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Book details
  • Genre:POLITICAL SCIENCE
  • SubGenre:Essays
  • Language:English
  • Pages:127
  • eBook ISBN:9781620958728

Situating Putin

Why He’s Not Going Away and How That Matters

by William Sweet

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Overview
This is a rather old-fashioned book of essays. Its sole objective is to describe the character of Putin's political order as accurately as possible, and to spell out why and how Putinism is worrisome. The main essay evaluates Putinism in terms of notions like gangster state, petrostate, and neo-czarism. It concludes that Putinism, in essence, is about as close to fascist as a system can be without being expressly fascist. The fascist pulse could turn dangerous--a problem mainly for western Europe, which has had trouble coming to terms with the situation..
Description
This is a rather old-fashioned book of essays. Its sole objective is to describe the character of Putin's political order as accurately as possible, and to spell out why and how Putinism is worrisome. The main essay, while providing a summary account of how Putin came to power and consolidated his position as Russia's virtual dictator, evaluates Putinism in terms of the main models or metaphors that have been summoned up to explain it: gangsterism, patrimonialism, reversion to Communism or to "Communist totalitarianism," oil-centeredness, fascism, and repressive modernization. In varying degrees and different ways it finds some merit in most of those comparisons but concludes that Putinism, in essence, is about as close to fascist as a system can be without being expressly fascist. In this respect Putinism closely resembles the repressive modernizing regimes that took shape in countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Iran, Argentina, and Brazil during the Cold War period. Its fascist pulse need not but could turn dangerous--a problem mainly for western Europe, which has had trouble coming to terms with the situation.
About the author
William Sweet studied European history at the University of Chicago and international affairs at Princeton University. A journalist, he has written two books, one about the nuclear arms race and nuclear proliferation, and one about climate science and policy. It was western Europe's acute dependence on Russian natural gas and oil that first awakened his interest in Putin's Russia and the nature of Putinism. Earlier, Sweet conducted an investigation into the causes of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe for MIT's Technology Review and covered the Soviet Union's science dissidents, Sakharov, Orlov, and Sagdeev for Physics Today magazine.
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