Blowing Up Russia by Yuri Felshtinsky, Alexander Litvinenko

Blowing Up Russia by Yuri Felshtinsky, Alexander Litvinenko – Terror from Within – is a 5 stars book without any doubt. It is dry and it deals with horrible topics, but it is a testament to what dictatorships can do, including to their own people. The west, after many generations of democracy can’t even imagine the freedom dictators have to use their people as pawns, as livestock, as they see fit. These people are just tools that can be used to make the rest subdue or as means for propaganda. It’s not as if they hate them, they are indifferent, exactly as someone who enjoys a steak… they don’t hate the cow, it’s just something insignificant.

This short book is about the so-called terror attacks carried out by the FSB to blame the Chechens so the Second Chechen War could start with full support of the masses. Well, being Russia, the support actually means support from Moscow and brainwashing of the rest of the country. I think everybody in UK knows the name of Alexander Litvinenko, he was poisoned in London. Yuri Felshtinsky, co-author, is a historian with a methodical approach. The book has so many primary sources, including newspapers such as Novaya Gazeta, which did not survive the invasion of Ukraine and was closed in March this year.

Blowing Up Russia by Yuri Felshtinsky, Alexander Litvinenko

The book deals with the bombings in Buynaksk, Moscow, and Volgodonsk which killed over 300 people and wounded over 1,000. Putin was Prime Minister and declared war on Chechnya. The three bombings that were successful were carried out in early September. The last attempt was made on 22nd September, but it failed. Nevertheless, on the 23rd Putin ordered the bombing of the Chechen capital. Afterwards FSB said that they were doing an exercise. If it doesn’t make sense is normal, that’s communism in practice. Regardless, the bombings were used as excuse to invade Chechnya, as if Russia was “attacked”. You can read what Stalin did in the 20s or Putin in last 20+ years and it’s pretty much the same. Also, you can read what Russians did in the 20s or this week… and it’s pretty much the same, again.

I highly recommend this book because of all the details it contains regarding what Russians are willing to do to their own people and covers a bit the genocide of Chechens. This copy was published in 2007, so before the invasions of Georgia and of Ukraine (2014). What I found striking is that, for all their talk of Russian culture, they display very little creativity when it comes to propaganda. Amazingly, it still works.

I’ve included this book in the category of politics because it should be required reading by any government advisor. But they didn’t and this is why Germany is now in such a dire state, and Austria, and France. This is why Hungary does what it does and why US elections are under threat. This book is more relevant to how Russians think than reading anything by Tolstoy.

Blowing Up Russia by Yuri Felshtinsky, Alexander Litvinenko

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: YES!
Published by: Gibson Square Books
Year it was published: 2007 (first published in 2002)
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): Politics
Pages: 316

About the author: Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko was a former officer of the Russian State security service, and later a Russian dissident and writer. He became a KGB officer in 1986, and two years later, was moved into the Military Counter Intelligence. He was promoted to the Central Staff, and specialised in counter-terrorism and infiltration of organised crime. Six years later, he was promoted to senior operational officer and deputy head of the Seventh Section of the FSB.
In November 1998, Litvinenko publicly accused his superiors of ordering the assassination of Russian tycoon and oligarch, Boris Berezovsky. Litvinenko was arrested the following March on charges of exceeding his authority at work. He was acquitted in November 1999 but re-arrested before the charges were again dismissed in 2000. A third criminal case began but he fled the country to the United Kingdom with his wife, where he was granted political asylum. During his time in London Litvinenko authored two books, Blowing up Russia: Terror from within and Lubyanka Criminal Group, where he accused Russian secret services of staging Russian apartment bombings and other terrorism acts to bring Vladimir Putin to power.
On 1 November 2006, Litvinenko suddenly fell ill and was hospitalized. He died three weeks later from lethal poisoning by radioactive polonium-210.

Yuri Felshtinsky is a historian who emigrated from USSR in 1978. He got his PhD in history from Rutgers University. He published various books on Russian history of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Website & Social Media Links: –

4 thoughts on “Blowing Up Russia by Yuri Felshtinsky, Alexander Litvinenko”

    • It’s not exactly a pleasant subject. Interesting, well researched and documented, but it doesn’t make for an easy read. I tend to read some pretty dark books, I know. 🙂

  • I think that we, here in the west, in fact probably in all democratic countries around the world, have been sleepwalking into a danger which they have only recently woken up to, and I still don’t think they fully appreciate the gravity of. The dictatorships of the world are becoming the dominant force and add to that, any countries which try to overthrow an autocracy, generally ends up in civil war. I almost think it is too late to turn things around, to prevent Democracy being doomed to failure and whilst the USA and Australasia should fear the Chinese, we here in Europe are at the mercy of a Russian State which is completely brainwashed, with a leader in Putin who knows no humanity or bounds to his depravity.

    • You are right about the dangers. The Eastern European countries told Germany again and again about their dependence on Russian gas. They ignored it because, well, they were bribed (Schröder got a job at Gasprom). That’s the real risk, democracy being derailed by corruption.

      I don’t agree about democracy in general. The good thing is that with everything being under scrutiny, even if some countries are in trouble (like Germany, Austria, and Hungary), the others are not. After 4 years of Trump people voted for Biden. Hopefully something similar can happen in those 3 countries too.
      Russia is loosing its influence. Their military was believed to be great, but it was not. Under the most conservative estimates, they lost so far 75,000 people which is incredibly high for only a few months of war. They had to deploy Wagner Group to the front line and those are taking in many casualties too, which will translate in less Wagners in Africa, propping up dictatorships there. Also, countries such as India decided to cancel some of their contracts for weapons supply as they saw that these are not as good as they were advertised.
      China, on the other hand, is weary about sanctions, which could hit them much harder than Russia because, unlike in Russia, their people are starting to enjoy a pretty nice lifestyle. Despite the rhetoric that they are staying together with Putin, China stopped investing in their One Belt One Road initiative.

      Russian invasion of Ukraine showed a few things, what is necessary for security, which includes local production of chips (something nobody though of before), that the west is united even if some individual states are paid-off by Russia, that US and Turkey are the best weapons manufacturers, although UK has some pretty good weapon systems too (NLAWs and Brimestone). Also, European countries in NATO started to think of actually meeting the 2% they should have for defence, as until now only UK was doing that.

      My hope is that Russia will loose much more of its military, both in terms of weapons and personnel (+ a destruction of Wagner Group too). This will make them less relevant and some of those who tried to overthrow dictators would be successful now. With more investment in security and weapons development in the west, hopefully things will start to change in Asia too. China is crippled by their stupid Zero-Covid policy, as they didn’t want to buy western made vaccines (which unlike theirs actually work great), so in a worse position to start wars. The west has the incredible advantage of democracy, a place where problems are taken out into the open, where people can question their politicians and their bosses and creativity and development flourishes. It might not be perfect, but we are humans, so it’s the best we can do.

      Sorry for the long reply. 🙂

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