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Vladimir Putin and Russian Statecraft (Shapers of International History) Hardcover – September 1, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Allen Lynch has produced the most insightful and balanced book yet published on Vladimir Putin and his impact on Russia. It is a key to understanding the first twelve years of 21st century Russia, whether or not Vladimir Putin decides to resume the presidency following the 2012 election.”—Jack F. Matlock, Jr., former U.S. ambassador to the USSR
(Jack F. Matlock)

“Allen Lynch’s ‘interpretive biography’ of the leader who brought stability and economic growth to post-Soviet Russia, behind a facade of manipulative and sometimes ruthless ‘Potemkin democracy,’ ably explains the contrast in Western and Russian views of Putin’s achievements. This well-crafted study is ideally suited not only for courses in Russian or comparative politics, but also for studies of political leadership.”—Robert H. Donaldson, Trustees Professor of Political Science, University of Tulsa
(Robert H. Donaldson)

“Allen Lynch’s succinct biography of Vladimir Putin is richly analytical and topical, and it is an incisive and authoritative contribution to political leadership studies as well as interdisciplinary Russian studies. Lynch’s biography is nuanced and comprehensive, balanced and evaluative, and, thanks to clear thinking and writing, it is accessible to a wide readership.”—Erik P. Hoffmann, professor of political science, State University of New York, Albany
(Erik P. Hoffmann)

“Allen Lynch has done it again. This time, he’s written a superb book that provides a definitive portrait of Vladimir Putin and coolly, carefully, and concisely evaluates his record as Russia’s leader. Both Putin’s many supporters and his many detractors—indeed, Putin himself—would do well to read Lynch’s excellent analysis.”—Alexander J. Motyl, professor of political science, Rutgers University, Newark
(Alexander J. Motyl)

“With the sure hand of a longtime observer of the Russian scene, Lynch lucidly analyses and explains the puzzle surrounding the personality and politics of Vladmir Putin, who is reviled abroad and admired at home.”—Andre Liebich, professor of international history and politics, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
(Andre Liebich)

"Allen Lynch’s political biography of Vladimir Putin is a must, not only for students but also for an informed readership interested in current Russian affairs. It provides a highly perceptive and exceptionally balanced assessment of Putin’s character, achievements, and failures. In this easy-to-read and captivating book, Lynch offers key concepts for a better understanding of the dilemmas and goals of Russian domestic politics and foreign policy."—Jacques Lévesque, professor emeritus of political science, University of Quebec at Montreal
(Jacques Lévesque)

About the Author

Allen C. Lynch is professor of politics at the University of Virginia and former director of the university’s Center for Russian & East European Studies (1993–2008). He is a former assistant director of the W. Averell Harriman Institute for Advanced Study of the Soviet Union at Columbia University. He is the author of several books, including How Russia Is Not Ruled: Reflections on Russian Political Development (2005) and Does Russia Have a Democratic Future? (1997). He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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Product Details

  • Series: Shapers of International History
  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597972983
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597972987
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William E. Patterson on November 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Of the several books about Putin (including his autobiography), this is by far the best in my opinion. The author gives insight into Putin's strengths and weaknesses, including his philosophical underpinnings through study of martial arts and deep convictions about the importance of his nation and loyalty in his relationships. He does not brook criticism and will not hesitate to have his critics and enemies silenced. With the background of this book, it is easy to understand how Putin is able to outmaneuver a U.S. President who can shoot a baskeball or play golf but is ignorant of the principles of judo.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Conflict of interest alert: The author is a colleague and close friend, and made some revisions in the manuscript in response to my suggestions. That lapse in judgment and character aside, he has produced what is easily the most insightful and penetrating account of Putin available in the English language. He is both sympathetic and sadly disappointed. He has canvassed all the sources and remains close to what is happening on the ground in Moscow and Sankt Petersburg. Anyone interested in modern Russia should read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
The first half of this book succinctly outlines the course of Vladimir Putin's life to the reader, pointing out more than a few dramatic instances that have clearly impacted the nature of his leadership today. Experts and laymen alike will leave with a fresh perspective, both on the psyche of Russia's leader as well as the larger sociopolitical trends that are shaping the country's trajectory. Lynch deserves credit for presenting a refreshingly unbiased account of Russia's past 20 years in the latter portion of the book; his arguments make it indisputably clear that Russians have seen an unprecedented advance in lifestyle during his rule, but one cannot help but be left with a sense of dismay at the squandered opportunities that now threaten to leave Russia in the dust of other emerging economies. It's made abundantly clear that the Russian people are getting what they want, if not what they deserve. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Much like the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian empire after WWI left significant ethnical minorities cut off from historic former homelands and a number of economically non-viable states in the Balkans, the dissolution of the Soviet Union created the same situation in Eastern Europe. The Crimea was an integral part of Russia for hundreds of years until Khrushchev gave it to Ukraine in 1954, despite the fact that 60% of its population is ethnically Russian and its culture and language complete Russian. On more than one occasion, Putin has harshly condemned Communism and the crimes committed by Communists. However, while he considers the breakup of the Soviet Union a tragedy, Putin also contends it would be foolish to try and put it back together.

U.S.-Russia relations are key to our prosperity and security. Vladimir Putin completed his 12th year as Russia's president in 2011, and after a brief interlude beginning in 2008, has returned to that post. Westerners, especially Americans, condemn Putin for centralizing power, underestimating the extent to which Russia had ceased to function as a competent state by the time Putin assumed power in 1999 - after nearly a decade of botched liberal reforms encouraged and aided by the U.S. Author Lynch believes this background helps explain why Putin most always chooses certainties of command over the risks of freedom. The dangers of disintegration were real, and Putin's preference for order reflected the mood of Russian society. Russians, on the other hand, tend to ignore the fact that under Putin Russia has become more dependent on oil, natural gas and other raw material exports - weakening/delaying its long-term prospects for modernization and fueling massive corruption.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the very best book on Putin I have read to date. The author provides his readers with a clear account of Putin and stays away from directly linking Putin to corruption, to bombings, etc. He gives his readers an analysis of who is Putin, where he comes from, what events have marked him in his life, how he thinks, and why he acts as he does. I saw Putin as one of the World's best in terms of demonstrating leadership, and in my opinion, the Allen Lynch's book highlights this very clearly regardless if one agrees or disagrees with his actions. The author also is clear as to where Putin is weak and what issues he will need to address in a most expeditious fashion, the first being his focus on material resources and limitations of focusing exclusively on material resources and the issue of corruption in the bureaucracy and with the oligarghs. While not fully supporting all of his actions, after reading this book, I am even more convinced that Putin is one of the World's best leaders at the present time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was looking for a fair account (i.e. not fanboyish nor just another western attack piece) of this indispensable man's life and this work by Professor Lynch fit the bill perfectly. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A GREAT READ. A "RAGS TO RICHES" BIO OF PUTIN FROM HIS "OUT OF CONTROL" TEENAGE YEARS, THRU A SELF-IMPOSED RIGID DISCIPLINE PROGRAM, THRU HIS COURTING AND PROPOSAL TO HIS WIFE, TO THE STEPS WHICH LEAD HIM TO BE THE PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA. IT IS A FASCINATING ANALYSIS OF PUTIN'S PRIDE IN BEING RUSSIAN AND HIS BELIEF IN RESURRECTING THE POWER OF RUSSIA. EVERY READER WILL COME AWAY WITH NEW INSIGHTS INTO PUTIN THE MAN AND HIS IMPACT ON RUSSIA AS ITS LEADER. A BOOK FOR "ALL" TO READ.
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