The Invention of Russia

The Invention of Russia
Author: Arkady Ostrovsky
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9780399564185
Available:
Release: 2016-06-07
Editor: Penguin
Language: un

Explanation of the Book:

WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE WINNER OF THE CORNELIUS RYAN AWARD FINALIST FOR THE LIONEL GELBER PRIZE FINANCIAL TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR “Fast-paced and excellently written…much needed, dispassionate and eminently readable.” —New York Times “Filled with sparkling prose and deep analysis.” –The Wall Street Journal The breakup of the Soviet Union was a time of optimism around the world, but Russia today is actively involved in subversive information warfare, manipulating the media to destabilize its enemies. How did a country that embraced freedom and market reform 25 years ago end up as an autocratic police state bent once again on confrontation with America? A winner of the Orwell Prize, The Invention of Russia reaches back to the darkest days of the cold war to tell the story of Russia's stealthy and largely unchronicled counter revolution. A highly regarded Moscow correspondent for the Economist, Arkady Ostrovsky comes to this story both as a participant and a foreign correspondent. His knowledge of many of the key players allows him to explain the phenomenon of Valdimir Putin - his rise and astonishing longevity, his use of hybrid warfare and the alarming crescendo of his military interventions. One of Putin's first acts was to reverse Gorbachev's decision to end media censorship and Ostrovsky argues that the Russian media has done more to shape the fate of the country than its politicians. Putin pioneered a new form of demagogic populism --oblivious to facts and aggressively nationalistic - that has now been embraced by Donald Trump.

The Invention of Russia

The Invention of Russia
Author: Arkady Ostrovsky
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781782397410
Available:
Release: 2015-09-17
Editor: Atlantic Books Ltd
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE 2016 REVISED AND UPDATED EDITION How did a country that embraced freedom over twenty-five years ago end up as an autocratic police state bent once again on confrontation with the West? In this Orwell Prize-winning book, Arkady Ostrovsky reaches back to the darkest days of the Cold War to tell the story of Russia's stealthy and largely unchronicled post-Soviet transformation. Ostrovsky's knowledge of many of the key players allows him to explain the rise of Vladimir Putin and to reveal how he pioneered a new form of demagogic populism. In a new preface he examines Putin's influence on the US election and explores how his methods - weaponizing the media and serving up fake news - came to enter Western politics.

The Invention of Russia

The Invention of Russia
Author: Arkady Ostrovsky
Pages: 374
ISBN: 9780399564178
Available:
Release: 2015
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

"A highly original narrative history by The Economist's Moscow bureau chief that does for modern Russia what Evan Osnos did for China in The Age of Ambition. The end of communism and breakup of the Soviet Union was a time of euphoria around the world, but Russia today is violently anti-American and dangerously nationalistic. So how did we go from the promise of those heady days to the autocratic police state of Putin's new Russia? The Invention of Russia is a breathtakingly ambitious book that reaches back to the darkest days of the Cold War to tell the story of the fight for the soul of a nation. With the deep insight only possible of a native son, Arkady Ostrovsky introduces us to the propagandists, oligarchs and fixers who have set Russia's course since the collapse of the Soviet Union, inventing a new and more ominous identity for a country where ideas are all too often wielded like a cudgel"--PRovided by publisher.

Children of Rus

Children of Rus
Author: Faith Hillis
Pages: 348
ISBN: 9780801469251
Available:
Release: 2013-11-27
Editor: Cornell University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

