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November 10, 2020 at 6:51 am #9732Betzua SalvaneraGuest
A Journey into the Real Russia
by Anne Garrels
- Language: english
- Format: hardcover, 228 pages
- Awards: Pushkin House Russian Book Prize Nominee for Shortlist (2017)
- Author: Anne Garrels
- Genres: russia, history, politics, travel, cultural, journalism, sociology
- ISBN: 9780374710439 (0374710430)
- Release date: March 15, 2016
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
About The Book
More than twenty years ago, when NPR correspondent Anne Garrels first visited Chelyabinsky — a gritty military-industrial center a thousand miles east of Moscow — her goal was to chart the aftershocks of the USSR’s collapse. Returning again and again, Garrels found that the city’s new freedoms and opportunities were both exciting and traumatic. As the economic collapse of the early 1990s abated, Chelyabinsky became richer and more cosmopolitan while official corruption and intolerance for minorities grew more entrenched. Sushi restaurants proliferated; so did shakedowns. In the neighboring countryside, villages crumbled into the ground. Far from the glitz of Moscow, the people of Chelyabinsk were working out their country’s destiny, person by person.
Putin Country crafts an intimate portrait of Middle Russia. We meet upwardly mobile professionals, impassioned activists who champion the rights of orphans and disabled children, and ostentatious mafiosi. We discover surprising subcultures, such as a vibrant underground gay community and a circle of determined Protestant evangelicals, and watch as doctors and teachers trying to cope with inescapable payoffs and institutionalized negligence. As Vladimir Putin tightens his grip on power and war in Ukraine leads to Western sanctions and a lower standard of living, the local population mingles belligerent nationalism with a deep ambivalence about their country’s direction. Drawing on close friendships sustained over many years, Garrels explains why Putin commands the loyalty of so many Russians, even those who decry the abuses of power they regularly encounter.
Garrels’s portrait of Russia’s silent majority is an essential corrective to the misconceptions of Putin’s supporters and critics alike, especially at a time when cold war tensions are resurgent.
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