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Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia 1st Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195340730
ISBN-10: 0195340736
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Editorial Reviews


"One of America's most seasoned Kremlin-watchers, Goldman's snappily written Petrostate argues boldly that Russia has become an energy superpower with a strong political agenda."--The Economist

"This may be Goldman's best book, and that's saying a lot. Focusing on Putin's Russia with a scholar's commitment to deep and meaningful research and a reporter's eye for detail and color, Goldman has explained why and how Russia has again emerged as a global power. The answer is oil. At inflated prices, it leads directly to inflated national aspirations and further down the road to dangers of a totally unpredictable nature. Read and learn."--Marvin Kalb, former Moscow bureau chief for CBS News

"Few developments are likely to reshape the contours of international politics over the next decade more than Russia's ascent to energy superpower. And no one can tell the story of that ascent and the challenges it presents with better knowledge or flair for detail than Marshall Goldman."--Mark R. Beissinger, Professor of Politics, Princeton University

"In Petrostate, he treats petroleum as the key to Russian power, devoting the first half of his brief and very readable book to a fast-paced history of oil in Russia's economic growth from the mid-nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth."--The Nation

"A superb, readable description of Vladimir Putin's role in the emergence of Russia as a successful and potentially threatening petrostate. As a bonus Goldman also provides a concise survey of Russian political and economic history, with emphasis upon the growth of its oil and gas industries from the earliest days to the present."--James R. Millar, Professor of Economics and International Affairs, George Washington University

"'What is good for Gazprom is good for the world!' This emphatic claim by a prominent Russian energy official lies at the core of Marshall Goldman's timely and sobering new study of Moscow's petroleum industry. Putin is at the center of Goldman's readable study of the resurgence of Russian power based on petro-dollars. But the author combines sound history with economic analysis to come to the important conclusion that the new assertiveness of the Kremlin is here to stay."--Norman M. Naimark, Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor in East European Studies, Stanford University

About the Author

Marshall Goldman is Professor of Economics Emeritus at Wellesley College and Senior Scholar at the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard University. An internationally recognized authority on Russian history, politics, and economics, he has met with Mikhail Gorbachev and interviewed Vladimir Putin, and has advised former President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush on Russia. Goldman has written for publications like Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic Monthly; and he has appeared on numerous television programs, including The News Hour, Crossfire, Face the Nation, The Today Show, and Nightline.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195340736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195340730
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,170,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a student of Russian energy markets, I can confidently say that this book is rife with factual errors. Simple things like calling Iran one of the top gas exporters in the world (Iran doesn't export gas at all, it imports it, though Iran does have some of the largest gas reserves in the world); claiming that liquefied natural gas (LNG) often needs long-term contracts of "two years" to sell (usually needs contracts of 10-20 years); contending that OPEC regulated the oil market through production quotas from its founding in 1960 (the production quota system wasn't formally instituted until 1986-1987); etc. The conclusions that Goldman draws from his analysis are largely correct because he knows Russia well, but a lot of the (incorrect) detail he includes demonstrates an interested observer's - not an expert's - understanding of energy markets. If you are an interested observer, go ahead and buy this book. If you are a researcher, you should certainly corroborate the facts in this book.

Overall, the book is filled with detail, most of it correct but some not. I certainly learned something from reading it, things that had slipped under the radar, but I am not convinced that one should trust Marshall Goldman's grasp of energy markets.
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Format: Hardcover
"Petrostate" provides good insights into Russia's comeback after its late 1990s nadir, as well as an understanding of its economic-political strategies.

Russia regained its place as the world's largest oil producer in 2007; energy generates about 30% of Russia's GDP and 60% of its exports. Russia is a major energy provider to Europe and the U.S. The U.S. buys $10 billion of Russian petroleum, LUKoil bought nearly 3,000 U.S. filling stations from Getty Oil and Mobil. Gazprom also provides LNG to the U.S., via a swap arrangement with Algeria. It also provides natural gas to 405 of Germany's homes and many of its factories, as well as much of the rest of Europe. Russia's Gazprom pipelines also play a major role in delivering gas from the "stans."

There is a fair amount of evidence that CIA chief Casey (Reagan administration) worked with Saudi Arabia (mad at Russia for invading Afghanistan) to break Russia's economy via increased S.A. production - however, the data do not provide a clean fit supporting this theory. Low energy prices in 1998 led to Russia defaulting on its debt, as well as many bank failures within the country. Prices quickly recovered in 1999, and along with a 40% increase in production between 2000-2004 transformed Russia into a major holder of foreign currencies. Russia has avoided the "Dutch Disease" because it didn't have much manufacturing, other than defense industries, to start with.

Mass privatization did not begin until mid-1992 under Yeltsin. Oligarch-controlled banks loaned the state money in exchange for stock certificates; most of the state's economic problems were due to companies and individuals failing to pay taxes - only about 3 in 70 did, and even those usually paid much less than owed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is a generally very good description of the rebound of Russia's economy,finances,state power and political influence in the first decade of the 21st century and as such is a study not only in economics but in history,politics,geography as well as general information on Russia.Its flaws come from the fact that like other reviewers have pointed out, there are factual and spelling errors (for example,he describes Medvedev as a siloviki,which as anyone with a basic knowledge of russia knows is laughable and he spells chechnya as c-h-e-c-h-n-i-a.) and the writing is sometimes sensational(for example he describes Putin as a James bond Villain and implies that Russia now is more powerful than the Soviet Union because of its "energy weapon",ignoring the fact that the Soviet Union was much more powerful owing to its ideology,military, much larger economy and better scientific base).However, Goldman does a very useful job in describing how oil and gas have helped lift Russia out of the terrible depression of the 90s.In doing so he also destroys a number of myths such as the fact that Khodorkovsky far from being a democratic martyr was a criminal who tried to buy control of parliament,he even describes the fact that there is a lot of reason and circumstances to show that khodorkovsky being involved in murders .This is important because it busts the myth that Khodorkovsky was a good guy.He also shows that although high oil prices were a blessing for Putin ,he did do a lot to take advantage of this by creating a favorable macroeconomic environment and hiring the right kind of people (such as Alexei Kudrin,whom a lot of experts have recently praised) and that he wrote a thesis long before coming into power to suggest using oil and gas as a way to revive Russia's economy and international influence. All in all , I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I would rate it as 5, but sadly Mr. Goldman is sort of repeating himself at the last chapters... Too many of the same thesises: "no MAD, Europe is dependent on Russian gas, Russia is always cheating when she regains power", and so on and so on.

But still, it's VERY relevant and truthful description. I have to admit, that, being Russian, I have learned a lot of new from this book ! Especially about Mr. Khodorkovsky who is recently considered as almost a saint suffering from Putin's oppressive regive, but in reality, he has a lot of sceletons on his shelf... (quite literally, as well)

Also, a book lacks some up-to-dateness, it is mostly limited with events upto mid-2007, while there was a lot of interesting development in these sphere since then
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