Understanding Russian Politics

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Overview

A fresh, authoritative interpretation of Russian politics by a leading authority, this textbook focuses on political developments in the world's largest country under Putin and Medvedev. Using Russian language sources, it covers economic, social and foreign policy, and the 'system' of politics that has developed in recent years. Opposing arguments are presented and students are encouraged to reach their own judgements on key events and issues such as privatisation and corruption. This textbook tackles timely topics such as gender and inequality issues; organised religion; krizis; and Russia's place in the international community. It uses numerous examples to place this powerful and richly-endowed country in context, with a focus on the place of ordinary people which shows how policy is translated to Russians' everyday lives.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
‘Stephen White’s thoroughly researched, well crafted, and parsimonious text is the best single overview I have encountered of the politics of contemporary Russia. It shows how Russia’s post-communist system has stabilized, largely in an authoritarian mold, without yet being frozen in that mold.’
- Timothy J. Colton, Chair of the Department of Government, Harvard University

‘In this outstanding contribution, Stephen White presents a masterly analysis of contemporary Russian politics. Based on a close reading of the Russian press as well as by a lifetime devoted to the study of the country, White provides a dispassionate account of the controversial leaderships of Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin, allowing us to see their rule in the broader context of the forces shaping Russian politics. This is an outstanding account that is essential reading for students and anyone interested in contemporary Russia.’
- Richard Sakwa, Professor of Russian and European Politics, University of Kent

‘Well-informed, well-written, and copiously documented, Stephen White’s latest book is an impressive (and disturbing) portrayal of politics and society in post-Soviet Russia’
- Archie Brown, Emeritus Professor of Politics at Oxford University and author of The Rise and Fall of Communism.

“Stephen White has long been one of the leading experts on the former Soviet Union and contemporary Russia, and here he has distilled much of his vast knowledge into a single volume that provides what is perhaps the best analysis of Russian politics available today…This is an excellent book that can be strongly recommended for both the serious student of Russia and the general interested reader.” –Peter Shearman, Webster University Thailand, POLITICAL STUDIES REVIEW

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521688611
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 482
  • Sales rank: 808,931
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen White is James Bryce Professor of Politics at the University of Glasgow and a Senior Associate Member of its School of Central and East European Studies. He is also Adjunct Professor of European Studies at the Johns Hopkins University Bologna Center and Visiting Professor at the Institute of Applied Politics in Moscow. His most recent books include the edited collections Developments in Russian Politics 7 (2010), Media, Culture and Society in Putin's Russia (2008) and Politics and the Ruling Group in Putin's Russia (2008).

Biography

Anyone who has ever tried his or her hand at writing has surely heard the sage advice "write what you know." Stephen White has most-assuredly taken that bit of wisdom to heart in creating his thrilling series of Alan Gregory novels. A clinical psychologist, White has crafted a character with a similar background that has also benefited from his fifteen years of professional practice.

White has been keeping fans of psychological thrillers on the edges of their seats ever since he published his first novel Privileged Information in 1991. The book introduced his literary alter ego Dr. Alan Gregory and made ample use of everything he'd gleaned while working as a practicing psychologist. "There are two benefits of my previous experience as a psychologist that I consider invaluable to my life as a writer," White revealed in an interview on his web site (www.authorstephenwhite.com). "The first is that my work gave me a chance to observe and study the infinite varieties of motivation that human beings have for their behavior. The other is that being a psychotherapist exposed me to dialogue in its purest form. For eight to ten hours a day over a period of fifteen years I had the privilege of sitting and listening to a wide variety of people just talk. I can't imagine a better training ground for writing dialogue."

As for how similar he truly is to his most-famous creation beyond their shared profession, White says, "The similarities don't exactly end there but there's no need to exaggerate them, either. Although neither of us is a model of mental health, his neuroses are different than mine. And he has advantages that I never had as a psychotherapist. First, he has the benefit of all my years of experience. And second, I get to think about his lines as long as I'd like. Real patients never offer that luxury." The resulting debut novel won rave reviews from the likes of The New York Daily News, Publisher's Weekly, and The Library Journal and established White as a writer to watch.

White followed Privileged Information with over a dozen additional installments of the Alan Gregory adventures. The latest may very well be the most exciting and psychologically provocative episode yet. In Kill Me, a happily-married extreme sports enthusiast and patient of Gregory's makes a deal with a clandestine organization called Death Angels Inc. that may very well bring his life to an untimely end. As always, Dr. Alan Gregory is present, but he plays more of a background role than he does in most of White's other novels. Still, fans of White's previous work will surely be captivated by the novel that Booklist has deemed "Bizarre, thrilling, and oh so much fun" and fellow bestselling writer Michael Connelly (Blood Work, The Closers) asserts is "his best yet."

In any event, White has no immediate plans of abandoning Gregory to write a non-series novel. "My series is commercially successful, thanks to all of you," he says. "As important for me as the commercial success is, the fact [is] that the series is also creatively flexible.... [I] anticipate staying with the series as long as the readers are interested..." If that's the case, then readers can expect the Dr. Alan Gregory to have a long and psychologically healthy life.

Good To Know

Contrary to the rumor mill, the Stephen White who created Alan Gregory is not the same Stephen White who has written a series of books about...ahem ... Barney the Purple Dinosaur. However, White admits that he has occasionally signed the other Stephen White's Barney books when asked to.

For those who are wondering what ever happened to the seemingly long-lost book Saints and Sinners, which was excerpted in Private Practices, you may have already read it without even realizing. Shortly before publication, the title Saints and Sinners was changed to Higher Authority. Some interesting outtakes from our interview with White:

"Jonathan Kellerman and I were colleagues in the early 1980's before either of us were novelists. At a time when our nascent field was very small, we were both psychologists specializing in the psychological aspects of childhood cancer. Jon was at Los Angeles Childrens Hospital. I was at The Children's Hospital in Denver."

"My brother is a better writer than I am."

"One of my first jobs was as a tour guide at Universal Studios. I lasted five weeks. That's two weeks longer than I lasted as a creative writing major during my freshman year at the University of California."

"I worked at Chez Panisse in Berkeley in 1971-72, running the upstairs café, waiting tables, and occasionally doing some cooking. Two of my bosses were Alice Waters and Jeremiah Tower. They both cook better than I write. Jeremiah actually writes better than I cook."

"I learned to fly an airplane before I learned to drive a car".

"I'm a lucky man. I've spent much of my adult life in two terrific, rewarding careers. In the first, as a clinical psychologist, I spent eight to twelve hours a day in a room with one other person. In the second, as a writer, I spend a similar number of hours a day in a room with no other person, though sometimes I'm blessed with the company of a dog or two."

"A primary difference between the two experiences? As a psychotherapist, only one other person -- my patient -- typically observed my work. Virtually no one ever critiqued it. As a novelist, literally millions of people observe my work, and most feel no compunction whatsoever about critiquing it. Being a writer is a lovely thing. But adapting to the reality of being read has been a constant source of wonder for me."

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    1. Hometown:
      Colorado
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 20, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      Long Island, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., UC Berkeley, 1972; M.A., University of Colorado, Boulder, 1975; Ph.D., 1979
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

1. From communist to postcommunist rule;
2. Voters, parties and parliament;
3. Presidential government;
4. From plan to market;
5. A divided society;
6. Changing times, changing values;
7. Russia and the wider world;
8. What kind of system?
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