In Children of Rus’, Faith Hillis recovers an all but forgotten chapter in the history of the tsarist empire and its southwestern borderlands. The right bank, or west side, of the Dnieper River—which today is located at the heart of the independent state of Ukraine—was one of the Russian empire’s last territorial acquisitions, annexed only in the late eighteenth century. Yet over the course of the long nineteenth century, this newly acquired region nearly a thousand miles from Moscow and St. Petersburg generated a powerful Russian nationalist movement. Claiming to restore the ancient customs of the East Slavs, the southwest’s Russian nationalists sought to empower the ordinary Orthodox residents of the borderlands and to diminish the influence of their non-Orthodox minorities. Right-bank Ukraine would seem unlikely terrain to nourish a Russian nationalist imagination. It was among the empire’s most diverse corners, with few of its residents speaking Russian as their native language or identifying with the culture of the Great Russian interior. Nevertheless, as Hillis shows, by the late nineteenth century, Russian nationalists had established a strong foothold in the southwest’s culture and educated society; in the first decade of the twentieth, they secured a leading role in local mass politics. By 1910, with help from sympathetic officials in St. Petersburg, right-bank activists expanded their sights beyond the borderlands, hoping to spread their nationalizing agenda across the empire. Exploring why and how the empire’s southwestern borderlands produced its most organized and politically successful Russian nationalist movement, Hillis puts forth a bold new interpretation of state-society relations under tsarism as she reconstructs the role that a peripheral region played in attempting to define the essential characteristics of the Russian people and their state.

The Invention of Mikhail Lomonosov

The Invention of Mikhail Lomonosov
Author: Steven Usitalo
Pages: 298
ISBN: 1618111957
Available:
Release: 2013
Editor: Unknown
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

This study explores the evolution of Lomonosov's imposing stature in Russian thought from the middle of the eighteenth century to the closing years of the Soviet period. It reveals much about the intersection in Russian culture of attitudes towards the meaning and significance of science, as well as about the rise of a Russian national identity, of which Lomonosov became an outstanding symbol. Idealized depictions of Lomonosov were employed by Russian scientists, historians, and poets, among others, in efforts to affirm to their countrymen and to the state the pragmatic advantages of science to a modernizing nation. In setting forth this assumption, Usitalo notes that no sharply drawn division can be upheld between the utilization of the myth of Lomonosov during the Soviet period of Russian history and that which characterized earlier views. The main elements that formed the mythology were laid down in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; Soviet scholars simply added more exaggerated layers to existing representations.

The Invention of Exile

The Invention of Exile
Author: Vanessa Manko
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9780698146440
Available:
Release: 2014-08-14
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Austin Voronkov is many things. He is an engineer, an inventor, an immigrant from Russia to Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1913, where he gets a job at a rifle factory. At the house where he rents a room, he falls in love with a woman named Julia, who becomes his wife and the mother of his three children. When Austin is wrongly accused of attending anarchist gatherings his limited grasp of English condemns him to his fate as a deportee, retreating with his new bride to his home in Russia, where he and his young family become embroiled in the Civil War and must flee once again, to Mexico. While Julia and the children are eventually able to return to the U.S., Austin becomes indefinitely stranded in Mexico City because of the black mark on his record. He keeps a daily correspondence with Julia, as they each exchange their hopes and fears for the future, and as they struggle to remain a family across a distance of two countries. Austin becomes convinced that his engineering designs will be awarded patents, thereby paving the way for the government to approve his return and award his long sought-after American citizenship. At the same time he becomes convinced that an FBI agent is monitoring his every move, with the intent of blocking any possible return to the United States. Austin and Julia's struggles build to crisis and heartrending resolution in this dazzling, sweeping debut. The novel is based in part on Vanessa Manko's family history and the life of a grandfather she never knew. Manko used this history as a jumping off point for the novel, which focuses on borders between the past and present, sanity and madness, while the very real U.S.-Mexico border looms. The novel also explores how loss reshapes and transforms lives. It is a deeply moving testament to the enduring power of family and the meaning of home.

