The Litvinenko Inquiry: Report into the Death of Alexander Litvinenko
by Sir Robert Owen
When Sir Robert Owen’s much-anticipated report on the November 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB/FSB agent exiled in Britain, was released at London’s Gray’s Inn on the morning of January 21, most of those present probably turned immediately, as I did, to Part 9: “Who Directed the Killing?” …
Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva
by Rosemary Sullivan
Stalin: New Biography of a Dictator
by Oleg V. Khlevniuk, translated from the Russian by Nora Seligman Favorov
In her revealing biography of Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, Rosemary Sullivan portrays a woman who was never able to find herself. Her yearnings for a lifelong partner were never fulfilled and she was constantly disappointed in her choices of places to call home. Yet she carried on with determination until …
Zimnyaya Olimpiada v Subtropikakh. Nezavisimyi Ekspertnyi Doklad [Winter Olympics in the Subtropics: An Independent Expert Report]
by Boris Nemstov and Leonid Martynyuk
Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In and Out of Love with Vladimir Putin
by Ben Judah
When the Russian city of Sochi, on the Black Sea, was chosen as the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics in 2007, Vladimir Putin had every reason to be pleased. Russia was given a chance to show the world the accomplishments of his regime. Now that he is again Russia’s …
The Moscow Bombings of September 1999: Examinations of Russian Terrorist Attacks at the Onset of Vladimir Putin’s Rule
by John B. Dunlop
In 2000 Sergei Kovalev, then the widely respected head of the Russian organization Memorial, observed in these pages that the apartment bombings in Russia in September 1999, which killed three hundred people and wounded hundreds of others, “were a crucial moment in the unfolding of our current history. After the …
In a recent post on his website, referring to Putin’s supposed approval polling, Aleksei Navalny, the charismatic anti-corruption crusader who has declared himself a candidate for the Russian presidency, commented: “The celebrated 86 percent rating [of Putin] exists in a political vacuum. It’s like asking someone who was fed only rutabaga all his life, how would you rate the edibility of rutabaga?” He was arrested in late September. The Kremlin is tearing its hair out over Navalny because of the prospect that a day will come when the Russian people realize they are sick of rutabaga and demand something else.
As the sensational trial of former Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukaev continued this week in Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky District Court, it seemed more and more like a replay of the infamous show trials of the Stalin period—the charges bogus, the outcome predetermined. Ulyukaev is the first Kremlin minister to be charged with a crime while in office since 1953. While Ulyukaev’s case points to a conflict over power and resources within Putin’s elite, it is also a manifestation of a broader crackdown by Putin.
Vladimir Putin and Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov have long had a Faustian bargain. Putin counts on Kadyrov’s ruthlessness to keep potential unrest in his Muslim-majority republic, where the Kremlin has fought two wars, from coming to the surface. In return, the Kremlin funnels vast sums of money into Chechnya—by one estimate one billion dollars annually, much of which goes into Kadyrov’s own pocket. Kadyrov runs the republic as his personal fiefdom.
Reports in the Russian press suggest the Kremlin has been conducting an intensive purge of its FSB security service following intelligence leaks about Russian interference in the US election. Oleg Erovinkin, a top adviser to Igor Sechin, who is the most powerful member of Putin’s team and a central figure in intelligence reports about Trump, was found dead on December 26. Could Erovinkin have been a source for the now infamous dossier about Donald Trump’s ties with Russian government officials?