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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating polemic
The author makes a convincing case that a cadre of former KGB officers are now the owner-operators of Russia. He makes no secret of his past as an anti-Soviet campaigner and as such, he clearly finds this a disturbing development. This book is a polemical exploration of this thesis and the conclusions that might be drawn from it. As a sometime vistor to Russia with...
Published on 25 April 2009 by Sailor

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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book but with a lot of rhetoric and lacking clarity
Although usually I do not bother to buy anymore books having cold war in the title this time knowing the author as a distingue Central and Eastern Europe editor of The Economist I made an exception. The book is certainly worth to read and gives an informative image of the present state and politics of Russia. The author makes a convincing case that Russia moved from a...
Published on 16 Mar 2008 by eugen


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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating polemic, 25 April 2009
By 
This review is from: The New Cold War: How the Kremlin Menaces Both Russia and the West (Paperback)
The author makes a convincing case that a cadre of former KGB officers are now the owner-operators of Russia. He makes no secret of his past as an anti-Soviet campaigner and as such, he clearly finds this a disturbing development. This book is a polemical exploration of this thesis and the conclusions that might be drawn from it. As a sometime vistor to Russia with Russian friends I had hoped and expected Russia to evolve towards a "normal" capitalistic society but it's clear that at present at least, it is proceeding in the opposite direction. Lucas goes a long way to explaining why but perhaps does not go far enough in exploring the mindset and motivations of Putin and his allies. Nevertheless, a fine and enlightening read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and informative read, but not quite what the title implies, 12 Jun 2011
By 
Dr. Bojan Tunguz (Indiana, USA) - See all my reviews
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The end of the Cold War has been one of the watershed moments of the twentieth century. The tension between the Soviet Union and its allies on one hand, and the Western capitalist democracies on the other, has completely dominated all of international relations for almost half a century. The collapse of the Soviet Union had spurred hopes that the days of bipolar world and the constant threat of total nuclear holocaust are finally behind us. For some time it looked that Russia and a myriad other post-Soviet republics are firmly on a path of joining the West in emulation the institutions and practices of modern liberal democracies. Russia in particular, despite all of its massive economic troubles, seemed to be opening more and more and getting increasingly integrated in the international institutions and treaties. However, the beginning of the twenty-first century saw a dramatic reversal in political and personal freedoms within Russia and an increasing hostility and open challenge to the Western nations on international front. This renewed Russian belligerence and repression of political freedoms is the consequence of the arrival of Vladimir Putin on the scene, and his systematic attempts to reverse what is perceived by many in Russia as the whole scale national decline into chaos and lawlessness.

All of these developments and many others that are not so familiar to the western observers are chronicled with an unprecedented detail and thoroughness by Edward Lucas in "The New Cold war." Edward Lucas is one of the best journalists who specialize in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics. He relies heavily on his own journalistic contacts and experiences to weave a powerful and informative narrative of Putin's Russia and the power structures and mechanism that it employs. The picture is oftentimes very brutal and ugly, but this is just a reflection of the facts on the ground.

