Putin’s Russia by Anna Politkovskaya

I had high expectations from Putin’s Russia by Anna Politkovskaya. It was disappointing. Politkovskaya had a rather liberal russian approach, which is not particularly anti-imperialistic. I will use some quotes from the book to highlight what is wrong with this approach. Nevertheless, I would recommend the book because of its importance. She talks about the state of russia as it was in 2004, which is just as it is now, in 2024, with rampant corruption, kidnappings, extrajudicial killings, rape, and torture as normal.

Putin's Russia by Anna Politkovskaya

page 194 – ‘This elderly citizen lived alone, a veteran of the Second World War, one of those who freed the world from Nazism, with medals and a State pension.’ – Hmm… never ask a russian what they did between 17 September 1939 and 22 June 1941. This man, who was over 80 in 2002, might not have been part of the army while it was allied with Hitler, but he might have been, depending on how much over 80 he was and when he joined the military. A journalist writing in 2004 must have known about those 2 lost years of russian history.

page 201 – ‘He hopes when he has concluded his research to be able to give an academically grounded answer to the question that troubles him: in whose interests was it to undermine russia’s national security?’ – a man thinking that corruption is explained by the involvement of NATO or CIA, pretty QAnon-type of conspiracy theories there. Well, a journalist who spent their life on corruption could have figured out that individual greed is the answer. Nobody was aiming to invade russia, not when it was the ussr, not when it was the russian federation. russia is being busy invading other countries.

page 247 – ‘Timur was killed by ideology.’ – not really, he was killed by doctors and medical staff who refused to treat him because his name sounded Chechen, although he was a Tatar. Real people kill real people, not ideology.

page 269 – ‘I am a 45-year-old muscovite who observed the soviet union at its most disgraceful in the 1970s and 1980s’ – right… Because the 1930s were less disgraceful, starting with the killing of millions of Ukrainians by starving them (Holodomor), alongside other nationalities, although not in the moscow area. It continued with the purges of 1937-1938 where tens of millions were transported to the gulag or killed. The 1930s ended with a quick pact with the Nazi and invading Poland and Finland, while 1940 saw the invasion of the Baltic States. But yes… the 1970s and 1980s were unpleasant for moscovites, thus the most terrible part of ussr’s history.

I picked up the passages that were the most relevant to explain the 3 stars rating. The book shows a part of russia that not many talk about, including the liberal russians who are blaming putin for russia’s state. She did the same, ignoring that, even then it was russia’s putin and not, as she said, putin’s russia.

Putin’s Russia by Anna Politkovskaya

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 3/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: 2004
Year it was published: HARVILL PRESS
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): Politics
Pages: 302

About the author: Anna Politkovskaya was a russian journalist and human rights activist well-known for her opposition to the Chechen conflict and putin.
Politkovskaya made her name reporting from lawless Chechnya, where many journalists and humanitarian workers have been kidnapped or killed. She was arrested and subjected to mock execution by russian military forces there, and she was poisoned on the way to Beslan, but survived and continued her reporting.
She was shot dead in the elevator of her apartment building on putin’s birthday.
Website & Social Media Links: –

2 thoughts on “Putin’s Russia by Anna Politkovskaya”

  • After you noted the author had criticized Putin, I was not surprised to read on and see that she’d been killed. I’m sorry this one wasn’t as good as you’d hoped.
    Kelly recently posted…Bookmarks 2 and MaxMy Profile

    • The book is fine, the liberal russians are just as imperialistic as their counterparts, that’s the problem. Of course, in the west these liberal ones are the most problematic, because they create an idea of a better russia if only someone else was on top and not putin.
      The quote from page 269 is a perfect example of their views.

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