The Future Is History

The Future Is History
Author: Masha Gessen
Pages: 528
ISBN: 9780698406209
Available:
Release: 2017-10-03
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

WINNER OF THE 2017 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN NONFICTION FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS WINNER OF THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY'S HELEN BERNSTEIN BOOK AWARD NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2017 BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, LOS ANGELES TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, BOSTON GLOBE, SEATTLE TIMES, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, NEWSWEEK, PASTE, and POP SUGAR The essential journalist and bestselling biographer of Vladimir Putin reveals how, in the space of a generation, Russia surrendered to a more virulent and invincible new strain of autocracy. Award-winning journalist Masha Gessen's understanding of the events and forces that have wracked Russia in recent times is unparalleled. In The Future Is History, Gessen follows the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Each of them came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children and grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own--as entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers, and writers, sexual and social beings. Gessen charts their paths against the machinations of the regime that would crush them all, and against the war it waged on understanding itself, which ensured the unobstructed reemergence of the old Soviet order in the form of today's terrifying and seemingly unstoppable mafia state. Powerful and urgent, The Future Is History is a cautionary tale for our time and for all time.

Assignment Moscow

Assignment Moscow
Author: James Rodgers
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9780755601165
Available:
Release: 2020-06-25
Editor: Bloomsbury Publishing
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

The story of western correspondents in Russia is the story of Russia's attitude to the west. Russia has at different times been alternately open to western ideas and contacts, cautious and distant or, for much of the twentieth century, all but closed off. From the revolutionary period of the First World War onwards, correspondents in Russia have striven to tell the story of a country known to few outsiders. Their stories have not always been well received by political elites, audiences, and even editors in their own countries-but their accounts have been a huge influence on how the West understands Russia. Not always perfect, at times downright misleading, they have, overall, been immensely valuable. In Assignment Moscow, former foreign correspondent James Rodgers analyses the news coverage of Russia throughout history, from the coverage of the siege of the Winter Palace and a plot to kill Stalin, to the Chernobyl explosion and the Salisbury poison scandal.

The Unlikely Futurist

The Unlikely Futurist
Author: James Rann
Pages: 280
ISBN: 9780299328108
Available:
Release: 2020
Editor: Publications of the Wisconsin
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

In the early twentieth century, a group of writers banded together in Moscow to create purely original modes of expression. These avant-garde artists, known as the Futurists, distinguished themselves by mastering the art of the scandal and making shocking denunciations of beloved icons. With publications such as "A Slap in the Face of Public Taste," they suggested that Aleksandr Pushkin, the founder of Russian literature, be tossed off the side of their "steamship of modernity." Through systematic and detailed readings of Futurist texts, James Rann offers the first book-length study of the tensions between the outspoken literary group and the great national poet. He observes how those in the movement engaged with and invented a new Pushkin, who by turns became a founding father to rebel against, a source of inspiration to draw from, a prophet foreseeing the future, and a monument to revive. Rann's analysis contributes to the understanding of both the Futurists and Pushkin's complex legacy. The Unlikely Futurist will appeal broadly to scholars of Slavic studies, especially those interested in literature and modernism.

Lonely Ideas

Lonely Ideas
Author: Loren Graham
Pages: 216
ISBN: 9780262317399
Available:
Release: 2013-09-13
Editor: MIT Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

An expert investigates Russia's long history of technological invention followed by commercial failure and points to new opportunities to break the pattern. When have you gone into an electronics store, picked up a desirable gadget, and found that it was labeled “Made in Russia”? Probably never. Russia, despite its epic intellectual achievements in music, literature, art, and pure science, is a negligible presence in world technology. Despite its current leaders' ambitions to create a knowledge economy, Russia is economically dependent on gas and oil. In Lonely Ideas, Loren Graham investigates Russia's long history of technological invention followed by failure to commercialize and implement. For three centuries, Graham shows, Russia has been adept at developing technical ideas but abysmal at benefiting from them. From the seventeenth-century arms industry through twentieth-century Nobel-awarded work in lasers, Russia has failed to sustain its technological inventiveness. Graham identifies a range of conditions that nurture technological innovation: a society that values inventiveness and practicality; an economic system that provides investment opportunities; a legal system that protects intellectual property; a political system that encourages innovation and success. Graham finds Russia lacking on all counts. He explains that Russia's failure to sustain technology, and its recurrent attempts to force modernization, reflect its political and social evolution and even its resistance to democratic principles. But Graham points to new connections between Western companies and Russian researchers, new research institutions, a national focus on nanotechnology, and the establishment of Skolkovo, “a new technology city.” Today, he argues, Russia has the best chance in its history to break its pattern of technological failure.

