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A Russian Diary: A Journalist's Final Account of Life, Corruption, and Death in Putin's Russia Hardcover – May 22, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. One cannot read these journals without the awful knowledge that their author, Politkovskaya (1958-2006), paid for them with her life, shot in the head in front of her Moscow apartment on October 7 (President Vladimir Putin's birthday). Internationally known as one of the few Russian journalists fearless enough to report Russian news independent of Kremlin spin, she was a relentless and vociferous critic of Putin, reporting on his abuses in the Chechen war and his attempts to retract Russia's fledgling democratic freedoms. Covering December, 2003 to August, 2005, Politkovskaya records with dismal and sardonic exactitude the encroaching power of the State, dismantling private businesses, shuttering media outlets and squeezing more money out of its citizens, practically plunging the country into Communist-era conditions. Both the farcical policies and individual crimes of the government are documented and scrutinized: instituting life sentences for suicide bombers, as well as the attempted cover up of an 18-year-old Private beat to death by his superiors. Rounding out the bleak scene are opposition parties that prove fractious, disorganized, craven and predictably willing to sacrifice principle for power. Politkovskaya suffers nobly-and eloquently-in this semi-daily account, yet one must wonder how similarly she would have suffered amidst the capitalist excesses of the West. A rare and intelligent memoir-if an entirely depressing one-this will give readers a detailed look into Russia's everyday march towards totalitarianism.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Politkovskaya was murdered in her apartment shortly after completing her book. Written in a diary form, beginning with parliamentary elections in December 2003 and ending in August 2005, the book chronicles the incompetence, corruption, and scandal rampant throughout the Russian government under President Vladimir Putin's leadership, from the war in Chechnya and the abandonment of Russian soldiers to the massacre of innocents in the Beslan school siege. Drawing on her own recollections and interviews with citizens and politicians who dared to speak out, Politkovskaya recalls Constitution Day as a farcical show of celebration with a mentally enfeebled Yelstin in attendance, the Chamber of Commerce president giving a speech "in the register of Soviet servility," an opposing party member being abducted and drugged, and a host of voting irregularities and abuses. Politkovskaya, a special correspondent for Novaya Gazeta, also takes the Russian press to task for being too cozy with the powerful and too timid to report on blatant corruption. Lamenting Russian cynicism and the "disease of paternalism," Politkovskaya is outraged at her fellow citizens' willingness to roll back progress and accept a man comparable to Stalin. Even readers unfamiliar with the names of leaders and towns will recognize the tactics and strategies of corruption, as well as the heartbreak of a people yearning for better representation and accountability. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Many believe that Politkovskaya was murdered for her indepth investigative reporting into all aspects of Putin's regime. In this book she makes it clear that Russia is rapidly sliding into a dark and deep abyss.
Politkovskaya reveals the rampant corruption prevalent in the Russian government and its total disregard for the Russian population, human rights, and basic democratic principles.
"Russian Diary" is a first-hand account of the growing power of Russia's criminal community and its alliance with Vladimir Putin, the rampant greed and lawlessness of the new Russian business elite, the unbridled brutality of the Russian security services, and the gross incompetence of the Russian military.
Politkovskaya believed that Russia was headed for another major war in the Caucasus against the mountain peoples it has been terrorizing and murdering for the last decade.
This is a sad and depressing story that is all too familiar to those with firsthand knowledge of the Soviet Union and Russia.