Putin’s Rise to Power and the Creation of a KGB-Run State

Putin's People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West, by Catherine Belton You in the West, you think you’re playing chess with us. But you’re never going to win, because we’re not following any rules. Vladimir Putin seemingly came out of the shadows to run Russia and he's managed to... Continue Reading →

“Ghost Stories” and the New Russian Illegals

Russians Among Us, by Gordon Corera (Amazon / Book Depository) In July 2010, on the tarmac of the Vienna International Airport, the biggest spy swap since the Cold War took place. Ten Russian undercover agents who had been living in the US, some representing a new era in espionage by using their own names instead... Continue Reading →

The Wild, Wonderful World of Couchsurfing in Russia

Book review: Behind Putin's Curtain, by Stephan Orth (Amazon / Book Depository) Hamburg-based journalist Stephan Orth has written several books about his global couchsurfing adventures in unconventional locales. Orth brings a certain cheerful openness and humorous curiosity to his adventuring, and of the touristic method of couchsurfing, he mentions that it offers "the mutual gift... Continue Reading →

What Makes the Russians Tick

Book review: Russians, by Gregory Feifer "Russia has no need of sermons (she has heard too many), nor of prayers (she has mumbled them too often), but of the awakening in the people a feeling of human dignity, lost for so many ages in mud and filth." - Vissarion Belinsky on the Russian Orthodox Church in a letter to... Continue Reading →

Vignettes from a Communist Childhood

Book review: The Girl from the Metropol Hotel, by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya Book Depository Ludmilla Petrushevskaya is one of contemporary Russia's most loved and accoladed author/playwrights, famous for her books of "scary fairytales"(There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby) and "love stories" (There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband and He... Continue Reading →

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