Synopses & Reviews
Russia under Vladimir Putin has proved a prickly partner for the West, a far cry from the democracy many hoped for when the Soviet Union collapsed. Angus Roxburgh charts the dramatic fight for Russias future under Vladimir Putin—how the former KGB man changed from reformer to autocrat, how he sought the Wests respect but earned its fear, how he cracked down on his rivals at home and burnished a flamboyant personality cult, one day saving snow leopards or horse-back riding bare-chested, the next tongue-lashing Western audiences. Drawing on dozens of exclusive interviews in Russia, where he worked for a time as a Kremlin insider advising Putin on press relations, as well as in the US and Europe, Roxburgh also argues that the West threw away chances to bring Russia in from the cold, by failing to understand its fears and aspirations following the collapse of communism. Fully updated following the 2012 presidential election, the new edition of this acclaimed book provides a unique and penetrating inside view of Putins Russia.
"Roxburgh paints a...compelling portrait. He is sympathetic to what motivates Putin but critical of what Putin has become during his years in power...engrossing." - Foreign Affairs
"A solid foreign correspondent narrative of Putins behavior" - Bill Keller, The New York Times "The considerable value of this book lies in [Roxburghs] painstaking and empathetic effort to understand how Mr. Putin came to power, why many Russians still support him today, and how the Wests approach to Russia has helped to shape his rule... Mr. Roxburgh persuasively argues" - Wall Street Journal "Roxburgh is a talented journalist and writer...a useful history of the Putin era....with views from Russian politicians, and some of the key players from the world of international politics, it is a book firmly rooted in fact and analysis. This means that Roxburghs approach is refreshingly free from some of the usual polemic, and he is to be congratulated for giving credit where credit is due and for underlining Putins role in stabilising Russia after the free-fall of the Yeltsin years." - Good Book Guide
"…an old Russian hand. [Roxburgh] takes us behind the curtain of the Kremlin press section….he is at his best in a chapter on fraught Georgian-Russian relations, capturing the culpability on all sides." - Stephen Kotkin, TLS
"[A]lively and absorbing study.... [Roxburgh] is especially well placed to tell the story of how the wests early enthusiasm for Putin turned sour." - Luke Harding, Guardian
"[Written] with admirable even-handedness and insight...The Strongman is not only political history; it is informed by the authors close acquaintance with many of the prime players...Every chapter of this book is worth reading." - Mary Dejevsky, Independent
"Well researched and with many personal observations by an admired and insightful journalist, this will appeal to contemporary Russophiles and Putin watchers." - Library Journal
"Roxburghs experience as a public relations advisor to Putin provides the basis for some of the most interesting passages in the book." - David Satter, Literary Review
"...much can be learned about the conduct of Western and Russian international relations from the valuable interviews the author conducted with Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Gerhard Shroder, Mikhail Kasyanov, German Gref as well as David Miliband, George Robinson and Ukraines Viktor Yushchenko." - David Lane, London Progressive Journal
"Roxburghs book accordingly is a vivid account by a ‘Western journalist with excellent senior access of the tumultuous transition of Russia away from Soviet communism to todays sui generis Russia…Roxburgh offers many vivid, credible anecdotes about Putin and his merciless dealings with top Russians and Western leaders…" - Charles Crawford, EUROPP (European Politics and Politics - LSE Blog)
"We need an insider to give us some insight into what has really been going on since 1999, when Putin went from unknown to acting president. It is fortunate then that we have Angus Roxburgh... fair, nuanced and well written...His account of the complete mutual incomprehension between his employers, Ketchum, and the Russians they worked with is fascinating." - Oliver Bullough, Sunday Telegraph
"[Roxburghs book] is powerful...and gives much more attention to the international connect and to Russias economy [than Masha Gessens book]" - The Age
"As a former adviser to the Kremlin in 2006-09, working for the Brussels based consultancy GPlus, Roxburgh had an excellent vantage point, and here he offers a stellar cast of sources, drawn from those closest to Putin and Western leaders. Their accounts make this is a valuable book." - European Voice
About the Author
Angus Roxburgh is one of Britains most distinguished foreign correspondents. An author and renowned journalist, he was the Sunday Times Moscow correspondent in the 1980s until he was expelled from the Soviet Union in a tit-for-tat espionage row. He returned in the 1990s and was the BBCs Moscow correspondent during the Yeltsin years. Subsequently, he worked as an advisor and speechwriter for Putins communications team, a role which gave him unrivalled access to the Kremlins inner circle. He is the author of The Second Russian Revolution and Pravda: Inside the Soviet News Machine.