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The Strongman: Vladimir Putin and the Struggle for Russia Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Length: 353 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Review

[A]lively and absorbing study.... [Roxburgh] is especially well placed to tell the story of how the west s early enthusiasm for Putin turned sour. --Luke Harding, Guardian

[Written] with admirable even-handedness and insight...The Strongman is not only political history; it is informed by the author s close acquaintance with many of the prime players...Every chapter of this book is worth reading. --Mary Dejevsky, Independent

A sober assessment of Putin years, illuminated by Angus Roxburgh's first-hand experience and long acquaintance with Russia --Bridget Kendall, BBC diplomatic correspondent

We need an insider to give us some insight into what has really been going on since 1999, when Putin went from unknown to acting president. It is fortunate then that we have Angus Roxburgh... fair, nuanced and well written...His account of the complete mutual incomprehension between his employers, Ketchum, and the Russians they worked with is fascinating. --Sunday Telegraph

...an old Russian hand. [Roxburgh] takes us behind the curtain of the Kremlin press section....he is at his best in a chapter on fraught Georgian-Russian relations, capturing the culpability on all sides. --Stephen Kotkin, TLS

'...marshals new and valuable details about Putin s life and rule.' --Foreign Affairs

...an old Russian hand. [Roxburgh] takes us behind the curtain of the Kremlin press section....he is at his best in a chapter on fraught Georgian-Russian relations, capturing the culpability on all sides. --Stephen Kotkin, TLS

About the Author

Angus Roxburgh is one of Britain's most distinguished foreign correspondents. An author and renowned journalist, he was the Sunday Times Moscow Correspondent in the mid-1980s and the BBC's Moscow correspondent during the Yeltsin years. He is the author of The Second Russian Revolution and Pravda: Inside the Soviet Press Machine.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3083 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Publisher: I.B.Tauris; 1 edition (15 Dec. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007N797R0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #183,366 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very readable book which described both internal Russian developments under Putin and foreign relations. In particular there were interesting quotes from the participants of various conferences and one-on-one discussions between western and Russian leaders and from Russian economic policy makers (albeit now all out of favour and office).

The intention of the book seems to have been to convey the message that with more sensitivity to Russian concerns (particular on the part of the Bush administration) things might have been different and Russia might have become a 'responsible' and co-operative member of the 'international community'.

The question which was not raised however throughout the book was that of the possible and in my opinion likely connection between the internal and external developments in Russia. Each was depicted in separate chapters as if Putin, the operator in foreign affairs has no connection with the Putin who, as the book points out is presiding over the descent of Russia into a state of legal nihilism and corruption on a mind-numbing scale. Is it really the case that for instance American intransigence on missile defence in Eastern Europe played more of a role in shaping Russian foreign policy than the type of regime which developed internally Russia or vice-versa could it have been the case that a different relationship of Western governments (actually the Americans) to Russia would have led to Putin retaining his early promise of democratic development? The latter seems unlikely but the matter is never addressed in the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
More readable than many crime thrillers, this mixture of clear analysis with entertaining anecdotes has an authentic ring, Roxburgh being a former BBC Moscow correspondent and sometime PR advisor to Putin's press secretary.

He acknowledges Putin's initial success in restoring law and order, curtailing the power of the oligarchs who hijacked Russia's rapid adoption of capitalism in the 1990s, stabilising the economy, reducing debt, achieving growth (admittedly with the aid of high Russian oil and gas prices) and even in supporting the Americans in their fight against Afghanistan - perhaps not in itself a good thing.

Roxburgh expands on the depressing recent turn of events as an increasingly authoritarian leader establishes the "vertical of power", appoints cronies to senior positions in key industries, and turns a blind eye to, if not exactly ordering, the liquidation of anyone who dares to criticise corruption in such chilling cases as the shooting of the journalist Anna Politovskaya and the killing in prison of the young lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, "arrested by the very officials he had accused of fraud".

Thought to have accumulated a vast personal fortune, Putin seeks to retain personal majority support as president partly by impressing people with his often stage-managed macho exploits, but also by resorting to ballot-rigging and laws to restrict the freedom of speech, conscience and mass media, "the fundamental elements of a civilised society" which he promised on first coming to power. Opposition is still too fragmented to bring him down, and he can dismiss the disaffected middle classes as the tools of western influence.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thorough balanced view from a creditable source - the case is still out on VP (and Roxburgh does not pull any punches) but he's right to show that VP is partly what he's been made by the West.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Some very good information on Putin post KGB years and certainly sheds light on the make up of the man. Feels a little light on his earlier years pre- and during KGB times, however.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wasn't sure when I bought this but it proved a really good read. Informative but with a light touch.
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Format: Hardcover
I was very pleased and even surprised by the author's insights and understanding of Russian politics, Russian mentality and their "eternal" distrust of the West. Everything in this book could be verified which makes it trustworthy, no gossips just hard facts. Well done and I wish Angus Roxbourgh all the best. Highly recommended!

Albert from Ireland

[...]
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Da......Western bias aside.......bloody good read and what a brilliant Russian.....never underestimate the Russians.......history must at least teach us that.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thorough wide raning analysis, builds the picture in a systematic manner toward the conclusion. Well written and highly informative.
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