Edward Lucas and The New Cold War

This blurb is actually long overdue I must say. Back in the autumn 07 Edward Lucas who is correspondent and scribe at the Economist in charge of Russian and Eastern European matters posted on his blog about a new book he had just finished entitled the New Cold War. As part of the ensuing comments, praises and congratulations I promised that I would blurb it here at Alpha.Sources once it was published. The book has been on the shelves for a while now and in that light I am moving in a bit late although, I have to say, not all the book launching events have occurred yet. In any case, when I came home from school the other day and embarked on the cumbersome yet necessary task of rearranging the piles of papers and books on my desk I stumbled upon one of the classics in terms of contemporary Russian history, Orlando Figes' Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia.This then made me think about Edward Lucas' book and how I'd better keep my promise. Better late than never I guess.

I have to immediately confess that I have not yet read the book but I plan to once this semester ends leaving me the energy to actually read other stuff than various derivatives of math masked as contributions to the dismal science. Yet, I am most confident in providing a strong recommendation to beat me to it in terms of putting in an order for Edward's book. As can be confirmed by following the links above Edward devotes an entire website to it and the following is how the book is presented ...

Russia’s vengeful, xenophobic, and ruthless rulers have turned the sick man of Europe into a menacing bully. The rise to power of Vladimir Putin and his ex-KGB colleagues coincided with a tenfold rise in world oil prices. Though its incompetent authoritarian rule is a tragic missed opportunity for the Russian people, Kremlin, Inc. has paid off the state’s crippling debts and is restoring its clout at home and abroad. Inside Russia it has crushed every constraint, muzzling the media, brushing aside political opposition, castrating the courts and closing down critical pressure groups. The murders in 2006 of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya in Russia, and the British citizen Aleksandr Litvinenko, highlight the danger faced by anyone who stands in the Kremlin’s way.

In eastern Europe, vulnerable and ill-run, and even in the complacent rich democracies, Russia is subverting the institutions of state and buying up the commanding heights of the economy.

It should be immediately clear here that Putin and his version of Russia as it has emerged since his accession to power are in for a hefty critique. I don't suspect that it matters much for Putin but for the rest of us I am certain that the story is worthwhile to tune into. The reviews and more advanced blurbs constitute a veritable platinum plate for Edward's book and it looks as a very comprehensive piece of work judged by the reception. To name but a few ... 

'Edward Lucas is the foremost British expert on contemporary Russia. His book is an outstanding piece of research and a testimony to its author's thorough knowledge and understanding of Russia in general, and its last seventeen years in particular. I doubt if any Russian academic would have been able to write such a work, since both a healthy distance from its subject and a penetrating sideways look are needed.' The Literary Review


‘Edward Lucas has written a brilliant and profoundly disturbing study of modern Russia.  It is the history of rediscovered authoritarianism and the stunning brutality with which the KGB elite returned to power.  It is also the story of how Western venality and political credulity made this possible and placed the security of Europe at risk.  Above all, this is the tale of how President Putin methodically destroyed the vestiges of democracy in Russia and launched a New Cold War against the West.  It is difficult to overstate the importance of Edward Lucas's latest work for US and European policymakers.’—Bruce P. Jackson, President, Project on Transitional Democracies.

Leaving you with these most convincing shoulder paddings I thus invite you to pull forth the credit cards and visit your favorite online book store. Oh and by the way, I am in no way affiliated with the book even if it may appear so from this blurb.