Resurrection: The Struggle for a New Russia

Resurrection: The Struggle for a New Russia

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by David Remnick
     
 

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Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Remnick chronicles the new Russia that emerged from the ash heap of the Soviet Union. From the siege of Parliament to the farcically tilted elections of 1996, from the rubble of Grozny to the grandiose wealth and naked corruption of today's Moscow, Remnick chronicles a society so racked by change that its citizens must daily ask

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Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Remnick chronicles the new Russia that emerged from the ash heap of the Soviet Union. From the siege of Parliament to the farcically tilted elections of 1996, from the rubble of Grozny to the grandiose wealth and naked corruption of today's Moscow, Remnick chronicles a society so racked by change that its citizens must daily ask themselves who they are, where they belong, and what they believe in. Remnick composes this panorama out of dozens of finely realized individual portraits. Here is Mikhail Gorbachev, his head still swimming from his plunge from reverence to ridicule. Here is Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the half-Jewish anti-Semite who conducts politics as loony performance art. And here is Boris Yeltsin, the tottering populist who is not above stealing elections. In Resurrection, they become the players in a drama so vast and moving that it deserves comparison with the best reportage of George Orwell and Michael Herr.

"This is what happens when a good writer unleashes eye and ear on a story that moves with the speed of light. Resurrection has the feel of describing vast, historical change even as it is happening."—Chicago Tribune

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Following his Pulitzer Prize-winning Lenin's Tomb, a report on the crack-up of the Soviet Union, "New Yorker" staff writer Remnick brilliantly plunges readers into the chaotic, supercharged milieu of Russia since Gorbachev's ouster in 1991. Rejecting gloomsayers' prophecies of anarchy or a return to hardline Communism, he declares that Russia's long-term prospects for stable democracy are promising, though the immediate future looks grim indeed-a prognosis he blames in no small measure on Boris Yeltsin's unwillingness to create a consensus for societal change and his opportunistic oscillation between democratic to nationalistic postures. The book is filled with fresh reportage and trenchant interviews with such figures as reactionary Vladimir Zhirinovsky, messianic free-market economist Yegor Gaidar, novelist and gadfly Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Moscow media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky and many others. Remnick illuminates the recent decline of Russia's newspapers and the emergence of state-controlled TV as the dominant news medium, the growth of both opportunity and inequality, the shrunken status of writers and intellectuals amid a paradoxical flowering of a politicized avant-garde. This is the most comprehensive book we have on post-Communist Russia.
Library Journal
In this follow-up to Lenin's Tomb (LJ 6/15/93), which focused on the collapse of the USSR, Remnick concentrates on the post-Soviet scene and its prospects. We meet a rich variety of personalities, some familiar, like Alexander Solzhenitsyn and "retired czar" Mikhail Gorbachev, and some largely unknown - like Vladimir Gusinsky, the most powerful member of the new emerging Muscovite elite. Boris Yeltsin figures crucially in Remnick's narrative, which paints vignettes about the "new Russia." Chaotic uncertainty, massive corruption, and crime are notoriously present, yet the possibility of a different, better life also beckons. The past is not encouraging, but Remnick ends on a tentatively hopeful note. This is an interesting, highly informative portrait of a country struggling toward a fateful future. Strongly recommended. - Robert H. Johnston, McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Ontario
Kirkus Reviews
It would be hard for "New Yorker" writer Remnick to do anything quite as good as his Pulitzer Prizewinning Lenin's Tomb (1993), but his study of Russia since 1991 shows all the restless intelligence, hard work, and fine writing that made that work so memorable. He begins with the meeting of leaders of 11 republics in December 1991 at which the Soviet Union was dissolved and Mikhail Gorbachev awarded a pension of $140 a month. Yeltsin, who drank heavily throughout, had to be helped from the room. From then on, for a time, Russia was bereft of leadership. Yeltsin relied on an inept group of hard-line cronies; eventually brought himself to act against a recalcitrant and rebellious parliament; presided over an increasingly corrupt state; got drawn into a war against the Chechens that his minister of defense told him would be over in two hours, but which eventually caused more than 80,000 casualties; and by early 1996 had a popularity rating in the single digits and was trailing the leader of the Communist Party, a hack by the name of Zyuganov. The most remarkable part of Remnick's account is his story of the Russian election of 1996 and the clash between Yeltsin cronies like Aleksandr Korzhakov, the head of his personal security, who wanted to cancel the election, and business and liberal advisers, who wanted to use "Western" methods, including spending money freely, to win. The decision to allow the election to go ahead may have rested on Yeltsin's uncertainty about the army's loyalty and his own wish to be seen as a force for good in history. Perhaps surprisingly, Remnick ends on a relatively optimistic note: "I see no reason," he says, "that Russia cannot make a break with itsabsolutist past much in the way that Germany and Japan did after the war." Full of memorable portraits of those he met, full of nuance, full of empathy with the Russians, this is a worthy successor to Lenin's Tomb.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375750236
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/1998
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
1,358,690
Product dimensions:
5.16(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.95(d)

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