russian politics in the shadows of the Ukrainian crisis, this book is a must read. You will understand, why Putin is not backing out from the crisis, why the Russian people support this controversial quest, why the West doesn't really understand his moves. The author's view is very balanced, most of the hypotheses are on solid ground and also very useful how the motivations of Putin are shown - you can even predict some moves and steps if you read carefully. Not heavy, a fun to read, but worth to do it at least twice (or make a lot of notes) or you can get easily lost in the web of oligarchs, business ties and networks.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Retrospective View of Putin
Nice review of Putin but because the news changes so quickly it is a little dated.
Published 21 days ago by Carole S.
5.0 out of 5 stars No skewed view, just the facts
I e-rented this book from my university's library when I was doing an analysis on Putin's leadership characteristics. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, albeit short
An excellent, albeit short, book on Putin that discusses his early life, his KGB career, and his rise to power first in St. Petersburg and later in Moscow. Read more
Published 4 months ago by John M. Handley
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Well-written and fair in its approach.
Published 5 months ago by Philly
4.0 out of 5 stars Struggle against American hegemony in East Europe ('siloviki' vs....
While I was reading, news announced end of South Stream pipeline project, refusal of Mistral ship delivery, more NATO presence in Eastern Europe, more economic sanctions and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Regnal
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting review of Putin
Published 9 months ago by D. Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read about a shadowy but important figure
Roxburgh is a workmanlike writer, despite annoying use of British slang ("pipped at the post," is one example), and lays out excellent information and observations, even those from... Read more
Published 11 months ago by John M. Morris
4.0 out of 5 stars History repeats itself.
The book gives a crystal clear insight in Putin's persona. Much of what we now see happening in the Crimea, the Ukraine and elsewhere is rooted in events that took place several... Read more
Published 12 months ago by G.P. Schieferdecker
5.0 out of 5 stars Important book for understanding Putin's reign
Highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in why Putin is challenging the west today. A masterful piece of reporting as told by a former insider and a former journalist.
Published 12 months ago by Eli Lake
5.0 out of 5 stars Vladimir Putin
I enjoyed this book very much it gives a lot of insight to the man President Putin. I enjoy learning to better understand this man and what makes him tick and why he does the... Read more
Published 12 months ago by G. D. Walls
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