- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; First edition (September 14, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0156013304
- ISBN-13: 978-0156013307
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #774,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Godfather of the Kremlin: The Decline of Russia in the Age of Gangster Capitalism First Edition
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Paul Klebnikov tells the incredible story of Boris Berezovsky, a one-time Russian car dealer who assembled a huge--and illicit--fortune after the collapse of Communism. "This individual had risen out of nowhere to become the richest businessman in Russia and one of the most powerful individuals in the country," writes Klebnikov, a respected reporter for Forbes. "This is a story of corruption so profound that many readers might have trouble believing it." Yet Godfather of the Kremlin is a careful work of journalism in which Klebnikov documents the business dealings of a man who once bragged to the Financial Times that he and six other men controlled half of the Russian economy and rigged Boris Yeltsin's reelection in 1996. Berezovsky survived both an assassination attempt and a murder investigation, and paved the way to power for Vladimir Putin. He and the other crony capitalists of post-Soviet Russia like to rationalize their deeds, writes Klebnikov: "Whenever I asked Russia's business magnates about the orgy of crime produced by the market reforms, they invariably excused it by pointing to the robber barons of American capitalism. Russia's bandit capitalism was no different from American capitalism in the late nineteenth century, they argued." Yet nothing could be further from the truth: Carnegie, Rockefeller, and their peers transformed the United States into an economic superpower. Berezovsky, on the other hand, has "produced no benefit to Russia's consumers, industries, or treasury." It's not that he didn't have an opportunity. To pick one example among many, he took over Aeroflot when it had a monopoly position in a booming market. But the company barely grew, and instead experienced myriad problems. Berezovsky controlled many businesses, but he was a lousy business manager; his only authentic success--as an auto dealer--depended on collusion. His real skill is shady dealmaking, especially with corrupt government officials. That's the way to success in modern Russia, as this well-told but troubling book reveals. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
After devoting two pages to conspiracy theories about who master-minded the 1999 Moscow bombings that led to Russia's current war against Chechnya, the author admits that it is "all speculation." Such bouts of conjecture mar an otherwise worthwhile examination of how a few tycoons have managed to gain extraordinary power in contemporary Russia. While the title of the book focuses on one of these moguls, the author casts a wider net. Klebnikov, a senior editor at Forbes, does a decent job of describing how Russian political leaders were unable to fashion effective law and economic policy after the Communists lost power in 1991Aand how lobbyist Berezovsky and his cronies employed methods such as pyramid schemes to fuel their rise. The "oligarchs"ABerezovsky, in particularAthen used this economic power to obtain shares in some of Russia's largest companies. As he notes, "It was clear who the losers were: the average Russian." It's difficult to argue with Klebnikov's conclusion that Moscow must limit the power of these businessmen in order to create true democracy. But his hard work occasionally hurts him: he has enough interviews to make interesting hypotheses, but not enough hard evidence to make conclusions about who is responsible for the political violence that has plagued Russia during the last decade. Readers looking for such answers would be better served by thumbing through another new work, Chrystia Freeland's Sale of the Century (reviewed below). Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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If you want to know the "Wild West 90s" that the news media keeps talking about, start here. This book doesn't excuse Putin and his current group of sycophants, instead it shows very clearly the corrupt, free-for-all world be inherited from Boris Yeltzin. Putin is hardly a savior to Russia after reading these pages. Instead he comes across as the shrewdest and perhaps most lucky of a select group of autocrats who emerged in the power vacuum Boris Yeltzin left by selling state industry whole sale and abdicating power on the eve of 2000.
recently come into power and one could sense that dramatic events
would soon take place. The "Evil Empire" was showing cracks
and strains of trying to keep up with capatilists. The Russian people
for over 70 years were asked to sacrifice for the glories of
Communism. Five short years later Yeltsin was standing on a tank and
America's hero, Gorbachev saw his power come to an end. Hope sprang
eternal. Glasnost and perestroika. Then came the Yeltsin years which
were witness to the wholesale rape and pillaging of of a great
country with an educated public and vast resources. How did it
happen? Mr. Klebnikov's important book meticulously outlines how in
less than a decade tens of billions of dollars were stolen by a bunch
of unscrupulous men who could care less about the effects their acts
would have in devastating the country they lived in. By concentrating
on the most successful of these "oligarchs", to use a polite
term, the brazen rise of Boris Berezovsky is detailed courageously by
Mr. Klebnikov. He describes the murders, the methodology (steal low,
sell high), the willing and unwilling accomplices, and the total lack
of morality. What a tragedy. One thinks of the some 700,000 orphans
now in Russia mainly as a result of mothers being unable to feed their
infants. And where is the money? Sitting in European banks and
elsewhere outside of Russia. At least the robber barons of the 19th
Century rechannelled their millions back into the U. S. economy and
left us with Carnegie Hall, the University of Chicago and the Frick
Museum.. It may be some consolation if Putin is able to arrest a few
of these criminals. Or is he too, bought and paid for? Read this