The Red Web

The Red Web
Author: Andrei Soldatov,Irina Borogan
Pages: 384
ISBN: 9781610395748
Available:
Release: 2015-09-08
Editor: Hachette UK
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

A Library Journal Best Book of 2015 A NPR Great Read of 2015 The Internet in Russia is either the most efficient totalitarian tool or the device by which totalitarianism will be overthrown. Perhaps both. On the eighth floor of an ordinary-looking building in an otherwise residential district of southwest Moscow, in a room occupied by the Federal Security Service (FSB), is a box the size of a VHS player marked SORM. The Russian government's front line in the battle for the future of the Internet, SORM is the world's most intrusive listening device, monitoring e-mails, Internet usage, Skype, and all social networks. But for every hacker subcontracted by the FSB to interfere with Russia's antagonists abroad -- such as those who, in a massive denial-of-service attack, overwhelmed the entire Internet in neighboring Estonia -- there is a radical or an opportunist who is using the web to chip away at the power of the state at home. Drawing from scores of interviews personally conducted with numerous prominent officials in the Ministry of Communications and web-savvy activists challenging the state, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan peel back the history of advanced surveillance systems in Russia. From research laboratories in Soviet-era labor camps, to the legalization of government monitoring of all telephone and Internet communications in the 1990s, to the present day, their incisive and alarming investigation into the Kremlin's massive online-surveillance state exposes just how easily a free global exchange can be coerced into becoming a tool of repression and geopolitical warfare. Dissidents, oligarchs, and some of the world's most dangerous hackers collide in the uniquely Russian virtual world of The Red Web.

Hiding in Plain Sight

Hiding in Plain Sight
Author: Sarah Kendzior
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781250245397
Available:
Release: 2020-04-07
Editor: Flatiron Books
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Instant New York Times Bestseller Washington Post Bestseller USA Today Bestseller Indie Bound Bestseller Authors Round the South Bestseller Midwest Indie Bestseller New York Times bestselling author Sarah Kendzior documents the truth about the calculated rise to power of Donald Trump since the 1980s and how the erosion of our liberties made an American demagogue possible. The story of Donald Trump’s rise to power is the story of a buried American history – buried because people in power liked it that way. It was visible without being seen, influential without being named, ubiquitous without being overt. Sarah Kendzior’s Hiding in Plain Sight pulls back the veil on a history spanning decades, a history of an American autocrat in the making. In doing so, she reveals the inherent fragility of American democracy – how our continual loss of freedom, the rise of consolidated corruption, and the secrets behind a burgeoning autocratic United States have been hiding in plain sight for decades. In Kendzior’s signature and celebrated style, she expertly outlines Trump’s meteoric rise from the 1980s until today, interlinking key moments of his life with the degradation of the American political system and the continual erosion of our civil liberties by foreign powers. Kendzior also offers a never-before-seen look at her lifelong tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time – living in New York through 9/11 and in St. Louis during the Ferguson uprising, and researching media and authoritarianism when Trump emerged using the same tactics as the post-Soviet dictatorships she had long studied. It is a terrible feeling to sense a threat coming, but it is worse when we let apathy, doubt, and fear prevent us from preparing ourselves. Hiding in Plain Sight confronts the injustice we have too long ignored because the truth is the only way forward.

