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Putin's Russia: Life in a Failing Democracy

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,268 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
A searing portrait of a country in disarray, and of the man at its helm, from "the bravest of journalists" (The New York Times)

Hailed as "a lone voice crying out in a moral wilderness" (New Statesman), Anna Politkovskaya made her name with her fearless reporting on the war in Chechnya. Now she turns her steely gaze on the multiple threats to Russian stability, among them P
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Holt Paperbacks (first published January 30th 2003)
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Anna Politkovskaya was murdered via contract killer on Putin's birthday 2006

Translated from the Russian by Arch Tait

Opening: The Army in Russia is a closed system no different from a prison. Nobody gets into the Army or into prison unless the authorities want them there. Once you are in, you live the life of a slave.

This is definitely THE book to browse before the 9th May extravaganza in Red Square. All those shiny new tanks - all those poor bullied soldiers.

Re criminals (p 30)'[..]people who a
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-narrativa, russi
La Politkovskaja racconta storie di persone che vivono (in certi casi vivere è una parola grossa) nella Russia di Putin, nello specifico dei primi anni duemila, in piena lotta internazionale al terrorismo, con una guerra criminale in Cecenia, in un paese dove all’incancrenito regime comunista si è sostituito un “capitalismo sfrenato gestito da cupole mafiose”, con l’appoggio di forze dell’ordine e funzionari corrotti e di un sistema giudiziario “da telefono”, nel senso che il verdetto dipende da ...more
Mikey B.
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ms. Politkovskaya exposes several layers of corruption and malfeasance in Putin’s Russia.

She takes us through the disastrous war in Chechnya where Russian soldiers are underpaid or not paid at all. This would seem to be endemic to the Russian army where during the Afghanistan war the same corruption happened – actual weapons were sold to the Mujahideen in order to make money. The brutality of the Russian towards the Chechen population is almost equal to the cruelity of Russian officers to their
I have to admit I don't care overly much for Anna Politkovskaya's writing style. An objective reporter she is not (or rather was not -- she was murdered a few years after publishing this book); her indignation at the social ills she exposes comes across loud and clear, and she frequently goes so far as to tell her reader to share her indignation, occasionally to the point of being rather insistent. Personally, I would have appreciated a slightly more objective, less cynical approach. That said, ...more
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reportage, russia colpa ancora una volta è della nostra eterna, colpevole indifferenza per i destini altrui...
Io non so se i particolari contano più del quadro in sé. Le parti valgono più dell'intero, come pensa Anna Politkovskaja: di certo c'è che i 'particolari' e le 'parti' che lei racconta sono dannatamente illuminanti sul quadro intero.
Ne viene fuori una Russia che ha perfezionato lo stile delle storiche dittature sudamericane o africane, andando ben oltre, ben più su nella scala della corruzione, d
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia
Vignettes, many beautifully written, about the grim realty Putin's Russia. Politkovskaya herself was murdered, 2006, shot in her elevator by a professional hitman
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Se davvero uno dei princìpi cardine del buon giornalista è mantenere 'la giusta distanza', Anna Politkovskaja non era brava. Aveva troppo cuore e troppo fegato per tenersi a distanza di sicurezza da quello che vedeva intorno a sé. Troppo forte l'urgenza di denunciare lo sfascio delle istituzioni nella Russia di Putin, la magistratura corrotta, i militari al collasso, la sciatteria spietata dei burocrati, il servilismo dei media, l'uso strumentale della guerra cecena per consolidare lo status quo ...more
Spencer Willardson
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: russia-ukraine
Politkovskaya's bleak outlook can be a bit hard to take in large doses. I picked up this book to re-read in light of the current situation in Ukraine. Putin's Russia is one that is unseen and virtually unfathomable to western readers - especially those that haven't spent a lot of time on the ground outside of Moscow or St. Petersburg.

One of the quotes that I picked up on during this reading concerns the stability of the Russian state.

