In Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West, investigative journalist and Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times Catherine Belton tells a dark tale of how Vladimir Putin rose to power and consolidated his rule. Belton traces how an alliance between Putin, the KGB, and organized crime came together in St. Petersburg and expanded its influence to the Kremlin, across Russia, and eventually reaching Western markets and institutions. Belton’s extensive research reveals how Russia’s president and his allies co-opted national industries to transform a collection of wealthy entrepreneurs into a kleptocracy aided by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), seizing control of the economy to enrich only themselves under the veneer of a renewed Russian nationalism. This compelling and contemporary account of Putin’s Russia paints a grim picture of a country where freedom, private enterprise, and liberalism are forced to take a back seat to crony capitalism.
Catherine Belton, author of Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West, discusses her new book alongside Philip Zelikow, White Burkett Miller Professor of History and J. Wilson Newman Professor of Governance at the University of Virginia; Clark Gascoigne, interim executive director of the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition; Casey Michel, New York-based writer and journalist covering trans-national corruption and money laundering, and author of the forthcoming book American Kleptocracy; and Dr. Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, who moderates the discussion.
The Kremlin and the Russian people
Russia was the dominant republic in the former Soviet Union and took tentative steps toward an open society and market economy in the 1990s. But during the early 2000s, under leader Vladimir Putin, its direction changed. At the end of the 1990s, this quasi-democracy pivoted to an authoritarian direction.
UkraineAlert Sep 20, 2021
Why we must not recognize Russia’s fraudulent election
Russia’s parliamentary elections failed to meet even the most basic democratic standards and served to illustrate the country’s slide into dictatorship under Vladimir Putin, says Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko
New Atlanticist Sep 17, 2021
How Russia made Apple and Google complicit in its internet crackdown
By Dylan Myles-Primakoff, Justin Sherman
Just as voting opened in Russia, Apple and Google deleted an app from their stores published by Alexei Navalny’s team designed to deliver candidate recommendations. Here’s why that signals an international problem.
UkraineAlert Sep 16, 2021
America must lead the international response to Russia’s human rights crisis
By Dave Elseroad
US President Joe Biden took an important step in Geneva towards supporting Russian human rights defenders. America must now follow this up with concrete action to punish Moscow’s abuses.
The Eurasia Center’s mission is to enhance transatlantic cooperation in promoting stability, democratic values and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe and Turkey in the West to the Caucasus, Russia and Central Asia in the East.