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Who Lost Russia?: How the World Entered a New Cold War
     

Who Lost Russia?: How the World Entered a New Cold War

by Peter Conradi
 

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"A smart, balanced analysis of the internal developments that have shaped Russia’s course since the break-up of the Soviet Union."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Balanced and timely … a smooth narrative that provides welcome context for Russia’s recent revanchist behavior and insight into prospects for ongoing U.S.-Russian

Overview

"A smart, balanced analysis of the internal developments that have shaped Russia’s course since the break-up of the Soviet Union."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Balanced and timely … a smooth narrative that provides welcome context for Russia’s recent revanchist behavior and insight into prospects for ongoing U.S.-Russian relations."

—★Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Meticulously lays out the record, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Vladimir Putin... A cold-eyed examination of recent Russian history that seems to show that there was never a solid plan to integrate Russia into the West.”
Kirkus Reviews

When the Soviet Union collapsed on December 26, 1991, it looked like the start of a remarkable new era of peace and co-operation. Some even dared to declare the end of history, assuming all countries would converge on enlightenment values and liberal democracy.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Russia emerged from the 1990s battered and humiliated; the parallels with Weimar Germany are striking. Goaded on by a triumphalist West, a new Russia has emerged, with a large arsenal of upgraded weapons, conventional and nuclear, determined to reassert its national interests in the ‘near abroad’ — Chechnya, Georgia and Ukraine — as well as fighting a proxy war in the Middle East. Meanwhile, NATO is executing large-scale maneuvers and stockpiling weaponry close to Russia’s border.

In this provocative new work, Peter Conradi argues that we have consistently failed to understand Russia and its motives and, in doing so, have made a powerful enemy.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Rajan Menon
Conradi wisely examines the forest's contours, avoiding the trees. He writes engagingly and enlivens his smart, balanced analysis with colorful anecdotes…Conradi [discusses] the West's missteps, but he also focuses on the internal developments that shaped Russia's course. And he is attentive to Russians' views…
Publishers Weekly
★ 02/27/2017
In this balanced and timely work, Sunday Times foreign editor Conradi (The Great Survivors) charts the complex and turbulent course of U.S.-Russia relations since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., and investigates how the end of the Cold War failed to result in either conciliation or superpower cooperation. Working from exclusive interviews with principal players and assorted other sources, Conradi details how occasional moments of tentative cooperation—arms control deals, post-9/11 collaboration, the Iran nuclear deal—have masked a relationship fraught with tension, fundamentally different perspectives, and mutual misunderstandings. Russia’s primary sources of concern include NATO’s “relentless march eastward,” the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, perceived American political malfeasance in former Soviet territories, and Washington’s insistence on a U.S.-centered unipolar world order that ignores Russia’s desire to be treated respectfully and “as an equal.” Such factors, Conradi argues, contributed to Russia’s “sense of humiliation and encirclement.” The U.S. has taken issue with Russian President Putin’s growing domestic authoritarianism and “newfound assertiveness” abroad: intervention in Georgia, support for separatists in Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea, and a role in the Syrian Civil War. Conradi blends these developments into a smooth narrative that provides welcome context for Russia’s recent revanchist behavior and insight into prospects for ongoing U.S.-Russian relations. Agent: Andrew Nurnberg, Andrew Nurnberg Associates (U.K.). (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"In this balanced and timely work, Sunday Times foreign editor Conradi (The Great Survivors) charts the complex and turbulent course of U.S.-Russia relations since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., and investigates how the end of the Cold War failed to result in either conciliation or superpower cooperation. Working from exclusive interviews with principal players and assorted other sources, Conradi details how occasional moments of tentative cooperation—arms control deals, post-9/11 collaboration, the Iran nuclear deal—have masked a relationship fraught with tension, fundamentally different perspectives, and mutual misunderstandings. Russia’s primary sources of concern include NATO’s “relentless march eastward,” the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, perceived American political malfeasance in former Soviet territories, and Washington’s insistence on a U.S.-centered unipolar world order that ignores Russia’s desire to be treated respectfully and “as an equal.” Such factors, Conradi argues, contributed to Russia’s “sense of humiliation and encirclement.” The U.S. has taken issue with Russian President Putin’s growing domestic authoritarianism and “newfound assertiveness” abroad: intervention in Georgia, support for separatists in Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea, and a role in the Syrian Civil War. Conradi blends these developments into a smooth narrative that provides welcome context for Russia’s recent revanchist behavior and insight into prospects for ongoing U.S.-Russian relations. "

—★ Publishers Weeky, Starred Review

"A systematic account of Russia's emergence from the wreckage of the Soviet Union with a renewed sense of authoritarian mission.There isn't really anybody to blame for "losing" Russia except for "its own creators." In this painstaking account, Sunday Times foreign editor Conradi (The Great Survivors: How Monarchy Made It into the Twenty-First Century, 2012, etc.) meticulously lays out the record, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Vladimir Putin. The author emphasizes that with the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russians were more preoccupied with their own economic viability than with political woes—a fair assessment considering the sudden collapse of price controls in the early 1990s and rise of hyperinflation. As privatization was carried out painfully in Russia under Boris Yeltsin, the West did not lend its aid in a gushing "new Marshall Plan." The minority countries formerly behind the Iron Curtain moved for independence, prompting military action in 1994 against Chechnya and a conflicted reaction by the Russian people and consternation by the Bill Clinton administration. The enlargement of NATO delighted the U.S. but alarmed the Russians, while the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and loss of Ukraine compounded Russia's isolation. Conradi notes that all Russia needed, at the end of Yeltsin's regime, was "a figure able to harness this sense of grievance and thirst for revenge," and Yeltsin handpicked his successor in former KGB officer Putin in late 1999. After assuming power, Putin gradually slid into old Soviet-style authoritarianism—e.g., the arrest and Siberian exile of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, head of the oil giant Yukos; the Russian storming of the school taken hostage in Beslan, North Ossetia, in September 2004; and the resistance to the detaching of Ukraine from Russia's orbit and invasion of Crimea in 2014, among other developments. Despite the "reset" button pushed by President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Putin has continued to show a desire to re-create the lost Soviet empire. A cold-eyed examination of recent Russian history that seems to show that there was never a solid plan to integrate Russia into the West."

