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Russia Without Putin

Money, Power and the Myths of the New Cold War

Tony Wood



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02 July 2020
It is impossible to think of Russia today without thinking of Vladimir Putin. More than any other major national leader, he personifies his country in the eyes of the outside world, and dominates Western media coverage. In Russia itself, he is likewise the centre of attention for detractors and supporters alike. But as Tony Wood argues, in order to understand Russia today, the West needs to shake off its obsession with Putin and look at what lies beyond the Kremlin, to see Russia without Putin.

In this timely and provocative analysis, Wood looks beyond Putin to explore the profound changes Russia has undergone since 1991. He shows that Russia is not strong but desperately trying to create a space for itself in an increasingly globalized and competitive world, Putin's reign is based on very thin ice; he is highly dependent on a small handful of powerful men who prop him up. Beyond the rich suburbs of Moscow, Russia is a country that is only surviving because of what remains of the soviet economy and culture rather than being held back by it.

Wood reconsiders what kind of country has emerged from Russia's post-Soviet transformations. The introduction of the market in the 1990s was a failure than descended into kleptocracy. He shows that the revival of a new cold war is a myth. Russia's incursions into Syria, Ukraine and questions of collusion into western states are a sign of desperation rather than agression. Russia without Putin culminates with reflections on the paths Russia might take in the 21st century following Putin's re-election in March 2018. How will he placate the oligarchs who control the economy and how will he manage his succession, and protect his legacy?
By:   Tony Wood
Imprint:   Verso
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm, 
Weight:   368g
ISBN:   9781788731256
ISBN 10:   1788731255
Pages:   224
Publication Date:   02 July 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Tony Wood lives in New York and writes on Russia and Latin America. A member of the editorial board of New Left Review, he is previously the author of Chechnya: The Case for Independence (2007), and his writing has appeared in the London Review of Books, the Guardian, n+1 and The Nation, among other places.

Reviews for Russia Without Putin: Money, Power and the Myths of the New Cold War

Critiquing the West's obsession with Vladimir Putin's cool calculation and prickly machismo, ' [Russia Without Putin] offers a more searching appraisal of the institutions that buttress his Presidency, the aspirations that galvanize his supporters, and the forces that drive his capitalist economy. --New Yorker In Russia Without Putin, Tony Wood dares to violate stock conventions by asking not just what Russia would look like if we looked beyond its figurehead, but if we saw Russia as it really was: an intermediate world power held together by an unsustainable economic and political model, and with several potential crises looming on the horizon ... A crucial contribution. --Branko Marcetic, Jacobin The title of this excellent book ... seems to echo the slogan that was chanted in Moscow in 2012 by crowds calling for regime change. In reality, it is a challenge to them and their western supporters for being so fixated on Putin and his personality that they fail to understand that he bestrides a system that is deeply entrenched and will easily survive him. --Jonathan Steele, The Guardian Tony Wood masterfully readjusts the lens through which we see contemporary Russia. This lucid, concise book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the economic, social, and political factors that have made Russia what it is today, and that will shape Russia's future. --Sophie Pinkham, author of Black Square: Adventures in the Post-Soviet World Tony Wood is the best and most eloquent writer on Russia that we have. A book from him on the deep dynamics of the entire post-Soviet era, free of obsession with the personality of Putin, is nothing less than a gift. --Keith Gessen, author of A Terrible Country Tony Wood brings a cool eye and analytical acuity to a systematically misrepresented subject. The result is a concise book that is continuously startling in its revelations, and sobering in its reminders of the vast tracts of Russian experience that paranoid commentary about the country has disregarded. --Pankaj Mishra, author of Age of Anger There are few journalistic books about Russia that take its complexity seriously enough not to fall back on simplistic, essentialist, or Orientalist frameworks. Russia Without Putin is unquestionably one of them. The interpretation it develops should already have been the baseline for a larger discussion, instead of a desperate response to a debate about the Putin menace that has come entirely unmoored from reality. [Russia Without Putin] is not only praiseworthy but vital. --Greg Afinogenov, Bookforum Given the hysterical climate surrounding Vladimir Putin's power in Russia and the wider world, the publication of a book entitled Russia without Putin brings fresh air to a debate spoiled by stereotypes and fashionable brands of Russia and Putin The Bloody Dictator. Russia without Putin should be recommended to anybody interested in understanding contemporary Russia- and, in particular, a more nuanced analysis of the country's social reality. -OpenDemocracy A brilliantly written book. In a compact but analytically deep way, Tony Wood covers the major issues of post-Soviet Russia politics, economy, class structure, opposition protests, internationa conflicts, and future prospects. He debunks many myths popular in media and among pundits, and makes a compelling argument that the main Russian problems are not about Putin. --Volodymyr Ishchenko, sociologist (Kiev) Convincing and cool-headed account of the Putin phenomenon. --Herald Russia without Putin draws on contemporary Russian film and literature with such agility that it leaves most other accounts of the Putin years feeling impoverished and hidebound by comparison. --Thomas Meaney, American Affairs Seeks to debunk several common misconceptions about Russia and its relations with the rest of the world . . . [his] central message: don't focus too much on Putin-the system over which he presides is more important, and it can outlast him. - Maria Lipman, Foreign Affairs concise and powerfully written new book on contemporary Russia attempts to wean the reader from a diet of `Putinology'... essential reading not just for Russophiles (and Russophobes) but for anyone interested in how the marketization of post-socialist Europe has continuing, and often negative, consequences. - Max Holleran, Public Books

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