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A Russian Diary: A Journalist's Final Account of Life, Corruption & Death in Putin's Russia

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  688 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
A devastating account of contemporary Russia by a great and brave writer.

A Russian Diary is the book that Anna Politkovskaya had recently completed when she was murdered in a contract killing in Moscow. It covers the period from the Russian elections of December 2003 to the tragic aftermath of the Beslan school siege in late 2005. The book is an unflinching record of the p
Hardcover, 369 pages
Published August 23rd 2007 by Random House (NY) (first published 2006)
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Feb 07, 2014 marked it as to-read
My response to Putin's Olympics was to order three books by Anna Politkovskaya.
Feb 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mark by: Dutch friend
I feel like I have a much better understanding of what is happening in modern day Russian politics having read this book. Putin is calling the shots and stifling both political opposition and a free press. Generally speaking, the Russian people are relatively apathetic for two reasons: fear of the current regime combined with the fact that many of them are economically better off than they were in earlier times.

The irony: Putin seems to be building a fairly right leaning, facist state while the
May 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
While reading this book, you already know that Anna was gunned-down in her apartment building. An assassination most in the anti-Putin camp will point in his direction. This book was finished before, although maybe not completely, her death. Because of that prior knowledge, this book feels like you're reading her death warrant. The closer you creep to the end of the book, the more you want to go back in time and warn Anna to leave!


Get out!

...But she knew the whole time. She wasn't caught
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia, political
I expect little has changed since Anna Politkovskaya wrote about the extent of the corruption, and the bullying, that was, when she wrote for the newspaper Novaya gazeta, an everyday feature of Putin's Russia. Exposing the use, and more often the abuse, of power was the very reason for being a reporter as far as Politkovskaya was concerned. She was brave to an extent that is almost difficult to comprehend because she must have known that her life was at risk and yet - a terrible question this - ...more
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. Very very sad. I don't really have the words to capture the emotions contained within this book. If you think the US sucks, check this out. I mean, I know it's useless to compare apples to oranges, but it certainly helps to put things in perspective.
In trying to describe this book and the work of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, the first thing that came to my mind was the words of poet Dylan Thomas. Watching Russia’s barely-worthy-of-the-term democracy steadily crumble, Politkovskaya stubbornly refused to let it go gentle into that good night. A Russian Diary is a rage against the dying of the light. It is a brilliant and sobering piece of work that should be required reading for anyone with an interest in current world politics, and ...more
Jan 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is indeed Anna Politkovskaya's diary; a depressing story of life in Russia during the Putin years. Politkovskaya was a journalist prior to her assassination (which occurred shortly after this book was published). She details the break down of democracy in Russia, with close attention to the role of both state-sponsored and terrorist violence. She includes much detail not available elsewhere about life in Russia in the early 21st century.
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
" To my way of thinking, a mushroom growing under a large leaf cannot just hope to sit it out. Almost certainly someone is going to spot it, cut it out, and devour it. If you were born a human being, you cannot behave like a mushroom."

Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in her apartment building in 2006. By all accounts it was a state contracted murder.
"A Russian Diary" was her final book detailing the horrors she witnessed during the years 2004-2005. These were years of brutal repression in Che
Kim M-M
Oct 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, europe
It is her diary that spanned the time period December 2003 to summer 2005. She barely speaks about herself, only about the policies and its effects, the people crushed under a heartless regime. One by one she speaks about the disappearing freedoms and a return to the political tactics of the USSR.

Unbelieveable, the extreme that the russian people live under. It is not a democracy, it is a farce. The sad part is, it is the grim truth.
It also covers the period of time during the Beslan school mass
Ava Anderson
Oct 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with a global conscience
This book is horrifying and deeply tragic. It is also a lucid, intelligent account of the unravelling of the future of Russia. A must-read, and it is even more relevant now that we are a few years further into Putin's takeover.
Sep 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
When I read the back of this book I was intrigued. A Russian Diary is a non-fiction work by a journalist who lived, worked and was murdered in Russia. As Russia is not a place that I know too much about I was eager to learn more of its history and politics.

This work was set up in the form of a diary. However, once you start to read it its clear that this is no actual diary. While I wasn't expecting any fluffy words along the lines of 'had tea with Aunt Svetlana today' I was expecting more real t
Oct 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Political Science Nerds
The Russian Diaries chronicles the declining political situation in Russia. After Politkovskaya’s violent death in October 2006, her editor published her personal journal documenting Russian political developments; presumably these notes were reference points for her various articles and projects.

