Such a slim volume hardly seems capable of fulfilling the brief of its topic, but Galeotti’s assured focus and explanation marks this much higher than the many other titles in this growing genre of portable histories.
Can anyone truly understand Russia? Russia is a country with no natural borders, no single ethos, no true central identity. At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, it is everyone’s ‘other’. And yet it is one of the most powerful nations on earth, a master game-player on the global stage with a rich history of war and peace, poets and revolutionaries.
In this essential whistle-stop tour of the world’s most complex nation, Mark Galeotti takes us behind the myths to the heart of the Russian story: from the formation of a nation to its early legends – including Ivan the Terrible and Catherine the Great – to the rise and fall of the Romanovs, the Russian Revolution, the Cold War, Chernobyl and the end of the Soviet Union – plus the rise of a politician named Vladimir Putin, and the events leading to the Ukrainian war.