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The Oligarchs: Wealth And Power In The New Russia Hardcover – Feb. 12 2002
David Hoffman, former Moscow bureau chief for The Washington Post, sheds light onto the hidden lives of Russia's most feared power brokers: the oligarchs. Focusing on six of these ruthless men Hoffman reveals how a few players managed to take over Russia's cash-strapped economy and then divvy it up in loans-for-shares deals.
Before perestroika, these men were normal Soviet citizens, stuck in a dead-end system, claustrophobic apartments, and long bread lines. But as Communism loosened, they found gaps in the economy and reaped huge fortunes by getting their hands on fast money. They were entrepreneurs. As the government weakened and their businesses flourished, they grew greedier. Now the stakes were higher. The state was auctioning off its own assets to the highest bidder. The tycoons go on wild borrowing sprees, taking billions of dollars from gullible western lenders. Meanwhile, Russia is building up a debt bomb. When the ruble finally collapses and Russia defaults, the tycoons try to save themselves by hiding their assets and running for cover. They turn against each other as each one faces a stark choice-annihilate or be annihilated.
The story of the old Russia was spies, dissidents, and missiles. This is the new Russia, where civil society and the rule of law have little or no meaning.
From Library Journal
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"an irresistible tale...one of the most vivid and well-researched accounts...of this tumultuous period in recent Russian history." -- Christian Caryl, Newsweek International Edition, March 11, 2002
"dramatic and comprehensive...What makes this account both devastating and entertaining is the way Hoffman has pieced it together..." -- New York Times Book Review, April 28, 2002
"one the most wide-ranging and sober...descriptions of the oligarchs during the painful past decade of change in Russia." -- Financial Times, March 23, 2002
- Publisher : PublicAffairs; 1st edition (Feb. 12 2002)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 576 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1586480014
- ISBN-13 : 978-1586480011
- Item weight : 994 g
- Dimensions : 16.51 x 4.45 x 24.77 cm
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Seth J. Frantzman
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But then after 7 or 8 chapters, each one detailing a particular Oligarch, it just became monotonous. I guess I expected more detail on their current wealthy life-styles?......
so I hate to admit it, but I abandoned the book half-way through. Life is too short, and there are too many really good books to be read, to bother struggling through books that no longer give pleasure or inspiration.
I think the author did lots of good research. It’s well written. But the monotony of a chapter of how each Oligarch made his wealth began to read like a text book. I do think the author explained at the beginning that this is how he would approach the topic, and promised that the later chapters would move onto another approach. But to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered. Have moved on to another book........
The real strength of the book is a conveying of how it actually felt in Russia at that time (the abuses and the corruption); the simple but major errors made (such as the refusal to see the rouble was heading for a dramatic devaluation) and the government's (both centrally and via different agencies and state banks) naivete in letting a small elite continually profit at the expense of the majority.
While the book is rapidly being taken over by recent events under Putin with the recent imprisonment in 2003 of Khodorovsky who was one of the few survivors by the end of this book, hopefully the writer will attempt a sequel in bringing this masterpiece fully up to date.