Top critical review
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An interesting book but with a lot of rhetoric and lacking clarity
on 16 March 2008
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.