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Putin's Kremlin: How the West Misinterprets Modern Russia

Putin's Kremlin: How the West Misinterprets Modern Russia

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A timely account of Putin's presidency on the eve of his departure from office When President Vladimir Putin ascended to the Kremlin at the end of the 1990s, he had to struggle with the massive after-effects of Boris Yeltsin's political agenda: outrageous corruption, endless social injustice, and deeply entrenched interests dating back to Gorbachev and beyond. In short, Putin faced the daunting task of leveling out the residual politically unstable scene prevalent since the dramatic and unstable 1990s. Ordinary Russian citizens had been experiencing a looming and growing discontent over the political status in Russia. Stabilizing this turmoil, and working towards cleaning up the ubiquitous corruption that had been driving Post-soviet Russian life, were among Putin's primary stated aims and for this, the Russian people supported him wholeheartedly. When he had assumed power, however, many Kremlinologists were quick to condemn Putin. Among other things, they depicted him as an authoritarian and as a dishonest leader who maintained well-known links to the KGB. Many of these experts claimed that while many Russians supported the new Kremlin and Putin's leadership, that their approval actually paradoxically stemmed from the country's history of tyranny and an alleged inclination towards it rather than actual improvements. These theories permeated the West. Likewise, they have shaped the West's understanding of modern Russia and appear to be unshakeable in many cultural circles today. Political expert Bruno Sergi argues that readers need to know the complete story behind how Putin's presidency has been viewed within Russia by looking closely at the hard realities that conditioned Putin's policies and responses. Putin's Kremlin looks beyond the stereotypes to the hard logic of the 1990s, and asks a range of provocative questions about the disintegration of the old Soviet empire and the extraordinary riches that have caused so much opportunity and turmoil in recent years. Bruno Sergi demonstrates that Putin has achieved genuine positive results and has also made his share of tactical mistakes, while explaining why each of these has occurred. This is a much-needed book about the Kremlin's recent triumphs and failures, based on facts rather than the typical assumptions about Russians and their society.