Synopses & Reviews
Russia has long been a source of puzzlement— and sometimes alarm—for Western observers. Since shaking off communism two decades ago, the country has seemed wobbly at best, thoroughly corrupt and threatening at worst. But in recent years, as noted scholar Daniel Treisman shows in this compelling account, Russia has re-emerged as a pivotal nation in world affairs. In The Return,
Treisman cuts through the myths and misinformation, as well as ongoing academic and journalistic debates, to present a portrait of a strong and independent country that is returning to the international community on its own terms.
Drawing on two decades of research, interviews, and insider observation, The Return provides the first comprehensive history of post-communist Russia. From Gorbachev to Yeltsin, Putin, and Medvedev, it traces the twists and turns of the country’s evolution, uncovering the causes behind Russia’s plunge into depression in the 1990s and resurgence since 2000. Rather than a nation frozen in ancient authoritarian traditions, as Russia is often portrayed, Treisman shows a society modernizing rapidly, with a government that, although less than democratic, is sensitive to public opinion but which has been repeatedly buffeted by economic forces—the collapse of Soviet planning, the gyrations of oil prices—that have alternately boosted and drained the leaders’ popularity. Knocked off balance once again by the global financial crisis, the Kremlin’s current bosses must now struggle to reignite the growth on which the stability of their regime depends.
As Russia grapples with its economic difficulties, the West will have to come to terms with the new Russia. With its UN Security Council veto, thousands of atomic warheads, continental dimensions, and vast mineral resources, Moscow sits at the epicenter of the toughest challenges the world will confront in the next generation—from Islamic terrorism and nuclear proliferation to energy security and global warming. To enlist Russia’s cooperation in solving the problems of the twenty-first century, Western leaders will need to look beyond common misconceptions to see the country as it is rather than as it has often been imagined or depicted.
Based on extensive research by an expert with intimate knowledge of the country, the book provides insight into the prospects for democracy in Russia, the challenges and opportunities of doing business there, the wars in Chechnya, and the motives behind Moscow’s foreign policy. The Return is the ultimate accounting of what Russia is today, how it got there, and where it’s going.
"A crisp, unromantic overview of the rocky Russian journey to join the world markets....A tight, modern, and relevant study of the 'Russia that has returned.'"--Kirkus Reviews
“The comprehensiveness and clarity of The Return
make it a valuable resource for anyone trying to make sense of the puzzle that is Russia.”--Dallas Morning News
"Treisman explores the path of postcommunist Russia in this engrossing study."--Publishers Weekly
“This excellent book provides both an elegant and comprehensive account of Russia’s turbulent history over the last quarter century and penetrating and sometimes surprising analyses of the main political and economic issues that that history raises.”
--Michael Mandelbaum, author, The Frugal Superpower: America’s Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era “Daniel Treisman treats us to an elegant and learned history that demystifies Russia’s transformation from a communist state to a normal country. This is the best and most readable account of Russia’s rebirth.”
--Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics “Daniel Treisman has written a book about Russia today that is calm, sane, judicious, very well informed, and written in the kind of prose that makes you want to read on. It is a welcome and necessary antidote to much fashionable Western writing that portrays Russia as a kleptocracy ruled by a secret policeman intent on victory in a new Cold War…. Russia has certainly returned. Whether we like it or not we are likely, if we want to achieve our own objectives, to find ourselves having to treat the Russians with the respect they believe they deserve, and can increasingly command.”
--Rodric Braithwaite, former UK ambassador to the Soviet Union and Russia, author of Across the Moscow River: The World Turned Upside Down and Moscow 1941: A City and Its People at War “Possessing both deft storytelling abilities and deep scholarly knowledge, Treisman provides a truly masterful exposition of the tumultuous past two decades in Russian history, politics, and society. Anyone interested in Russia and its leaders should read this book.”
--James Goldgeier, George Washington University
In this critically acclaimed book, now available in paperback, noted scholar Daniel Treisman offers a refreshing and exhaustively reported look at the political, economic, and cultural changes in Russia, with an in-depth examination of the modern state and its role in global affairs.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Almost twenty-five years after Mikhail Gorbachev began radically reshaping his country, Russia has changed beyond recognition. In his third book on this subject, Professor Daniel Treisman takes stock of the country that has emerged from the debris of Soviet communism and addresses the questions that preoccupy scholars of its history and politics: Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate? Could its collapse have been avoided? Did Yeltsin destroy too much or too little of the Soviet political order? What explains Putinand#8217;s unprecedented popularity with the Russian public?andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Based on two decades of research and his own experiences in the country, Treisman cuts through the scholarly and journalistic debates to provide a portrait of a country returning to the international community on its own terms. At a time when global politics are more important than ever, andlt;Iandgt;The Return andlt;/Iandgt; illuminates the inner workings of a country that has increasingly come to influence, and which will continue to shape, American foreign policy and world events.
About the Author
andlt;bandgt;Daniel Treismanandlt;/bandgt; is a professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a leading specialist on post-communist Russiaand#8217;s politics and economics. A recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and the Hoover Institution, he is the author of two previouandlt;a name="_GoBack"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;s acclaimed books on Russia. He lives with his family in Malibu, California.