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  • Kremlin Winter

  • Russia and the Second Coming of Vladimir Putin
  • By: Robert Service
  • Narrated by: Leighton Pugh
  • Length: 14 hrs and 46 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (47 ratings)

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Summary

Vladimir Putin has dominated Russian politics since Boris Yeltsin relinquished the presidency in his favour in May 2000. He served two terms as president, before himself relinquishing the post to his prime minister, Dimitri Medvedev, only to return to presidential power for a third time in 2012. Putin’s rule, whether as president or prime minister, has been marked by a steady increase in domestic repression and international assertiveness. Despite this, there have been signs of liberal growth and Putin – and Russia – now faces a far from certain future.

In Kremlin Winter, Robert Service, acclaimed biographer of Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky and one of our finest historians of modern Russia, brings his deep understanding of that country to bear on the man who leads it. He reveals a premier who cannot take his supremacy for granted, yet is determined to impose his will not only on his closest associates but on society at large. It is a riveting insight into power politics as Russia faces a blizzard of difficulties both at home and abroad.

©2019 Robert Service (P)2019 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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  • Overall
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Excellent study in Putin and Machiavellianism

Despite being one of the most high profile people on the world stage, Putin remains an enigma. Service attempts to shed some light on Putin, revealing the man to be a mass of contradictions, and certainly not the unreconstructed Stalinist many believe him to be.
Although the book primarily focuses on the second Presidency of Putin (2012-onward), Service provides some remarkable insight into Putin's personal history and a scope into what the man himself actually believes.
Although many would believe otherwise, today's Russia is not the sole work of Vladimir Putin, and his rise to the top was far from guaranteed. Putin could very well have been one of the various Prime Ministers hired and fired under Yeltsin, however, coming late in under the capricious Yeltsin's tenure, and having the personal qualities desired by Yeltsin for sturdy leadership, enabled him to eventually succeed to the paramount status of power he now occupies.
Service focuses upon most domestic and foreign policy issues concerning Russia, making this book a very good companion to understanding not just Putin himself, but the dynamics of today's Russia. Additionally, the book is a very good read for those wishing to understand Machiavellian politics, the politics of networks, and psychological manipulation.
In short, an excellent overview of current affairs highly recommended to anyone interested in either Putin, Russia, Geopolitics or Machiavellian wielding of power.
Additionally, the narration by Leighton Pugh remains compelling throughout.

1 person found this helpful

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Best analysis of Putin & today's Russian politics

Detailed and balanced, highly informed. Provides a rich picture of Putin's ambitions and his limitations.

1 person found this helpful

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Portrait of a weak and clumsy leader

I learned a lot about Putin from this book. Although Robert Service didn't actually say as much - his presentation of facts was good but his analysis was humdrum - it suggests that he's a weak leader who has only survived by reacting assertively and often clumsily to events around him.

He's a mile away from the evil genius puppet master he's painted as, and which the book's title implies.

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A balanced view.

Excellent thorough analysis for the non-expert. A detailed and relatively impartial discussion of the premiership of Putin. It paints a dark if not hopeless picture of the recent history of Russia prior to the second invasion of Ukraine. I would say its conclusions are a little over optimistic given current events but well worth listen.

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Absolutely outstanding analysis of Putin + Russia

Although completed in 2019, anyone who wants to understand the background to the Ukraine war will find all they need here. The book virtually prophesies what has now happened but more importantly provides the background to how we got here in quite amazing detail. I hope Robert Service's sheer expertise is now being used by those trying to assess where we go next. He would have the answers. Remarkably prescient and deeply impressive.