H.M. Ada's Reviews > The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America

The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder
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it was amazing

Early on in the Mueller investigation and the Trump–Russia scandal, Steve Doocy of Fox & Friends looked into the camera and asked rhetorically, “Do you even care?,” seemingly asking a question, but really, telling his audience how they should think. This book explains why everyone should care about Trump-Russia.

First, it explains who Putin is, what he believes, and what he wants. Spoiler alert: Putin is not a communist holdover trying rebuild the old U.S.S.R. Rather, he is influenced by far-right fascist “philosophers” who believe in the innocence of Russia in the face of an immoral, decadent, and homosexual west, and he wants to weaken western democracies, destroy the European Union, and replace it with a “Eurasian Union” stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic and led by Russia.

Next, the book examines the many actions Putin has taken to undermine democracy. It’s now common knowledge that millions of Russian fake social media accounts promoted emails hacked from the DNC and attacked Hillary Clinton while promoting Donald Trump. But Russian influence operations were also involved with Brexit, the move for Scottish independence, the French Presidential election, and many others. In 2012, Putin fixed his own election by electronically adding votes, and when thousands of Russians took to the streets in protest, he said they were paid as part of a plot initiated by Hillary Clinton and the decadent, homosexual west. Sound familiar? Worst of all, Putin invaded Ukraine and managed to convince people that the Ukrainians themselves were the fascists. In 2014, Russian forces crossed into Ukrainian territory and shot down a civilian aircraft. Nearly three hundred people including children died on flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and the Russian government put out numerous stories in the aftermath, including that this was a Ukrainian plot to assassinate Putin.

Finally, this book delves into the many connections between Trump and Russia and how Trump willingly accepted Putin’s help in the 2016 election. It talks about how Russian money helped create the fictional character of Donald Trump, “successful businessman,” and how Trump’s associates participated in Russian influence operations on social media, and Trump himself lied, calling these events a “hoax.” Snyder also analyzes some of the deeper socio-economic issues in the United States that made all of this possible. His theories of “the politics of inevitability” versus “the politics of eternity” are nothing short of brilliant. Importantly, impeaching Trump alone does not solve the problem. Putin and similar leaders will return, and unless the U.S. addresses its racial and economic inequalities, it will remain vulnerable.

I want to be clear that I have nothing against the Russian people. They are victims in this as well, and they deserve a functioning democracy just like everyone else. As world citizens, we are all in this together, and must all resist fascism.

I also enjoyed Snyder’s, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... It’s much shorter and reads more like a “how to guide” for resisting fascism in the age of Trump. Anyone who likes that book will love this one.
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Reading Progress

October 24, 2018 – Shelved
October 24, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
December 10, 2018 – Started Reading
January 6, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)

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message 1: by Lilo (last edited Jan 07, 2019 01:15PM) (new) - added it

Lilo Brilliant review of an--as you assure--highly informative book with brilliant theories!

This book has already been on my TBR-list. As a matter of fact, I might have already purchased it. I'll have to check.


message 2: by Joe (new)

Joe Ward "Russian forces crossed into Ukrainian territory and shot down a civilian aircraft." This statement is untrue. I followed events, in the international media, as they transpired at the time. What happened was that eastern Ukrainian separatists shot down MH17 with a rocket fired from a BUK unit captured from a Ukrainian border defense brigade, after mistaking the civilian aircraft for a Ukrainian military plane. There was no direct Russian involvement. Other statements in your review are untrue as well, specifically the assertion that the CIA installed Ukrainian government isn't overtly fascist. The duly elected Ukrainian president was deposed in a coup and a fascist, neonazi leader installed in his place. Please be more accurate in your assertions in further reviews. Thanks.


H.M. Ada Joe wrote: ""Russian forces crossed into Ukrainian territory and shot down a civilian aircraft." This statement is untrue. I followed events, in the international media, as they transpired at the time. What ha..."

The statements in my review about MH17 and Ukraine are supported by the book, which is well-researched and accurate. There's additional information online and other places about MH17, and the story continues to develop, as there are several lawsuits attempting to hold Russia accountable. I'm not going to waste a lot of time arguing, people can read Snyder's book and the other information that's out there and decide for themselves. Thanks for your comment.


H.M. Ada Lilo wrote: "Brilliant review of an--as you assure--highly informative book with brilliant theories!

This book has already been on my TBR-list. As a matter of fact, I might have already purchased it. I'll have..."


Thanks so much! That's great to hear that it's on your list and you may already have it. I hope you get a chance to read it soon - it's well worth it!


message 5: by Aleksei (new) - added it

Aleksei Nekhaev It seems like a great book, that I would like to read. I know everything from inside, since I'm from Russia, but for the last 6 years I've been living abroad, since it's impossible to live in the country of permanent lies, constant fake news and other stuff, where enormous propaganda brainwashes the ordinary people's minds. Moreover, it destroys everything that has existed before, including industry, economy and other businesses.


message 6: by Aleksei (new) - added it

Aleksei Nekhaev The comment from Joe Ward shows what the Russian propoganda says to its citizens, which is untrue. The book shows what has happened in real life.


message 7: by Joe (new)

Joe Ward So a book that supports your prejudices is "well researched and accurate." And anything that goes against your prejudices is "Russian propaganda." I see.


message 8: by Aleksei (new) - added it

Aleksei Nekhaev I am from Russia, so I know what is true and what is false there.


H.M. Ada Aleksei wrote: "It seems like a great book, that I would like to read. I know everything from inside, since I'm from Russia, but for the last 6 years I've been living abroad, since it's impossible to live in the c..."

Wow, that’s fascinating. Can I ask where you lived in Russia and what it was like there? Only if you feel comfortable talking about it.


message 10: by Aleksei (new) - added it

Aleksei Nekhaev H.M. wrote: "Aleksei wrote: "It seems like a great book, that I would like to read. I know everything from inside, since I'm from Russia, but for the last 6 years I've been living abroad, since it's impossible ..."
Until 2005 I was living in Siberia, in Novosibirsk region and witnesssd total degradation of a small town there, with its closed factories, kindergartens and other businesses, the young people more and more were leaving the town for the bigger cities where they could find job, even the university graduates could only find the manual labour with low salaries. Now a criminal from 1990s is the Senator in the Federal Parliament, representing Novosibirsk region... Human rights, rights to express your opinion are violated - mostly the former criminals or criminals' friends are in power, and the whole mass media shows only propaganda and fake news.


message 11: by H.M. (new) - rated it 5 stars

H.M. Ada Aleksei wrote: "H.M. wrote: "Aleksei wrote: "It seems like a great book, that I would like to read. I know everything from inside, since I'm from Russia, but for the last 6 years I've been living abroad, since it'..."

That sounds awful, good for you that you’ve moved on from there. It sounds like a lot of this happened early on - Putin came to power around 2000 I think? Although I suppose it doesn’t take long for a corrupt government to ruin things. I was a kid when the U.S.S.R. collapsed, and so many Americans were so hopeful. What a shame it is the way things are now. In his book, Snyder says that Trumpism and the 2016 election show that the U.S. is a little more like Russia than most Americans would like to admit. I agree, but still think we have a long way to go before we’re at the conditions you describe. I’m encouraged by the many voices I hear speaking out daily in the U.S. against Trump.


Karen Wonderful book! Thank you, H.M., for recommending it.


message 13: by H.M. (new) - rated it 5 stars

H.M. Ada Karen wrote: "Wonderful book! Thank you, H.M., for recommending it."

Sure, glad you liked it Karen!


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