A Russian Diary A Journalist's Final Account of a Country Moving BackwardBy Anna Politkovskaya
A devastating account of contemporary Russia by a great and brave writer. A Russian Diary is the book that Anna Politkovskaya had recently completed when she was murdered in a contract killing in Moscow. It covers the period from the Russian elections of December 2003 to the tragic aftermath of the Beslan school siege in late 2005. The book is an unflinching record of the plight of millions of Russians and a pitiless report on the cynicism and corruption of Vladimir Putin's presidency. She interviews people whose lives have been devastated by Putin's policies, including the mothers of children who died in the Beslan siege, those of Russian soldiers maimed in Chechnya then abandoned by the State, and of "disappeared" young men and women. Elsewhere she meets traumatized and dangerous veterans of the Chechen wars, and a notorious Chechen warlord in his fortified lair. Putin is re-elected as President in farcically undemocratic circumstances and yet Western leaders, reliant on Russia's oil and gas reserves, continue to pay him homage. Politkovskaya offers a chilling account of his dismantling of the democratic reforms made in the 1990s. She also criticizes the inability of liberals and democrats to provide a united, effective opposition and a population slow to protest against government legislative outrages. A Russian Diary is clear-sighted, passionate and marked with the humanity that made Anna Politkovskaya known to many as "Russia's lost moral conscience" and a heroine to readers throughout the world.