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David Heinemeier Hansson (Co-Founder/Basecamp)With Russia fever at Defcon 2, I’ve made it about half-ways through the biography The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin. It’s a great refresher on post-WWII history, the cold war, KGB, but above all, on the forces present in Russia. There are many lines to draw between Russia’s struggles after the fall of Communism with the fundamental political theories of Fukuyama (Origins of Political Order / Political Order And Political Decay). When taken together, they lend an all the more human and sympathetic story to why things played out the way they did. While still appreciating just how immense the level of brokenness, corruption, and brutality that journey has brought with it.
In this gripping narrative of Putin's rise to power, Steven Lee Myers recounts Putin's origins--from his childhood of abject poverty in Leningrad to his ascent through the ranks of the KGB, and his eventual consolidation of rule in the Kremlin.
As the world struggles to confront a bolder Russia, the importance of understanding the formidable and ambitious Vladimir Putin has never been greater. On the one hand, Putin's many domestic reforms--from tax cuts to an expansion of property rights--have helped reshape the potential of millions of Russians whose only experience of democracy had been crime, poverty, and instability after the fall of the Soviet Union. On the other, Putin has ushered in a new authoritarianism--unyielding in its brutal repression of dissent and newly assertive politically and militarily in regions like Crimea and the Middle East. The New Tsar is a staggering achievement, a deeply researched and essential biography of one of the most important and destabilizing world leaders in recent history, a man whose merciless rule has become inextricably bound to Russia's forseeable future.
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