Mafia State: How one reporter became an enemy of the brutal new Russia Hardcover – 29 Sep 2011
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A courageous and explosive exposé (Orlando Figes)
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A journalist expelled from Russia in February 2011 tells his storySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Martin Dewhirst, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Glasgow, Scotland
What makes this book stand out is the personal element, and a touching honesty with which the author writes about his family and their Russian experience.
The book is well structured, and Harding's excellent journalistic skills make it an easy read even when he writes about complex political issues. I recommend this book to anyone who interested in trying to understand what political and social forces move within Russia today and how they affect the lives of its own citizens and those in the world at large.
Harding documents his home in Moscow being broken into, and bugged, with the uninvited guests leaving key clues and reminders that Big Brother is watching. After realising he is not imagining things, that he is being followed, that if he is called to “play” mind games it is time to do what journalists excel in: investigate. He discovers that harassment prevails at the embassy at all levels as in Soviet days, from the UK Ambassador, Tony Brenton by Nashi activists, the youth wing of Putin’s United Russia party, downwards, in particular the local clerical staff, interpreters, and drivers anonymously resigning, driven away in fright. He faced that which critics of the system were experiencing: minus the thuggish beat ups, the bombings, shootings, and deaths of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya or human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov, but in order to snoop he needed necessary local contacts, all eager to obtain plausible answers and admissions, especially more on the death in London of former spy Litvinenko by two FSB agents.Read more ›
This is a chilling expose of a nation whose ruling elite have destroyed all boundaries between government, organised crime and business.
Harding describes both his own personal harassment at the hands of Russia's security agencies- with his flat being broken into and veiled threats being issued against his family- along with a wider exploration of Russia's descent into corruption.
In Harding's view the direction that Russia has taken comes down to Vladimir Putin putting the FSB- formally the KGB- at the heart of his regime. Most of Russia's senior officials have known links to the organisation and from that flows the regime's other problems. A secret police needs an external enemy to justify it's existence so relations with neighbours must inherently be confrontational and paranoid. Internal opponents are enemies to be jailed, killed or exiled. The FSB's crude thuggery is barely even hidden- as the very public murder of Alexander Litvinenko shows.
Not that Putin's Russia is exactly like the USSR. Whereas the Soviets were motivated by a utopian ideology, the new Russia is driven primarily by the need to remain in power so as not to disturb the looting of Russia's wealth by those linked to the Kremlin and FSB. Putin's own self enrichment seems to be a particularly sensitive subject for the regime which suggests that it is true.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The final chapter of this book concentrates on the methods of the Stasi, the secret service of the defunct German Democratic Republic. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Michael Evans
Fascinating account of a deeply disturbing and intriguing slice of history. Brilliantly written.Published 1 month ago by M A TURNAGE
Luke Harding's highly personal investigative journalism covering all things Russia - where he worked for four years as the Guardian's Moscow correspondent - is a pulsating,... Read morePublished 5 months ago by The Outsider
Chilling account of what it's like to live under state surveillance in Russia.Published 6 months ago by Beth
A beautifully descriptive and readable book written by someone who really lived in Russia and experienced life as it is there, the good and the bad - not as a highly paid foreigner... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer