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All the Kremlin's Men Hardcover – 15 Jan 2017
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Description for All the Kremlin's Men
"To those who believe that Vladimir Putin's rise to power followed an inexorable master plan of control, this book will come as a shock. Mikhail Zygar, editor-in-chief of Russia's only independent TV station, says everything that happens in Putin's Russia is tactics: 'a real-time response to external stimuli devoid of an ultimate objective.' Based on interviews with members of Putin's inner circle and with key actors in Russia today, Zygar charts the evolution of Vladimir Putin from a fan of the West to the West's nemesis, from reformer to what Zygar calls a 'hurt and introverted outcast.' Fifteen years after Putin came to power, many still are trying to answer the question 'Who is Mr. Putin?' Mikhail Zygar has some answers." --Jill Dougherty, Former CNN Anchor and Foreign Affairs Correspondent
"Mikhail Zygar is one of the heroes of Putin's Russia, courageously trying to practice honest journalism in a country where honesty increasingly has become an occupational hazard. He is uniquely qualified to take on the subject of Putin and his entourage, and he presents the story of the past 15 years in a way that punctures myths and opens our eyes to events we only thought we understood. He does so with inside reporting, insightful analysis and a cheerful refusal to treat pomposity with respect. --Fred Hiatt, Washington Post
"[All the Kremlin's Men] is absolutely riveting. I have the sense that Mikhail Zygar has gone more profoundly than any other into the deep roots of the Putin Empire. The work is truly brilliant!" --David Andelman, Editor and Publisher, World Policy Journal
"Mikhail Zygar's voice remains one of the most important ones in the rapidly deteriorating media freedom environment in Russia. As a reporter and later as editor-in-chief of Dozhd-TV, Mikhail has been a true advocate for quality journalism and high ethical standards. Anyone interested in journalism and free media should listen to his insights and vast experience. --Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE Representative on the Freedom of the Media
"[All the Kremlin's Men] is based on profound research, dozens and hundreds of interviews, and many years of attentive and thoughtful observation. All of that is deep within, and what the reader sees immediately is a 230-page story, bright, well-written, excellent text, truly an exciting piece of non-fiction adventure." --Galina Yuzefovich, literary critic, Meduza
"I read this book in one night, truly a page-turner. It leaves a profoundly scary impression: that's real 'House of Cards.'"--Lev Lurie, writer and historian
"Outside observers, especially those in the West, chronically and routinely overestimate Vladimir Putin's control over the system he runs. We look for grand strategy instead of immediate, tactical considerations. We look for a single, organizing mind instead of a hive of voices competing for his attention. Mikhail Zygar, one of Russia's smartest and best-sourced young journalists, provides a necessary corrective with his new book, All the Kremlin's Men: A Court History of 21st Century Russia. Mr. Zygar, editor of the independent news station TV Rain, obtained rare access to Kremlin insiders, piecing together a portrait of a 'collective Vladimir Putin' that is both less calculating-and more dangerous-than the singular strongman of our imagination."--Ellen Barry, New York Times
"Mikhail Zygar is a rare Russian journalist, objective, refusing to follow the herd, still holding the Putin era to account despite the obvious dangers. Knowing he could always follow many colleagues and activists into jail, hospital, or into the graveyard, Zygar persists nonetheless. He gets behind the propaganda machine in a unique series of in-depth off-the-record interviews with leading Russian politicians, policy makers and oligarchs including some from Putin's inner circle. A must read if anyone is to understand what Putin's game is." --Christiane Amanpour, CNN Chief International Correspondent
"...fascinating...[Mikhail] Zygar takes us deep into the secret world of the courtiers whose task is to shape Mr. Putin's access to information so that he makes the "right" decision..." --The Wall Street Journal
"Of the many accounts written about the Russian president, Mikhail Zygar's insider's guide to his court is one of the most compelling...The book charts not just the machinations of the various players...It also acutely traces the evolution of Putin's mind." --The Guardian
"A tale of Russian politics based on personalities, ego and ambition, rather than policy, convictions or ideology...The stream of court intrigue gives 'All the Kremlin's Men' the juicy allure of a Russian thriller." --The Economist
An extraordinary behind-the-scenes portrait of the court of Vladimir Putin since his ascent to the Russian presidency in 2000, and the many moods of modern Russia, from the country's most visible and independent journalist.See all Description for All the Kremlin's Men
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What sets this book aside from all other books on Putin's Russia is 3 things:
1. Approach --> it does not portray Russia as ruled by 1 man, but gives an actual insight in the power structures and factions that rule the Kremlin
2. Author --> The author himself is Russian - he is involved with independent Russian tv station TV Rain (and had to resign after publishing this book because if pressure from the Kremlin). He managed to get very close to many of the men in power at the Kremlin, giving a unique insight from within this very closed group of people & power, instead of reporting from a distance, as is usually the case with books like these.
3. Writing style --> every chapter starts with an anecdote about a powerful figure. These anecdotes are great storytelling, especially the ones on Chechnyan leader Ramzan Kadyrov and head of Rosneft Igor Sechin. Also, the writer clearly tries to maintain a certain neutrality in his writing, whereas most western journalists / writers (Myers, Pomerantsev) clearly write from a certain moral high ground.
It's very refreshing, original, and I definitely recommend the book.
A final big plus: there is a "Who is who" list included in the English version. A very welcome feature, especially for non-native Russian readers like me, for whom
complexity of the many Russian names might be a bit overwhelming sometimes.
The key facts came as no surprise to me: for Russia's corruption and violence, elite opulence and mass poverty, are known to all and sundry.
And yet, amongst the familiar broad brush strokes were a hundred small details that helped me to see Putin and Russia through the eyes of a compatriot.
My assessment of Putin in most ways remains unchanged, but I appreciate more deeply the difficulty of his situation and his fallibility.
The final words are in equal measure alarming and comforting: for I understand that Russia will survive qua Russia, and depending on whom you ask, that is either a very good or a very bad thing.