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The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia

The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia

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Hailed as "the most dramatic and comprehensive account" of the early years of Russian capitalism ( New York Times Book Review )

David Hoffman, former Moscow bureau chief for the Washington Post , sheds light onto the hiddenlives of Russia's most feared power brokers: the oligarchs. Focusing on six of these cunning and ruthless men--Alexander Smolensky, Yuri Luzhkov, Anatoly Chubais, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Boris Berezovsky, and Vladimir Gusinsky--Hoffman reveals how a few players rose to thepinnacle of Russia's new capitalism.

The oligarchs started small. Before perestroika, they lived the lives of Soviet citizens, stuck in a dead-end system, cramped apartments, and long bread lines. But as Communism loosened, they found gaps in the economy and reaped their first fortunes by getting their hands on fast money. As the government weakened and their businesses flourished, they grew greedier. The state auctioned off its own assets, and they grabbed the biggest oil companies,mines, and factories. They went on wild borrowing sprees, taking billions of dollars from gullible western lenders. When the ruble collapsed, the tycoons saved themselves by hiding their assets and running for cover. This is a saga of brilliant triumphs and magnificent failures, the untold story of how a rapacious, unruly capitalism was born out of the ashes of Soviet communism.