Tariq Mahmood's Reviews > The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin

The Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen
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May 19, 12

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bookshelves: europe, slav
Read from May 13 to 19, 2012

Its a good introductory book about the state of Russia today with focus on Putin's regime. Russia somehow falls off the radar from the general Western media outlets enabling bullys like Putin to assert themselves. The best bit I enjoyed in this book was the author's description of her time spent with Gary Kasparov. As she witnessed one hurdle after the another orchestrated by the regime, she made a very astute observation.

'You can be the richest person in the world, you can be super popular, but without effective democratic structures, you can look very ordinary.' That is what Putin has effectively accomplished in Russia. He has effectively taken over the 'leader making' structures and shredded them apart.

The book is again written by a journalist. The only problem with such books is that they promise a lot, good marketing, but lack in actual substance, like literary material or logical conclusion. Still it is good quick read for some one cut off from todays Russia.
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05/19/2012 page 182
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Ciotta Tariq, I agree with the democratic structure comment, but what Gessen misses is Putin intended it to be an authoritarian democratic structure, with a simple setup of the "vertikal" - power from the top down. Gessen's view is fascinating, but it's only one view of Putin. May I suggest my novel "I, Putin" for a unique, unprecedented view of the man behind Russia. It's a quick read you may enjoy! Best wishes, Jennifer Ciotta


Tariq Mahmood vertikal? Power from the top? never works in any dictatorship. Its a allusive dream. I have lived in Pakistan and personally experienced two dictatorships. All it leaves behind is more confusion among the people, I am afraid. This Putin model is being replicated in a slightly different method in Pakistan at the moment. I shall read your novel.


message 3: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Ciotta Tariq, I understand what you're saying. And you have lived under a very different government than me, so you are the expert. I'm not saying the vertikal power structure necessarily works, but it is Putin's power structure of choice. That's fascinating it's being modeled in Pakistan; we'll see what happens. Thank you, Tariq!


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