Not for the first time in the last two centuries, Russia leaves the world wondering about its destiny. In spite of the losses incurred when the Soviet Empire imploded, Russia is still an enormous country of ten time-zones; from Kaliningrad Oblast to Sakhalin, it is a land of vast empty spaces full of promise, with a population of more than 140 million - 15 million of them Muslim - looking at the crescent rising rather than the cross and the stars, suspecting that St George might not be their friend and protector. It is a power with vast military inventories, among them more than 10,000 nuclear weapons in various configurations, an energy giant whose oil reserves will last, at present rates of exploitation, for more than 30 years, and with natural gas for more than 180 years. There is also the old Russian cultural and geopolitical ambiguity between Europe and Asia and the new oscillation between weak elements of democracy and, invariably, strong elements of autocracy. Questions abound as to what constitutes Russia's national interest; especially now, as a result of the conflict in South Ossetia.
With Vladimir Putin no longer President, and after several years of rising oil and gas revenues, many Russians fear instability and insecurity. But the outside world, too, keeps wondering what will happen next. It is a defining moment for Russia, with far-reaching implications for the rest of the world. Professor Stuermer has observed at close quarters the former President as he steered his country out of the chaos of the post-Yeltsin years. His account is both authoritative and timely, and considers the future for a country striving to be, once again, a great power with global reach.
Buy Putin and the Rise of Russia book by Michael Sturmer from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(240mm x 159mm x 26mm)
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Country of Publication:
Author Biography - Michael Sturmer
Michael Stuermer is professor of history at the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard, the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, the Sorbonne, the University of Toronto and the Institute for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He has written and edited books on various subjects, including Europe and the Middle East.