Yes, stability has come to Russia. It is a monstrous stability
Feb 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist and the author of Putin's Russia, was gunned down in her apartment elevator in Moscow in 2006, most likely for something she wrote, possibly in this book. Her depiction of Russia is stunning, insightful and passionate. This book is a must for anyone who is interested in global politics, human rights, justice, and good journalism.
Jun 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in Russian society and politics
What I loved about Anna Politiskya's commentary is that she gave details, names and effects of terrible acts not abstracted in any way. For this reason her book was disturbing in the extreme but I felt it was necessary to my studies into contemporary Russia. She was an amazingly brave person who despite great personal danger persisted in exposing 'the truth'. I hope her courage is not overlooked or her mission forgotten.
Erik Graff
Nov 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: A.M.
Shelves: history
Although I spent two years of college as a declared history major with a concentration on Russian history, I am certainly no expert, particularly as regards events since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. A friend from the former Yugoslavia recommended that I read the assassinated Politkovskaya as a window onto what has happened in Russia since the disastrous Yeltsin years. This was the first of two of her books that I read one after another.
Jun 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
Incredibly disturbing. And considering the book is a bit dated by now, cannot be overlooked as an important contribution to current Russian politics. Politkovskaya's writing style is sometimes almost too condescending to be read smoothly, but considering who she was, it is perhaps her way staying enough removed from the story to be able to tell the story at all.
May 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in human rights
Two incidents make the reading of this book paramount: The gunning down of Anna Politkovskaya in 2006 and Time magazine’s “Person of the Year (2007)”: Vladimir Putin. Somehow there must be a link, but somehow the events seem too extreme to link them up. The Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, who died of polonium-210 radiation poisoning in the UK (2006), accused Putin of his (and Politkovskaya’s) fate. Putin’s Russia gives an honest look at what used to be the USSR, except that it doesn’t seem as ...more
Daniel Simmons
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
"There is not much wrong with our laws in Russia," writes Ms. Politkovskaya. "It is just that not many people want to obey them." This unsparing indictment of the new Russia targets businessmen, mafiosos, judges, police and politicians alike. A depressing and eye-opening read.
Mikheil Samkharadze
რევიუ ასევე შეგიძლიათ წაიკითხოთ ჩვენს ბლოგზე:

ეს წიგნი 2004 წელს ბრიტანეთში გამოიცა. მალევე ითარგმნა უამრავ ქვეყანაში, მაგრამ…
წიგნი რუსეთში არ გამოცემულა…
ანა პოლიტკოვსკაია ლიფტში მოკლეს 2006 წელს, როცა ჩეჩნეთის ლიდერზე დაიწყო მამხილებელი მასალების მოძიება..
ზემოთ ნათქვამიც საკმარისია, რომ ეს წიგნი ახლავე წაიკითხოთ.

უამრავი სათქმელი დამიგროვდა, რაც მინდა, რომ მოგიყვეთ ამ წიგნის შესახებ.. მაგრამ ბოღმისგან და ბრაზისგან სავსე გული ყელში მებჯინება და არც კი ვიცი,
Aug 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
There is a special place in the pantheon of journalists for people like Anna Politkovskaya. Courageous though the accomplishments of people like Zenger, Zola, Pulitzer and Mencken may be, they didn't face murder. "Putin's Russia" reveals Politkovskaya, who was in fact murdered (the trial of those accused of that murder is a story unto itself), as probing and eloquent, but fundamentally interested almost in an anthropological way, in how Russians and their institutions emerged from that truly ear ...more
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Anna Politkovskaya risked her life and livelihood in search of the truth(s) about Putin's Russia, so this was my primary reason to read this book. It contains uncomfortable facts about the injustices in Russian society and an appalling account of how little human lives are worth in comparison to political and economic interests. Take note that no western journalist would have been murdered for exposing any of these things in their home countries, where criticial journalism is part of our daily l ...more
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: oppresion
"Лошата история също като рака има тенденцията да се завръща и да повтаря. И има само едно радикално лечение — навременна терапия за унищожаването на смъртоносните клетки. Ние не направихме това. Ние влязохме от СССР в „Новата Русия“, която все още е заразена от съветски паразити."

Докато четях тази публицистична творба имах чувството, че в нея се описва не руското, ами българското пост-комунистическо общество. Изключително много съвпадения в примерите за морална, икономическа и военна разруха, у
Simon Jones
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book shone a great light on one of the world's more forgotten wars: Chechnya. Politkovskaya took us through a journey into the lives of those lost in this war, the people of the ground, the soldiers (and their respective families) whom had been neglected by the state and what circumstances led to the interventions there.

Much focus was paid to the corrupt and complex Russian system of local governments and how power struggles and backhand dealings with both business, militia groups and orga
Metodi Markov
Книга, която разобличава част от престъпния път на КГБ гадината Путин, президент на РаSSия.

