Take Ten: Russia Since 1991

The 2014 Olympics begin today in Sochi, Russia! This is the first time Russia has hosted the Games since the Soviet Union collapsed (and the first time American athletes have competed in Russia). Learn more about the changes to the political, economic, and social landscape of the new Russia with one of the books below.

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After the Collapse: Russia Seeks Its Place as a Great Power – Dimitri K. Simes

  • With an insider’s view, an expert on Russia and former foreign policy advisor to President Nixon argues that Russia is returning to the world stage as a great power and intends to resume a major role in international affairs. (Description from the TFPL catalog.)

Eight Pieces of Empire: A 20-Year Journey Through the Soviet Collapse – Lawrence Scott Sheets

  • A detailed chronicle of the collapse of the Soviet Union is told through a series of episodes and vignettes to explore personal, political, and historical contributing factors as well as its ongoing repercussions.

Expelled: A Journalist’s Descent into the Russian Mafia State – Luke Harding

  • Journalist Luke Harding, the first western reporter to be deported from Russia since the days of the Cold War, gives a personal and compelling portrait of Russia that – in its bid to remain a superpower – is descending into a corrupt police state.

It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past – David Satter

  • Satter shows why so many Russians actually mourn the passing of the Soviet regime that denied them fundamental rights. Through a wide-ranging consideration of attitudes toward the living and the dead, the past and the present, the state and the individual, Satter arrives at a distinctive and important new way of understanding the Russian experience.

Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the End of Revolution – Peter Baker

  • Two journalists for The Washington Post examine modern-day Russia, assessing the ways in which Vladimir Putin and his former KGB associates have shaped the country and threatened Russia’s chances for long-term democracy.

Lost and Found in Russia: Lives in a Post-Soviet Landscape – Susan Richards

  • Far from Moscow and St Petersburg, there lies another Russia. Overlooked by the new urban elites, in the great provincial hinterlands of the Volga River and Siberia, Russians struggle to reconcile their old traditions with the new ways of living. This title demonstrates how in Russia the past and the present cannot be separated.

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin – Masha Gessen

  • This is the chilling account of how a low-level, small-minded KGB operative ascended to the Russian presidency and, in an astonishingly short time, destroyed years of progress and made his country once more a threat to her own people and to the world.

Moscow, December 25, 1991: The Last Day of the Soviet Union – Conoe O’Clery

  • A suspenseful thriller of the Cold War’s final act: the internal power plays, the shifting alliances,the betrayals, the mysterious three colonels carrying the briefcase with the nuclear codes, and the jockeying to exploit the future.

The Return: Russia’s Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev – Daniel Treisman

  • Assesses modern-day Russia to consider such topics as whether the collapse of the Soviet Union was preventable, Yeltsin’s impact on political order, and Putin’s public popularity.

Waking the Tempests: Ordinary Life in the New Russia – Eleanor Randolph

  • From Moscow to the East, from the Arctic Circle to the southern farmlands, Randolph talks with young men and old women, doctors and conjurers, real estate brokers and newly converted businesswomen – all trying to cope in a world where the rules changed virtually overnight.

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