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Tony Wood: Putin’s Russia, 5 February 2015

‘Sistema’, Power Networks and Informal Governance 
by Alena Ledeneva.
Cambridge, 327 pp., £19.99, February 2013, 978 0 521 12563 5
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The Man without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin 
by Masha Gessen.
Granta, 314 pp., £9.99, January 2013, 978 1 84708 423 1
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Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia? 
by Karen Dawisha.
Simon and Schuster, 464 pp., £11.50, September 2014, 978 1 4767 9519 5
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... of a turn away from free market capitalism towards a statist model. In The Man without a Face, Masha Gessen concluded that Putin’s goal was a steady and deliberate ‘transformation of Russia back into the USSR’, while in Putin’s Kleptocracy, Karen Dawisha insisted, in more excitable vein, that we need to understand his rule as the triumph of a ...

Death-Qualified

Gary Indiana: The Brothers Tsarnaev, 9 September 2015

The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy 
by Masha Gessen.
Riverhead, 273 pp., £18.45, April 2015, 978 1 59463 264 8
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... the death-qualifying age, so to speak, is 18. Unlike several recent books on the marathon bombing, Masha Gessen’s The Brothers is uninflected by consoling homilies, Manichean narrative framing or civic propaganda. Gessen’s is a superlative work of reporting that locates the Boston atrocity and the Tsarnaevs in the ...

A Short History of the Trump Family

Sidney Blumenthal: The First Family, 16 February 2017

... circle of family, friends and flunkies, bearing little resemblance to a modern corporation. As Masha Gessen put it in the New York Review of Books, borrowing from the Hungarian sociologist Bálint Magyar, the ‘post-communist mafia state’ is ‘run like a family by a patriarch who distributes money, power and favours’. Usually, the ...

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