Авторката е показно застреляна от чеченски наемници точно на рождения му ден, без съмнение като извратен подарък към сатрапа.

След написването на книгата, този душевен урод падна още по-низко, води война в Украйна и Сирия, армията му извършва военни престъпления и геноцид, а крепостните му живеят във все по-голяма мизерия, докато той и приближените му грабят ресурсите на страната и живеят в небивал разкош.
Feb 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, russia
Heartbreaking. Politkovskaya isn't necessarily an objective journalist (although I would argue that few, if any, journalists are actually objective), but she is writing about something that for her, and for millions of Russians, is intensely personal. I do agree that the style was a little hard to read a times, but I don't know if that was due to Politkovskaya's writing or to the interpretation of the translator. I got bogged down in a few spots, but I definitely feel that this book is worth rea ...more
Sep 09, 2007 rated it liked it
Politkovskaya's (or her translator's) style is not the easiest to read sometimes. You're going to want to make a list of the characters in some of the "Scandals". She's really at her best when she talks about the human toll of Putin's policies as opposed to talking about lengthy bureaucratic snafus and corruption. I'd love to read her books about Chechnya, I think they would be significantly less dry. However, this is her last book written before she was murdered and is worth a read just because ...more
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Отдавна не ми се беше опъвала така някоя книга... Беше ми интересно, но безкрайно тягостно да я чета. Може би, защото съм наясно, че тези кошмари не са плод на художествена измислица... Продължавам нататък - "Руски дневник"
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm disgusted by how Russia treats its people.
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Et voldsomt og voldsomt interessant snit ind i nutidens Rusland. Det er ikke noget kønt billede, hun tegner. Hverken af Putin, det russiske militær, domstolene eller erhvervslivet!
Vasil Kolev
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, politics
Доста тежка книга, и доста интересна. Чак му се приисква на човек и в България да имаше такива журналисти.
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ჰორორების თაროზე უნდა იდოს :ს
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What can I say about Politkovskaya that I haven't already said? Maybe that this book, written specifically for publication abroad, is perhaps the most foreigner-friendly of her works. Unlike "A Dirty War," which is a compilation of her early articles on the second Chechen war, or later books such as "A Russian Diary," which are presented more or less as diary entries, "Putin's Russia" is a collection of essays about different facets of the post-Soviet experience. There are several essays on Chec ...more
Mubeen Irfan
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How is one supposed to feel about reading a very good book who's author had died because of writing it or expressing those views given in the book? Saddened and probably angered comes to mind. This is Putin's Russia where you can be jailed and/or killed if you do not agree with the all knowing and important Vladimir Putin.

Anna, the author, was killed in 2006 in her apartment building by unknown assailants. That's the name she herself has given to Putin thugs who kill on behalf of Mafia which Pu
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a tough book to assess as I didn't understand the book's organization - thought it jumped from subject to subject without good transitions. The subtitle is “Life in a Failing Democracy” to which I wonder if Russia even wants to be a democracy – maybe during the Yeltsin years but not since in my opinion. I believe Russian leadership does not want true democracy as it would reduce their power and most importantly their personal income streams. The author certainly has a tremendous dislike ...more
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Russian journalist and human rights activist well-known for her opposition to the Chechen conflict and Russian president Putin.

Politkovskaya made her name reporting from lawless Chechnya, where many journalists and humanitarian workers have been kidnapped or killed. She was arrested and subjected to mock execution by Russian military forces there, and she was poisoned on the way to Beslan, but sur
More about Anna Politkovskaya...
“This political line is wholly neo-Soviet: human beings do not have independent existences, they are cogs in the machine whose function is to implement unquestioningly whatever political escapades those in power dream up. Cogs have no rights. Not even to dignity in death.” 2 likes
“Alvi also told them that the main reason his family was in Moscow and not in Chechnya, in spite of how uncomfortable things were for them here, was to enable their children to go to school without a war taking place around them. Zulai was a math teacher, but she had to work at a market stall in Moscow, not something she was good at. They spent their evenings rolling chicken cutlets to sell in the morning. Everything he and Zulai did was for the sake of their children. “Well, how about that! They’re worming their way right into the center of Moscow! And they expect to be given a $500 apartment!” This was the reaction of the parents’ committee to Alvi’s appeal. “I” 0 likes
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