The second part of the book deals with the geopolitical threats that the resurgent Russia poses to its neighbors and the West. This part of the book is much shorter than the part that deals with internal Russian affairs, and the information is not as fresh and original. This is all rather unfortunate, since the book's title and the premise imply that the main focus of this book is on new Russia's foreign affairs and dealings, and how this constitutes a threat to the World on par with the Cold War. The reader takes home the message that Russia, despite its very sketchy and unsavory domestic and international politics is nowhere near to its erstwhile power to disrupt the peace and stability in the World. This may indeed be the accurate picture of the true potential and importance of Russia right now, but if the author wanted to alert the public to Russia's international aspirations then this book falls short. I truly hope to find the answer to this dilemma, and would like to read a book that is in fact entirely devoted to Russia's current diplomatic relations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!, 16 Dec 2013
This review is from: The New Cold War: How the Kremlin Menaces Both Russia and the West (Paperback)
Entertaining and informative for those interested in Russia and in her relations with the west. Lucas makes the reader wonder if the Old Cold War really ended or if it was just a pause before relations between Russia and the west would get chilly once more. Although the author points out that the new Russia is not the Russia of Stalin or even the Russia of Brezhnev, he nevertheless shows that Russia is far from being a country that the west can deal with openly and on an equal basis. Russia's Baltic neighbors know this all too well, but unfortunately the west and the European Union do not know or choose not to know and turn a blind eye to what the Russian Bear does both at home and abroad. Highly recommended!
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book but with a lot of rhetoric and lacking clarity, 16 Mar 2008
By 
eugen (Eindhoven, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
Although usually I do not bother to buy anymore books having cold war in the title this time knowing the author as a distingue Central and Eastern Europe editor of The Economist I made an exception. The book is certainly worth to read and gives an informative image of the present state and politics of Russia. The author makes a convincing case that Russia moved from a cleptocracy to a agressive autocracy and the West must deal decisievely with a agressive monopoly (Gazprom) run from Kremlin. But you must try hardly to find any relation between the title and the content. The case for a cold war agenda of Kremlin targeting more than our wallets is missing. Some chapters are excellent like the chapter analyzing the economic situation of Russia and the pipeline politics. But a lot of pages are spent on not related issues as Stalin years, Brejnev,Andropov. In many pages rhetoric about the new tsarism, new cold war is used in the detriment of arguments. I miss why we need to start a real cold war for backing with cold war tactics deplorable autocracies as Georgia and Armenia in their messy fight with other autocracy (Russia) about Russian minority living in this countries is missing. Contradictions in argumentation are also present . If Gazprom is a inefficient monopoly as how unable to rise his production as the book rightly argues how can be the pipeline politics and the hidden Kremlin agenda be taken seriously?. Overall a very good book but the reader must do sometimes a lot of effort to separate the excellent parts from rhetoric and sideline information.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Important Book, 26 Feb 2008
By 
T. R. Cowdret "Tommy C" (Nottingham England) - See all my reviews
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While every reader might not agree with every idea Lucas puts forward in this important book (Mr Berezovsky will certainly have a few words to say, I'm sure!), I think most would agree that it is an extremely interesting and on the whole accurate explanation of Russia's present relationship with the West.
Lucas has lived through much of what he writes about in this account and his first hand knowledge imbues this work with both detail and common sense. He has spent most of his journalistic career examining Russia and is therefore particularly well-placed to write such a useful book.
Although the ideas are dense and in some places extremely complex, Lucas writes with clarity and deftness.
A thoroughly interesting book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 6 July 2014
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An essential read for anyone interested in the "progress" of Russia and how Putin's control could extend beyond his boundaries if we remain unaware. An eye opener! Well researched, Remembering the names are a bit of a challenge though...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Pleased I live in the UK, 24 Jun 2014
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The facts in this book seem to confirm my opinion of life in Russia both past and present.
I now realise how lucky we are in the UK.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Double standards in condemnation, 10 May 2014
I've only seen the first edition of this book, but presumably the content and thrust of the new edition remains much the same. The author makes well backed up points against Russia, which he very correctly identifies as predatory and hostile to the West and only superficially capitalist-democratic. He reveals that punitive psychiatry, hard labour sentences and many other totalitarian artefacts of the Soviet era still exist today in a country that tells the world, "We are Russia. We do what we like".

However, the author writes in the context of the West's comparative rectitude, omitting the USA's strategic encirclement of Russia, Anglo American geopolitical aims in Eurasia, the provocation that is NATO's missile shield, the farce of western political pluralism (the bogus left-right paradigm), the immorality of the disgusting treatment meted out to ethnic Russians in Estonia (which he half justifies), etc. In sum, in laudably excoriating a corrupt and tyrannical Russia he lamentably exonerates a slightly less corrupt and slightly less tyrannical (but worsening) West. It renders his book less of an objective critique of Putin's regime and more of a British propaganda piece which, considering the magnitude of the threat posed by Russia and exposed in the book, is a tremendous pity.

