outspoken critics of Putin and the corruption of the ex-KGB and gangster run former Soviet Union. Anna stood out in particular for her expose of the bloody genocide in Chechnya. This mother of two was gunned down outside her apartment. There are plenty of contenders for her would be assasins. If you want to know who or why read this book!
Putins Russia is a grim portrayal of an increasingly desperate nation. A nation with all of the faults of its communist precursor, and then add some, and none of its virtues. Putin's Russia has not been published in Russia. It's banned.
Anna's style is very human. There is nothing remote or academic about this book, because it deals with real people and their mostly brutal lives. Each chapter is a little cameo of some part of the struggle for existence in the Russian Federation where laws, it seems, mean nothing. Judges are in the pay of organized crime whose bribes grease the wheels of the beaurocrats. It's a nation that oozes corruption and brutality.
In chapter One, "My County's Army, and It's Mothers" Anna details the terrible and brutal lives of the Russian Federation's conscript Army, a law completely unto itself, who officers steal from, beat, humiliate, use as slave labour and even kill its soldiers with virtually no accountability. It's as if to say "If this is how the Russian Federation treats its own, how will it treat others!
In Chapter Two gives us a glimpse of exactly that as she open the can of worms of war crimes and terrible abuses suffered by the Chechen peoples at the hands of Russia's army, and where she details the sick and brutal rape and murder of a Chechen girl Elza Kungaeva by a Russian tank commander Colonel Budanov and the farcical trial that follows.
Chapter Three and Five describes how much life had changed for some after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"How to Misappropriate Property with the Connivance of the
Government" gives an insight into exactly how thoroughly corrupt
Russian society has become. The scenes described in the chapter are so fantastic it might be taken out a movie! It is clear that what is going in Russia on bears little semblance to anything that could be
called civil society. We are introduced to the turf wars of organized crime as
two gangs battle it out for control of a factory, each supported by a different
part of the state apparatus which is under the pay of each consecutive gang.
She details the rise of Pashka Fedulev, from small time bootlegger to big time
industrialist and "entrepreneur", and his side kick policeman Nikolai
Ovchinnikov who rises along side him to the exulted position of Deputy Minister of Internal
Affairs and Head of the Central Agency for Combating Organized Crime, a position to which he was appointed
by Putin himself!
In Chapter six where Anna details the siege and horrific gassing of the hostages Dubrovka theatre in Moscow. 200 of the 800 hostages are killed. Not by the Chechen hostage-takers, but in fact by the gas used by the Russian Special Forces. As gas picked by Putin himself! Not to mention the on the spot execution of the hostage takers.
In the last Chapter Anna tires to answer a question:
"Why do I so dislike Putin?"
"....this precisely why. I dislike him for a matter-of-factness worse that felony, for his cynicism, for his racism, for his lies, for the gas he used in the Nord-Ost siege, for the massacre of the innocents (she is referring to Chechnya) which went on throughout his first term as President.
This is how I see it. Others have different views. The killing of children has not put people off trying to have Putin's period in office extended to ten years. This is being done creating new pro-Putin youth movements...
In Russia we have had leaders like with this outlook before. It lead to tragedy, to bloodshed on a huge scale, to civil wars. I want no more of that. That is why I so dislike this typical Soviet Chekist as he struts down the red carpet in the Kremlin on his way to throne of Russia."