On the Periphery of Europe 1762 1825

On the Periphery of Europe  1762   1825
Author: Andreas Schönle,Andrei Zorin
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9781609092412
Available:
Release: 2018-11-16
Editor: Cornell University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Throughout the eighteenth century, the Russian elite assimilated the ideas, emotions, and practices of the aristocracy in Western countries to various degrees, while retaining a strong sense of their distinctive identity. In On the Periphery of Europe, 1762–1825, Andreas Schönle and Andrei Zorin examine the principal manifestations of Europeanization for Russian elites in their daily lives, through the import of material culture, the adoption of certain social practices, travel, reading patterns, and artistic consumption. The authors consider five major sites of Europeanization: court culture, religion, education, literature, and provincial life. The Europeanization of the Russian elite paradoxically strengthened its pride in its Russianness, precisely because it participated in networks of interaction and exchange with European elites and shared in their linguistic and cultural capital. In this way, Europeanization generated forms of sociability that helped the elite consolidate its corporate identity as distinct from court society and also from the people. The Europeanization of Russia was uniquely intense, complex, and pervasive, as it aimed not only to emulate forms of behavior, but to forge an elite that was intrinsically European, while remaining Russian. The second of a two-volume project (the first is a multi-authored collection of case studies), this insightful study will appeal to scholars and students of Russian and East European history and culture, as well as those interested in transnational processes.

The Electrification of Russia 1880 1926

The Electrification of Russia  1880   1926
Author: Jonathan Coopersmith
Pages: 174
ISBN: 9781501705366
Available:
Release: 2016-11-01
Editor: Cornell University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

The Electrification of Russia, 1880–1926 is the first full account of the widespread adoption of electricity in Russia, from the beginning in the 1880s to its early years as a state technology under Soviet rule. Jonathan Coopersmith has mined the archives for both the tsarist and the Soviet periods to examine a crucial element in the modernization of Russia. Coopersmith shows how the Communist Party forged an alliance with engineers to harness the socially transformative power of this science-based enterprise. A centralized plan of electrification triumphed, to the benefit of the Communist Party and the detriment of local governments and the electrical engineers. Coopersmith’s narrative of how this came to be elucidates the deep-seated and chronic conflict between the utopianism of Soviet ideology and the reality of Soviet politics and economics.

Putinomics

Putinomics
Author: Chris Miller
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9781469640679
Available:
Release: 2018-02-08
Editor: UNC Press Books
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

When Vladimir Putin first took power in 1999, he was a little-known figure ruling a country that was reeling from a decade and a half of crisis. In the years since, he has reestablished Russia as a great power. How did he do it? What principles have guided Putin's economic policies? What patterns can be discerned? In this new analysis of Putin's Russia, Chris Miller examines its economic policy and the tools Russia's elite have used to achieve its goals. Miller argues that despite Russia's corruption, cronyism, and overdependence on oil as an economic driver, Putin's economic strategy has been surprisingly successful. Explaining the economic policies that underwrote Putin's two-decades-long rule, Miller shows how, at every juncture, Putinomics has served Putin's needs by guaranteeing economic stability and supporting his accumulation of power. Even in the face of Western financial sanctions and low oil prices, Putin has never been more relevant on the world stage.

Russian Monarchy

Russian Monarchy
Author: Richard Wortman
Pages: 332
ISBN: 1618112589
Available:
Release: 2013
Editor: Unknown
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

'Russian Monarchy: Representation and Rule' is devoted to studies of the political culture of Russian monarchy and how it influenced various aspects of Russian historical development such as law, representations of family, and concepts of nation and of empire. The articles in this book show how the narratives described in the author's two volume 'Scenarios of Power' guided monarchical rule and shaped the thought patterns not only of the tsar and the imperial family but of the political, social, and cultural elite through whom he ruled and set the parameters of compromise that so constrained the policies of imperial Russia.