Politkovskaya assesses the Putin regime and how it survives, detailing its political ploys and strategies. She analyzes the Russian political environment that gave rise to the Putin and his power base.
Mar 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
You can tell that the book is written by a journalist, and what a journalist she was! Reading this book I can only conclude that unlike many other journalists she understood and valued the importance of really good journalism. In a state where power is being used against the own population she dared to question and criticize an elite that most people don't dare to stand up againt. This is the moost needed and important kind of journalism for sure. All I wonder is "how did she dare?"
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. She did not pull any punches, she was so brave. This is an eye-opening account of Putin's Russia, of the heinous crimes committed under his rule, the horrors inflicted upon the Russian people themselves and, the pervasiveness of corruption & fear that keeps Putin in power.
I am keen to try to read Anna's other books on Russia, though I imagine they will also be hard going. You seriously can't believe what people have turned a blind eye to, until you read this yourself.
Oct 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Ah the great Anna Politkovskaya, a paragon of journalist's integrity... Puts to shame her so-called colleagues on both sides of the ocean - both in America for reporting on irrelevant crap like home tanning and calling it news, and in Russia for selling their souls to the devil VVP. Funny that this book is still not sold in Russia..
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Hengästyttävä kuvaus siitä, mitä Venäjällä tapahtuu. Uskomatonta, että meininki ei tunnu muuttuneen Neuvostoliiton ajoista mihinään - päinvastoin. Sai kiinnostuksen itänaapuria kohtaan kasvamaan. Haluaisin nyt hirveästi ottaa selvää siitä, mitä on tapahtunut Putinin toisen presidenttikauden alettua. Onko mikään muuttunut mihinkään?
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Horrifying and depressing and nothing has changed since the book was published. Anna Politkovskaya was murdered shortly afterwards.
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rusai
Anna aprašo tik faktus, beveik be jokių papildomų epitetų, nukrypimų, emocionalių aprašymų. Tačiau faktai patys tokie iškalbingi, kad skaitydama tai pykau, tai bijojau, tai vėl pykau ir vėl bijojau.
Tattered Cover Book Store
Recently murdered Russian journalist who defied the authoritarian creep of Putin's Russia.
Cornelia Ghetu
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You cherish more your liberty when you remember some don't have it.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reading Politkovskaya is always a draining experience, and this, the last complete book of her writings and released after her death, is particularly challenging. It is organized in the form of a diary, with daily entries compiled of Politkovskaya's notes, many of which later became articles--it includes, for example, the infamous interview with Ramzan Kadyrov, although missing the death threats made by him and his entourage, which are presented in the article itself published in Novaya Gazeta-- ...more
Sep 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after reading Red Notice and after reading notes and news on suspicions of Russian tampering with the US 2017 presidential election.

There were times in the book where it seemed she was writing about the current situation in the US. Other times where I found myself hoping we can all be active and aware and NOT get complacent or apathetic about losing some of the freedoms America has enjoyed as a democracy.

But as a realist, it seems the US needs to go through this phase, just as
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Russian Diary presents a view of Russian society that would be intimately familiar to Winston Smith. The war in Chechnya is fought against an unknown enemy by government forces frequently at war against themselves. Bombings in apartments in Moscow are indicated to have been carried out by security agencies at the behest of a leader looking to gain and consolidate power, the handling theatre and school sieges, with a death toll in the hundreds, are bungled by the same security apparatus looking ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sbk
3. september
Beslani pantvangidraama tagajärg on 331 surnut.

"Vene päevik" jäi ajakirjanik Politovskaja viimaseks raamatuks enne tema mõrvamist putinoidide poolt 2006.aastal. Nagu kõik tema raamatud, on ka "Vene päevik" brutaalselt aus, ning ei varja lugeja eest mitte ainsatki Venemaa eluolu varjukülge. Nagu kõigis teistes tema teostes, saavad ka siin sõna need, keda muidu justkui nagu polekski olemas: röövitud inimeste lähedased, pantvangidraamade ohvrid ja nende perekonnad; emad, kelle pojad on
Erik Aukland
A bit dense

Lots of detailed information but somewhat randomly organized. More like collection of notes than a coherent narrative. Descriptive account of internal politics and changes under Putin regime.
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
A Russian Diary by Anna Politkovskaya takes us into the Russia dominated by Vladimir Putin between 2003 through August 2005. Politkovskaya was a distinguished journalist by the time she began keeping this diaries, and she was murdered before the pre-publication editing process was complete.

These are not self-oriented diaries in the least; they more closely resemble a reporter’s notebooks. The dominant theme is how Putin turned Russia into a FSB-state; the FSB, of course, is the successor to the
Matthew Quigley
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very powerful book written by a highly courageous journalist. The reason I chose to study Russian at undergraduate level and Russian Politics at Masters.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
The late Anna Politkovskaya stares out from the photo on the cover the edition I read with a stare that is hard to gauge. In that photo, she has clear eyes, sensible glasses, gray hair combed in a functional way, and a certain tightness to the mouth that makes it look as if it had been a long time since she smiled. There was certainly not much to smile about in the years covered by the book--the steady march of Vladimir Putin and the party he created toward an electoral triumph: despite the bung ...more
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Four stars not because of the particularly fantastic writing (it's a diary obviously), but because of the level of consistent coverage of Putin's and his mafia-like government's contempt for human life, and critique of the Russian political scene.

After having read the book, I can only imagine the enormous political and social pressure Anna must have been under throughout her career. The book reveals some of the most heinous crimes committed against the people, especially the poor and ethnic min
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every time I meet a person who supports Putin I will shove this book at their face.

It took me a long time to read this book but I'm glad I did. It was a very, very hard read. Mostly for the fact that Anna was a human rights activist who was killed for writing these words. I have such a huge respect for this woman and everything she went through for exposing these truths. I will for sure read everything she's written.

It is a known fact that Russia is corrupted. Very, very corrupted. But wait till
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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
“VLADIMIR BYKOVSKY, Chuvashia: “Do you allow yourself emotions?” PUTIN: “Unfortunately, I do.” DOBROSLAVA” 1 likes
“The poor are not property owners, so the democrats ignored them. The nationalists did not. Not” 1 likes
More quotes…