Baker and Glasser, The Washington Post's husband-and-wife team in Moscow from 2001 to 2004, are sharp-eyed and knowing. Having seen, felt, and tasted Putin's Russia, they paint with clear but somber strokes. Moscow is aglitter with the playthings of the rich and the indulgences of a swelling middle class, but elsewhere teachers face a new generation of students uncritical of Stalin and proud of Soviet power, military reformers fall to military leaders still fighting World War II, and advocates of modern jury-trial justice cannot make it past layers of prejudice and corruption. Amid all this, Putin comes off as captive to his KGB past, calculating and harsh in dealing with opposition, and readier to trifle with than to build democracy. Baker and Glasser have dug deeply and interviewed well and widely, offering on all the headline issues -- from the 2002 Moscow theater seizure and the 2004 Beslan school massacre to the Khodorkovsky case and the 2004 presidential election -- details available nowhere else.
Enjoy more high-quality articles like this one.
Become a subscriber.
- Paywall-free reading of new articles posted daily online and almost a century of archives
- Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
- Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions