SOCIAL SCIENCES

In Putin's Footsteps: Searching for the Soul of an Empire Across Russia's Eleven Time Zones

St. Martin's. Feb. 2019. 320p. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9781250163233. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250163240. POL SCI
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Khrushcheva (international affairs, New Sch. Univ.;$SPACE$The Lost Khrushchev) along with author and expat Tayler (Siberian Dawn) journey across Russia, meeting locals from Moscow to Kamchatka and discussing the current state of the nation at every stop. More travelog than focused narrative, their search illuminates the mind-set of ordinary Russians and the post-Soviet experience. Their subjects are diverse, often in unfamiliar cities, and their landscape is cluttered with factories, monuments, pollution, and massive civic projects. Public infrastructure deteriorates, but the "punitive organs" are well funded. Things work, if with difficulty, and the people seem willing to express their opinions with guarded openness. The authors muse over the many cultural aspects borrowed from the West and the deep appetite for national strength and respect. In the end, they describe Russia as a diverse neo-Eastern Christian empire whose inhabitants continue to support Putin's imperial ambitions.
VERDICT For students of the vast country, this is a verbose and complex narrative that will find a place in large subject collections

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