Breaking Things at Work

Breaking Things at Work
Author: Gavin Mueller
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9781786636775
Available:
Release: 2021-02-09
Editor: Verso
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

An exhilarating challenge to the way we think about work, technology, progress, and what we want from the future In the 19th century, English textile workers responded to the introduction of new tecnologies on the factory floor by smashing them to bits. For years 'the Luddites' roamed the English countryside, practicing drills and maneuvers that they would later deploy on unassuming machines. The movement has been derided by scholars as a backwards-looking and ultimately ineffectual effort to stem the march of history; for Gavin Mueller, the movement gets at the heart of of the antagonistic relationship between workers - all workers, including us today - and the so-called progressive gains secured by new technologies. The luddites weren't primitive or even anachronistic - they are still a force, however unconsciously, in the workplaces of the 21st century world. Breaking Things at Work is an innovative rethinking of labor and machines, leaping from textile mills to algorithms, from existentially threatened knife cutters of rural Germany to surveillance evading truckers driving across the continental United States. Mueller argues that the future stability and empowerment of working class movements will depend on subverting these technologies and preventing their spread wherever possible. The task is high, but the seeds of this resistance are already present in the Neo-Luddite efforts of hackers, pirates, and dark web users who are challenging surveillance and control, often through older systems of communication technology.

The New Russia

The New Russia
Author: Mikhail Gorbachev
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781509503919
Available:
Release: 2016-06-08
Editor: John Wiley & Sons
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

After years of rapprochement, the relationship between Russia and the West is more strained now than it has been in the past 25 years. Putin’s motives, his reasons for seeking confrontation with the West, remain for many a mystery. Not for Mikhail Gorbachev. In this new work, Russia’s elder statesman draws on his wealth of knowledge and experience to reveal the development of Putin’s regime and the intentions behind it. He argues that Putin has significantly diminished the achievements of perestroika and is part of an over-centralized system that presents a precarious future for Russia. Faced with this, Gorbachev advocates a radical reform of politics and a new fostering of pluralism and social democracy. Gorbachev’s insightful analysis moves beyond internal politics to address wider problems in the region, including the Ukraine conflict, as well as the global challenges of poverty and climate change. Above all else, he insists that solutions are to be found by returning to the atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation which was so instrumental in ending the Cold War. This book represents the summation of Gorbachev’s thinking on the course that Russia has taken since 1991 and stands as a testament to one of the greatest and most influential statesmen of the twentieth century.

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible
Author: Peter Pomerantsev
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9780571340446
Available:
Release: 2017-09-21
Editor: Faber & Faber
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

A journey into the glittering, surreal heart of 21st century Russia: into the lives of Hells Angels convinced they are messiahs, professional killers with the souls of artists, bohemian theatre directors turned Kremlin puppet-masters, supermodel sects, post-modern dictators and oligarch revolutionaries. This is a world erupting with new money and new power, changing so fast it breaks all sense of reality, where life is seen as a whirling, glamorous masquerade where identities can be switched and all values are changeable. It is home to a new form of authoritarianism, far subtler than 20th century strains, and which is rapidly expanding to challenge the global order. An extraordinary book - one which is as powerful and entertaining as it is troubling - Nothing is True and Everything is Possible offers a wild ride into this political and ethical vacuum.

Material Culture in Russia and the USSR

Material Culture in Russia and the USSR
Author: Graham H. Roberts
Pages: 280
ISBN: 9781000181746
Available:
Release: 2020-05-28
Editor: Routledge
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Material Culture in Russia and the USSR comprises some of the most cutting-edge scholarship across anthropology, history and material and cultural studies relating to Russia and the Soviet Union, from Peter the Great to Putin.Material culture in Russia and the USSR holds a particularly important role, as the distinction between private and public spheres has at times developed in radically different ways than in many places in the more commonly studied West. With case studies covering alcohol, fashion, cinema, advertising and photography among other topics, this wide-ranging collection offers an unparalleled survey of material culture in Russia and the USSR and addresses core questions such as: what makes Russian and Soviet material culture distinctive; who produces it; what values it portrays; and how it relates to 'high culture' and consumer culture.