This audiobook offers the first systematic analysis of Putin's two wars, placing the Second Chechen War and the War with Georgia of 2008 in their broader historical contexts. Drawing on extensive original Russian sources, Marcel H. Van Herpen analyzes in detail how Putin's wars were prepared and conducted and why they led to allegations of war crimes and genocide. He shows how the conflicts functioned to consolidate and legitimate Putin's regime and explores how they were connected to a third, hidden, "internal war" waged by the Kremlin against the opposition. The author convincingly argues that the Kremlin - relying on the secret services, the Orthodox Church, the Kremlin youth "Nashi", and the rehabilitated Cossacks - is preparing for an imperial revival, most recently in the form of a "Eurasian Union."
An essential book for understanding the dynamics of Putin's regime, this study digs deep into the Kremlin's secret long-term strategies. Clearly argued, it makes a compelling case that Putin's regime emulates an established Russian paradigm in which empire building and despotic rule are mutually reinforcing. As the first comprehensive exploration of the historical antecedents and political continuity of the Kremlin's contemporary policies, Van Herpen's work will make a valuable contribution to the literature on post-Soviet Russia, and his arguments will stimulate vigorous debate.
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Informative, let down by bad writing and narration
Yes, it's informative about Putin's motivations and the likely future developments of the region. Includes enough historical background, going back to Tsarist Russia and through the Soviet era, without overwhelming the focus on current events.
The book is let down by the writing and the narration. The author loves long convoluted sentences and showing off his vocabulary. This is aggravated by the overuse of foreign-language expressions. I expected to hear plenty of Russian phrases, but the author throws in French, Latin, German, Italian, even Dutch. For example phrases like "droit de regard" are repeated over and over without explanation; this is not common parlance in the English speaking world, so why not write it in English? Another example: the author refers to the Nazi SA as "Braunhemd"... why not simply "Brownshirts", a word that everybody knows?
As a result of this writing, the narrator is constantly twisting his mouth trying to achieve perfect pronunciation of French, German and Russian phrases, sometimes in the same sentence. He does a reasonable job most of the time, but it's very hard to listen to.
Unfortunately the narrator's pronunciation of Russian names and phrases is weakest. If he at least used the standard anglicized pronunciations of names that we typically hear on TV news, we might at least know whom he was talking about.
Somebody who has studied Russian.
- Neil Bartlett