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Kremlin Winter Reviews

Kremlin Winter by Robert Service

Kremlin Winter: Russia and the Second Coming of Vladimir Putin

Robert Service

4.00 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Picador
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication date: 3 Oct 2019
ISBN: 9781509882991

A riveting account of Vladimir Putin's second presidency

4 stars out of 5
1 Nov 2019

"A nuanced account of the president’s grip on power exposes Russia’s underlying weakness"

Service has written widely about revolutions. He knows that when regime change occurs in Russia, it happens with extraordinary speed and at an unpredictable time. It may seem highly unlikely today, but in the revolutionary age we are in now, stability is a fragile thing. It would be foolish to discount a world without Putin — and soon.


4 stars out of 5
1 Oct 2019

"This will make for comprehensive introductory reading for those new to the subject."

Robert Service’s new book touches on all these themes and more, attempting to explain such divergences by examining how the Russians themselves feel and think about Russia and the world. The book has many qualities, not least its ambitious breadth, covering domestic politics, foreign policy, economics and military matters. Although the book is framed as an analysis of Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012 – the ‘second coming’ of the title – Service, a historian, adds much background context, which is essential given the short-term focus of much contemporary discussion of Russia. Happily, he is not seduced, as so many others have been, by assertions that the deterioration of relations between Russia and the West represents some kind of ‘return to Cold War’ (it does not), or by the idea that Moscow has a ‘Gerasimov Doctrine’ (there is no such thing).

4 stars out of 5
Roger Boyes
29 Sep 2019

"in a piece of superb analysis, he sets out how Putin the man was swallowed up by the machine he created"

That makes for an important book, one that only a historian of Service’s calibre — he has written biographies of Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin — can carry off. It demands a forensic reconstruction of Putin’s record from the more hopeful days of his first presidential term in 2000, when it seemed sensible to have a former KGB officer as leader, to his present status as the Kremlin’s cynical caretaker.