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Freeland spent three years as the Moscow bureau chief for the Financial Times between 1995 and 1998, leaving her uniquely placed to write one of the first accounts of Russia's exhilarating, but also painful and desperate transition from communism to capitalism in the final years of the 20th century. She charts the initial hope inspired by the young reformers led by Anatoly Chubais and Yegor Gaidar, who introduced the free market "shock therapy" in 1992 which kick-started the Russian capitalist economy, to the corruption and cynicism of the oligarchs like Vladimir Gusinsky and Boris Berezovsky, who got rich quick by seizing the valuable remnants of the old Soviet economy and (in some cases literally) making a killing. Freeland tells a fascinating story as she travels the country from the Siberian gas fields to the inner sanctums of the Moscow oligarchs. In the process she comes to realise that "Russia had freed itself from communism but not from the communist legacy; it had constructed its own capitalist system, only to discover it had built the wrong kind." This is an absorbing and highly readable book detailing history in the making, as one the world's most powerful nations teeters on the brink of renewal or disaster; if Marx could read Sale of the Century, he would undoubtedly applaud. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Some people have a hard time making sense of this period of Russian history. Judging by this book, Ms Freeland is one of them. Read morePublished on 2 Feb. 2011 by Vf Glover
I was very disappointed with this book. The writer's style is formulaic, stringing adjectives together unimaginatively (must everything Soviet be dull or grey? Read morePublished on 3 May 2010 by Andrew Metcalfe
It is a great tale about what probably really happened behind the scenes. For those living in Moscow during this period and who took part it is a great summary. Read morePublished on 19 Dec. 2002 by "joostenandrei"