The most niggling part though is that he ignores the prescient predictions in the 1980s of KGB defector Anatoly Golitsyn as to the true nature of the USSR's collapse. Indeed, any modern treatment of Russia that ignores Golitsyn is instantly disadvantaged, being deprived of profound insights into the Soviet strategy behind the collapse of the USSR (i.e. they planned it for decades and staged it so as to recover economically and then take down the West). In branding various concepts "absurd" or "preposterous" Lucas seems oblivious to other absurdities: that the politburo could en masse undergo a collective epiphany regarding their ideology; that Putin's Russia is aggressive in tone towards the West purely as a means to justify restrictions on liberty at home rather than what I posit it truly is: a campaign to build Antagonism against the West in the run-up to WW3; that Russia's menace is limited to economic and other forms of "soft power" projection and that is has no intention of engaging NATO militarily; that Putin, as a KGB "elite within an elite" could never have attained his position without first being proven a committed ideologue (as opposed to just the unprincipled opportunist Lucas portrays him to be). Hence I conclude the author - whether intended or not - has by ignoring Golitsyn, drafted a limited hangout obscuring the full malevolent intent of Russia.

As a remedy, the author needs to write for a more switched on audience and stop assuming the ordinary people believe all the West-is-Best propaganda spun by Whitehall, Brussels and Washington. Hence he should tone down the point-scoring against Russia by comparing its manifold flaws with ostensibly perfect or much more tolerable Western counterparts; it fools nobody really and actually alienates and antagonises the growing pool of informed laymen who, appalled at the European Union debacle and Anglo American hegemony around the globe, are casting admiring glances at Putin and taking Russia's side. Make no mistake; Russia is winning the propaganda war at home and abroad. But it's not really a question of propaganda; people need to know solid facts, the real dangers posed to world peace, not just from the Bear Redivivus, but from our own Western elites and yes, the Chinese too. Ultimately, everything about Putin's Russia has to be weighed in the context of the struggle for global supremacy between the major powers, each one of whom acts deplorably in pursuit of its geostrategic aims. That's the context the author should keep in mind when writing about Russia.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, 21 April 2014
Simply brilliant. A must read for anyone interested in an academic account of modern-day fascism, in the nation that most hard-leftists love to make excuses for.
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23 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is Russia assembling a new & expanded Axis of Evil?, 18 May 2008
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
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Russia is heading in an ominous direction that poses a threat to its own citizens, neighboring states and the world as a whole. This book with its disturbing message takes a hard look at the Russian ruling elite which emerged almost entirely from the ranks of the old KGB. Harboring resentment and malice against the West, this elite's attitude is crude and unsophisticated compared to the hostility of the Brussels Eurocracy towards the USA and Israel. The Russian government now directly competes with the West on various fronts, both economical and political. Genuine freedom of expression and the rule of law are long gone and the state has grabbed all political and economic power that matters. Putin's term "managed" or "sovereign" democracy really means a particularly malignant form of Tsarism or Fascism. In her 2004 book Putin's Russia: Life in a Failing Democracy, Anna Politkovskaya correctly observed that the brutality in Chechnya was an omen of Russia's future cruelty to all its citizens.

For a long time the West refused to notice. It should have woken up during the second Chechen war but instead there was only isolated protest in Europe and the USA, primarily from private bodies like the Jamestown Foundation and Italy's Radical Party. When Putin seized all influential media the West opened one eye then shut it again. When Khodorkovsky was jailed the same thing happened, and when the murder of dissidents and journalists became commonplace more observers expressed alarm though government criticism in the Western Alliance remained rather muted. This license to kill spread beyond the borders of Russia with the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in the UK at a time when Tony Blair was almost embarrassingly amicable with Putin. More detailed information on the Litvinenko murder is available in Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB by Alex Goldfarb and Marina Litvinenko, and The Litvinenko File by Martin Sixsmith.