—Kirkus Reviews

Library Journal
04/01/2017
Journalist Conradi (foreign editor, Sunday Times) has authored a fine narrative of postcommunist Russia's relations with the United States and Europe. Its subtitle implies comparisons with relations to the former Soviet Union, and surely they emerge. The geography of conflict still includes NATO, the Middle East, and Yugoslavia's successors. Russian President Vladimir Putin's foreign policy decisions seem no less challenged than those of Joseph Stalin, and Putin's legitimizing doctrine of "Eurasianism" packs the same anti-Western punch as communism once did. Conversely, the former organizing role of nuclear deterrence has diminished. The practice of summitry languishes, as successive U.S. administrations find thwarted initial attempts at better communications with the Kremlin. However, Conradi does not spare criticism of Western policy. Some readers might dispute his assertion that the "main reason" for Russia's Crimean annexation emerged from "fear" that NATO would expel Russia's Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol should Ukraine join the alliance. VERDICT While a balanced, detailed, and workman-like account of international politics over the last quarter century, this book is unlikely to be the last word on "the new cold war."—Zachary Irwin, Behrend Coll., Pennsylvania State Erie
Kirkus Reviews
2017-02-02
A systematic account of Russia's emergence from the wreckage of the Soviet Union with a renewed sense of authoritarian mission.There isn't really anybody to blame for "losing" Russia except for "its own creators." In this painstaking account, Sunday Times foreign editor Conradi (The Great Survivors: How Monarchy Made It into the Twenty-First Century, 2012, etc.) meticulously lays out the record, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Vladimir Putin. The author emphasizes that with the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russians were more preoccupied with their own economic viability than with political woes—a fair assessment considering the sudden collapse of price controls in the early 1990s and rise of hyperinflation. As privatization was carried out painfully in Russia under Boris Yeltsin, the West did not lend its aid in a gushing "new Marshall Plan." The minority countries formerly behind the Iron Curtain moved for independence, prompting military action in 1994 against Chechnya and a conflicted reaction by the Russian people and consternation by the Bill Clinton administration. The enlargement of NATO delighted the U.S. but alarmed the Russians, while the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and loss of Ukraine compounded Russia's isolation. Conradi notes that all Russia needed, at the end of Yeltsin's regime, was "a figure able to harness this sense of grievance and thirst for revenge," and Yeltsin handpicked his successor in former KGB officer Putin in late 1999. After assuming power, Putin gradually slid into old Soviet-style authoritarianism—e.g., the arrest and Siberian exile of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, head of the oil giant Yukos; the Russian storming of the school taken hostage in Beslan, North Ossetia, in September 2004; and the resistance to the detaching of Ukraine from Russia's orbit and invasion of Crimea in 2014, among other developments. Despite the "reset" button pushed by President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Putin has continued to show a desire to re-create the lost Soviet empire. A cold-eyed examination of recent Russian history that seems to show that there was never a solid plan to integrate Russia into the West.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781786070418
Publisher:
Oneworld Publications
Publication date:
04/11/2017
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
32,636
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"To understand what went wrong in Russia over the last few decades and the impact it has had on the world, one can’t find a better guide than this well researched and argued book – a must read for anyone interested in the future of Europe and the world as a whole."
—Serhii Plokhy, author of The Man with the Poison Gun and The Last Empire

"Nuanced yet fast-paced, this is the essential guide to our rocky relationship with a country we ignored at our peril. Russia is back at the top of the news: and this book couldn’t be more timely."
—Peter Pomerantsev, author of Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia

"The West has always struggled to comprehend the byzantine workings of Russia, not just during the Cold War but even more so in the post-communist era. This important book presents a crucial analysis of the rise of Putin and our continuing inability to read him. Few people are as well placed as Peter Conradi, who witnessed the collapse of Communist Russia 25 years ago first hand as a Moscow correspondent, to present such an important and revealing study as we approach the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. This is a book to which we all need to pay attention."
—Helen Rappaport, author of Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd 1917

"Peter Conradi takes a calm, considered look at developments in East–West relations that threaten to divide the world. In an era of inflamed partisan debate, he provides the historical context vital for a rational assessment of where we stand and where we are headed.’
—Martin Sixsmith, author of Russia: A 1,000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East

Meet the Author


Peter Conradi is the Foreign Editor of the Sunday Times. A fluent Russian speaker, Conradi witnessed the collapse of the USSR first-hand during his six years as foreign correspondent in Moscow. The author of Hitler's Piano Player, he is also co-author with Mark Logue of the best-selling book The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy, which inspired the Oscar-winning film of the same name.

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