Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia

Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia

Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia

Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia

Synopsis

In the aftermath of the financial collapse of August 1998, it looked as if Russia's day as a superpower had come and gone. That it should recover and reassert itself after less than a decade is nothing short of an economic and political miracle.

Based on extensive research, including several interviews with Vladimir Putin, this revealing book chronicles Russia's dramatic reemergence on the world stage, illuminating the key reason for its rebirth: the use of its ever-expanding energy wealth to reassert its traditional great power ambitions. In his deft, informative narrative, Marshall Goldman traces how this has come to be, and how Russia is using its oil-based power as a lever in world politics. The book provides an informative overview of oil in Russia, traces Vladimir Putin's determined effort to reign in the upstart oil oligarchs who had risen to power in the post-Soviet era, and describes Putin's efforts to renationalize and refashion Russia's industries into state companies and his vaunted "national champions" corporations like Gazprom, largely owned by the state, who do the bidding of the state. Goldman shows how Russia paid off its international debt and has gone on to accumulate the world's third largest holdings of foreign currency reserves--all by becoming the world's largest producer of petroleum and the world's second largest exporter. Today, Vladimir Putin and his cohort have stabilized the Russian economy and recentralized power in Moscow, and fossil fuels (oil and natural gas) have made it all possible.

The story of oil and gas in Russia is a tale of discovery, intrigue, corruption, wealth, misguidance, greed, patronage, nepotism, and power. Marshall Goldman tells this story with panache, as only one of the world's leading authorities on Russia could.

Excerpt

More than in my past writing efforts, I owe thanks to a set of enthusiastic helpers. They provided invaluable help in preparing my manuscript. Two of them have the ability to read my handwriting, something I am not always able to do myself. Doing my best to ignore the advances of the modern computerized world, I prefer to write out the text in longhand on legal-size yellow pads. Robert Price was able to transcribe those writings for me onto a computer, so I was devastated when he went to work at a higher calling. To my relief Sue Sypko took over and proved to be as able, and, equally important, she hasn’t frowned when I bring her yet another set of nearly incomprehensive scribbles. in fact, I have taken to awarding her Stakhanovite prizes for her efforts. the third member is Coco Downey, who offered herself as research assistant and eagerly agreed to chase after obscure facts and display them in a way that aids the understanding of how things work in Russia. I have come to call her “the wizard.” After reading her charts and diagrams in the chapters that follow, I suspect the readers, even those in Russia, will agree that they can now understand the previously incomprehensible. the fourth and most unlikely member of this quartet is Thomas Luly, a most amazing high school junior. Out of the blue he wrote an e-mail asking if I needed any assistance. To humor him, I sent him an early draft of the manuscript and to my amazement, he not only read the whole thing and made extensive notes, but he found more inconsistencies in the text than I am embarrassed to admit should have been there. He also asked some probing questions that should help both me and I hope future readers deal with issues that are all too often skirted.

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