Jan 02, 2016rpavlacic rated this title 4.5 out of 5 stars
What we see in the media about the level of corruption, suppression of individual freedoms, targeted assassinations and rigging of elections in Russia - only scratches the surface. In this book the author tracks the unlikely rise of a failed deputy mayor of St. Petersburg to KGB chief, prime minister and president in just 3½ years; how Putin rewarded his childhood friends with plum positions they weren't entitled to; and how the economy has been plundered with the firesale of state assets at prices well below market value. The writer notes that Russia still doesn't have the start of an interstate highway system while China has built a comprehensive network of freeways across its country over the last ten years. The fact Russia ranks high in corruption indices and low in levels of "freedom" (5.5 on a scale of 7) is further proof what started out as a promising future for Russia under Gorbachev and Yeltsin, hapless as they may have been, has been totally squandered. This book is must reading for anyone who wants to know just how much of a threat Russia is, no matter how devalued the ruble becomes.