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Review Essay

What's the Matter With Russia?

Putin and the Soviet Legacy

In This Review

Ruling Russia: Authoritarianism from the Revolution to Putin
Ruling Russia: Authoritarianism from the Revolution to Putin
By William Zimmerman
Princeton University Press, 2014, 344 pp. $29.95 Purchase
Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991: A History
Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991: A History
By Orlando Figes
Metropolitan Books, 2014, 336 pp. $28.00 Purchase

 

Ruling Russia: Authoritarianism From the Revolution to Putin. BY WILLIAM ZIMMERMAN. Princeton University Press, 2014, 344 pp. $29.95.

Revolutionary Russia, 1891–1991: A History. BY ORLANDO FIGES. Metropolitan Books, 2014, 336 pp. $28.00.

On the way back from a recent visit to Ukraine, I found myself flying Aeroflot, Russia’s national airline. I’ve always liked Aeroflot’s international flights: the planes are new, everything’s clean, and maybe because of the airline’s less-than-­stellar reputation, the crew always seems to be trying extra hard to please. Nonetheless, on this particular trip, I had hoped to avoid Aeroflot; an airline half-owned by a government that had turned homophobia into a national project and then invaded Crimea could get its $600 from someone else. But AeroSvit, the flagship Ukrainian airline, had gone bankrupt and ceased operations in 2013, and there is no longer a direct flight from Kiev to New York.

So there I was on Aeroflot Flight 100 from Moscow

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