- Paperback: 326 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press; New edition edition (September 10, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300105916
- ISBN-13: 978-0300105919
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #558,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State New edition Edition
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Also Available by David Satter: Age of Delirium --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This is an excellent read in that it shows you what has become of a country that went Capitalist without a government to regulate it. If you ever hear any folks in the US pining for a country without regulation, tell them to move to Russia. They would then see how important our government is and the effect it has when the central government chooses to allow bandits and mafiosas to go wild.
while reading the various accounts in this book of thievery, you find it breathtaking the way some people--such as the directors of factories--who refused to pay their workers for the things they produced. It just stunned and shocked me that people could be so evil. This book is full of examples of people who were evil. Many of them were later killed for their behavior. Still, I now totally understand why so many people have been selling their very souls to get out of Russia.
This is an outstanding book and the only regret that could be made about it is the lack of a conclusion or resolution. The stories of fraud and abuse keep coming and there never is a payback...
The chapter on Ryazan is particularly good and enlightens the reader about how scary the Russian government really is.
Now in 2011, this book from 2003 is still entirely relevant because Russia is still controlled by the same crooks. None of the problems have been addressed, and many Westerners continue to abet this government.
Free copies of Darkness at Dawn should be given out to all these folks at the IMF, World Bank, EBRD, etc.
John Christmas, author of "Democracy Society"
Introduction: Miss Russia 1996 is killed being at wrong place, wrong time when Russian Mafia bump off her benefactor.
Chap 1: On the Kursk, and Russian cover-up
Chap 2: Ryazan incident. WORTH THE PRICE OF THE BOOK. This is a spectacular chapter. I won't spoil it with spoilers but the circumstantial evidence is very strong that the Russian FSB (like FBI) basically planted bombs in 1999 to justify a second invasion of Chechyna. But I will give one spoiler: the Duma, on a pro-Kremlin party block vote, voted to seal the Ryazan incident and all materials used for the next 75 years and forbade an investigation of what really happened. The official explanation (which defies logic): 'The FSB was conducting an unannounced training exercise involving non-explosive materials with civilians as the target, and were caught by mistake by the local Ryazan police. The local police, despite having state of the art bomb detecting equipment and many hours of defusing actual bombs, misdiagnosed the material used in the training exercise as hexogen; in fact it was sugar. The FSB attempted to flee the area undetected after the bomb was found in accordance with training procedures, to see if they could escape" Do you think this would fly with the American people? But having visited Russia I can assure you--it works in Russia because nobody short of a suicidal or brave journalist wants to know. Patriot Games with a vengence.
Chap 3- Gaidar/Chubais and the Young Reformers. Not that interesting since better done in other books.
Chap 4 - The History of Reform - " "
Chap 5 - The Gold Seekers - on the MMM pyramid scheme and the guy that got away (senatorial immunity)
Chap 6 - The Workers--how they get shafted after management buys out their factory at 1/1000th market value in a rigged auction and then offshores the capital (leaving the factory running at a technical loss). Better covered by Klebnikov's "Godfather of the Kremlin"
Chap 7 - Law Enforcement - where crooks are cops
Chap 8 - Organized Crime - a lovely tale about two stubborn Canadians who wanted to open an ex-pat bar in Moscow. They did, after becoming managers for rival mafia gangs. But ironically they love it. Typical foreigner in Russia mindset--they love the great sex and excitement of Eastern Europe.
Chap 9 - Ulyanovsk - hunger strike claims a victim
Chap 10 - Vladivostok - the mayor, who for once is a decent person loved by the population (which generally backs anybody with power), is run out of town by a mafia.
Chap 11 - Krasnoyarsk - the infamous aluminum factory run by convicted gangster Bykov and his friends (some still on Forbes Richest 400 Russians list, and all under 40 years old, some under 30). Value add, Russian style. Read this to see what it costs to convict a mafiya member in Russia--a lot of innocent people have to first die, even die testifying. And our friend Bykov? He'll be eligible for parole soon.
Chap 12 - The value of human life - zero. Some case studies including surgery without lights (patient died); falling into a boiling hot water sinkhole (not uncommon since Moscow uses hot water to heat buildings, in fact, happens every other year). Boy and father trying to rescue him both die--slow agonizing deaths "4th degree burns". Woman trying to find her soldier son's corpse in Chechyna finds cadavers routinely appear to be mistakenly identified and buried under wrong name.
Chap 13 - Criminalization of Consciousness - on the Uralmash criminal gang, and how free beer and candy won over the hearts of the populace. Typical Russian tactic. Gang got elected to power.
Chap 14 - Conclusion
I had no idea the quality of life is so poor there, that the establishment really protects itself, and the cops are more likely to shake you down for a bribe than arrest a crook who stole from you. Further, most all the government assets were, I'm struggling for words here, turned into cash for the corrupt people who were running them before the fall of communism. Everything the countrymen worked their lives for to build up was converted into cash, given to those with connections, and massive debt was then given back to the countrymen.
In closing, a very dark book. Perhaps a foreshadowing of what is to come in Iraq.