Since the fall of communism, Russia has witnessed a dramatic struggle between old and new, continuity and change. Corruption and violence have plagued society. Most people have benefited little from the new capitalist order. But positive changes are evident. Russians can speak and act more freely in a state that no longer intrudes on their privacy. They are able to travel abroad, enjoy unprecedented access to information from around the world, and organize and campaign for improvement in their living conditions.
In this engrossing account Robert Service traces the formation of the new Russia from the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 to the present. He paints a fascinating picture of a people in metamorphosis. In wide-ranging discussions on topics from Kremlin politics to rock music and macroeconomics to contemporary poetry, Service takes us inside to witness the changes from both the top down and the bottom up. He examines the reforms of the Yeltsin and Putin administrations in the context of the complex communist legacy, deftly interweaving political history, intellectual thought, and popular consciousness to illuminate the real difficulties Russia has faced on its rocky path to reform.
For the second time in less than a century, the Russians have been engaged in a fundamental reshaping of their society, and the results will prove of vital importance to the global community. Robert Service has provided a valuable and engaging guide to their recent remarkable journey.