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Putin's Labyrinth: Spies, Murder, and the Dark Heart of the New Russia

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The new Russia is marching in an alarming direction. Emboldened by escalating oil wealth and newfound prominence as a world power, Russia, under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, has veered back toward the authoritarian roots planted in Imperial/Czarist times and firmly established during the Soviet era. Though Russia has a new president, Dmitri Medvedev, Putin remains in control, rendering the democratic reforms of the post-Soviet order irrelevant. Now, in Putin's Labyrinth, acclaimed journalist Steve LeVine, who lived in and reported from the former Soviet Union for more than a decade, provides a penetrating account of modern Russia under the repressive rule of an all-powerful autocrat. LeVine portrays the growth of a culture of death-from targeted assassinations of the state's enemies to the Kremlin's indifference when innocent hostages are slaughtered.

Drawing on new interviews with eyewitnesses and the families of victims, LeVine documents the bloodshed that has stained Putin's two terms as president. Among the incidents chronicled in these pages: The 2002 terrorist takeover of a crowded Moscow theater-which led to the government gassing the building, and the deaths of more than a hundred terrified hostages-seen here from new angles, through the riveting words of those who survived; and the murder of courageous investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, shot in the elevator of her apartment building on Putin's birthday, purportedly as a malicious gift for the president from supporters. Finally, a shocking story that made international headlines-the 2006 death of defector Alexander Litvinenko in London-is dramatized as never before. LeVine traces the steps of thisKGB-spy-turned-dissident on his way to being poisoned with polonium-210, a radioactive isotope. And in doing so, LeVine is granted a rare series of interviews with a KGB defector who was nearly killed in strangely similar circumstances fifty years earlier. Through LeVine's exhaustive research, we come to know the victims as real people, not just names in brief news accounts of how they died.

Putin's Labyrinth is more than an immensely readable expose. It is highly personal, with the flavor of a memoir. It is a thoughtful book that examines the perplexing question of how Russians manage to negotiate their way around the ever-present danger of violence. It calculates the emotional toll that this lethal maze is exacting on ordinary people, even as they enjoy a dramatically heightened standard of living. Most ominously, it assesses the reopening of hostilities with the West, and the forces that are driving this major new confrontation.

From the Hardcover edition.

Synopsis:

In Putins Labyrinth, acclaimed journalist Steve LeVine, who lived in and reported from the former Soviet Union for more than a decade, provides a gripping account of modern Russia. President Dmitri Medvedev and the countrys real power, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, are posing a resolute challenge to the West. In a penetrating narrative that recounts the lives and deaths of six Russians, LeVine portrays the growth of a “culture of death”—from targeted assassinations of the states enemies to the Kremlins indifference when innocent hostages are slaughtered. Interviews with eyewitnesses and the families and friends of these victims reveal how Russians manage to negotiate their way around the ever-present danger of violence and the emotional toll that this lethal maze is exacting on ordinary people. The result is a fresh way of assessing the forces that are driving this major new confrontation with the West.

About the Author

Steve LeVine is the author of The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea. He is the chief foreign affairs writer for BusinessWeek and is based in Washington, D.C. He was a foreign correspondent for eighteen years, posted in the Soviet Union, Pakistan, and the Philippines, reporting for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Newsweek, Financial Times, and other publications.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780812978414
Author:
Levine, Steve
Publisher:
Random House Trade
Subject:
Europe - Russia & the Former Soviet Union
Subject:
Political History
Subject:
Government - International
Subject:
Russia (pre & post Soviet Union)
Subject:
Russia-General Russian History
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20090431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8-PP PHOTO SECTION
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
7.96x5.28x.52 in. .42 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Russia » General Russian History
History and Social Science » Russia » Soviet States Post 1985
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Russia

Putin's Labyrinth: Spies, Murder, and the Dark Heart of the New Russia Used Trade Paper
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Product details 240 pages Random House Trade - English 9780812978414 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In Putins Labyrinth, acclaimed journalist Steve LeVine, who lived in and reported from the former Soviet Union for more than a decade, provides a gripping account of modern Russia. President Dmitri Medvedev and the countrys real power, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, are posing a resolute challenge to the West. In a penetrating narrative that recounts the lives and deaths of six Russians, LeVine portrays the growth of a “culture of death”—from targeted assassinations of the states enemies to the Kremlins indifference when innocent hostages are slaughtered. Interviews with eyewitnesses and the families and friends of these victims reveal how Russians manage to negotiate their way around the ever-present danger of violence and the emotional toll that this lethal maze is exacting on ordinary people. The result is a fresh way of assessing the forces that are driving this major new confrontation with the West.
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