The media now portrays Putin as a hero that rescued the country from the "chaos" of the 1990s since the political class has revived the Soviet habit of revisionism. And it uses the Orthodox Church for spreading the ideology of patriotism and Russian nationalism, a policy that inflames xenophobia resulting in violent racist attacks on non-Slav and non-Russian citizens. There have also been signs that this church is reverting to its infamous history of antisemitism. Militarism and imperialism are integral to the new nationalism although Lucas believes that the aim is the "Finlandisation" of Europe rather than territorial expansion. In the West Russia has plenty of paid propagandists plus the romantically deluded species known as Russophiles for whom this failed state with its history of genocide, sadism and misery can do no wrong.

Lucas charts the rise of Putin (explained in horrifying detail in Blowing Up Russia) and the course of the new cold war in a thorough and systematic manner, concluding with advice for the West on how to conduct and win it. Although he doesn't soon expect any military threat, Russia's nuclear stockpile must be reckoned with. The weapons employed in this multifaceted undeclared war are oil, gas and the revenues generated by their export. Instead of allocating it to real needs, the Kremlin uses the income to further its imperialist ambitions by acquiring strategic assets in Europe. Some of it flows straight to the elite for private investment abroad.

This war is pursued while Russia suffers from demographic collapse, massive corruption and widespread lawlessness. Ex-KGB operatives are in charge of all major companies and state enterprises, ensuring more inefficiency and corruption. On the international stage, not only has Russia behaved like a thug against Ukraine, Moldova, Estonia and Georgia, it is supplying weapons to rogue states Iran and Syria and their terrorist proxies Hamas and Hezbollah. There is no shortage of willing collaborators in the West, like previous German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, although western investors have begun to realize that investment in Russia is not worth the risk. When foreign companies resist state interference they risk confiscation. A Russian Diary: A Journalist's Final Account of Life, Corruption, and Death in Putin's Russia exposes the mentality, power and incompetence of the ruling class.

The geopolitical implications are staggering, as the Putin gang eagerly befriends all enemies of the West. Russia is pursuing an energy policy aimed at strangling the liberal democracies by e.g. establishing a gas cartel. Lucas warns the West to get its house in order by inter alia cleaning up financial markets and reconsidering Russia's G8 membership. Should a criminal state be allowed to remain in a club of civilized nations? Whatever other evils result from Russia's abandonment of Western values, it is sure to become a more barbaric place for its citizens and a considerably more dangerous international player. One may confidently expect it to supply Iran with nuclear weapons technology and to cooperate with every loathsome thugocracy that defiles the planet.

Evidence is accumulating that Russia seeks an alliance with the Islamic world and a partial restoration of the Soviet Empire through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization of which China is a member. The Kremlin ignores the real threat from China despite the particularly dire demographic and infrastructural implosion in Russia's far east. However, the Shanghai arrangement will bring the Turkic speaking states of Central Asia (plus Persian Tajikistan) back into the bear's embrace. Turkey's future role will be crucial; it remains to be seen where its recent Islamist trend will take it and how its foreign policy might change in case of almost certain exclusion from the inner core of the EU. Of course economic ties to Europe are assured but the country might establish closer relations with the aforementioned Central Asian states.

Should Israel be forced to act against Syria, Iran and Hezbollah an intensified Russian engagement in the Middle East conflict cannot be excluded. It might reluctantly be drawn into direct military intervention by its humiliated and devastated allies in the region. For those interested in prophetic speculation, I recommend Epicenter by Joel Rosenberg, an engrossing book based on the prophecies of Ezekiel about an anti-Israel confederacy which increasingly resembles an expanded axis of evil, an anti-western alliance that Russia is so vigorously pursuing.
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