A Russian Diary by Anna Politkovskaya
A Journalist's Final Account of Life, Corruption, and Death in Putin's Russia

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Synopsis

Anna Politkovskaya, one of Russia’s most fearless journalists, was gunned down in a contract killing in Moscow in the fall of 2006. Just before her death, Politkovskaya completed this searing, intimate record of life in Russia from the parliamentary elections of December 2003 to the grim summer of 2005, when the nation was still reeling from the horrors of the Beslan school siege. In A Russian Diary, Politkovskaya dares to tell the truth about the devastation of Russia under Vladimir Putin–a truth all the more urgent since her tragic death.
Writing with unflinching clarity, Politkovskaya depicts a society strangled by cynicism and corruption. As the Russian elections draw near, Politkovskaya describes how Putin neutralizes or jails his opponents, muzzles the press, shamelessly lies to the public–and then secures a sham landslide that plunges the populace into mass depression. In Moscow, oligarchs blow thousands of rubles on nights of partying while Russian soldiers freeze to death. Terrorist attacks become almost commonplace events. Basic freedoms dwindle daily.

And then, in September 2004, armed terrorists take more than twelve hundred hostages in the Beslan school, and a different kind of madness descends.
In prose incandescent with outrage, Politkovskaya captures both the horror and the absurdity of life in Putin’s Russia: She fearlessly interviews a deranged Chechen warlord in his fortified lair. She records the numb grief of a mother who lost a child in the Beslan siege and yet clings to the delusion that her son will return home someday. The staggering ostentation of the new rich, the glimmer of hope that comes with the organization of the Party of Soldiers’ Mothers, the mounting police brutality, the fathomless public apathy–all are woven into Politkovskaya’s devastating portrait of Russia today.

“If anybody thinks they can take comfort from the ‘optimistic’ forecast, let them do so,” Politkovskaya writes. “It is certainly the easier way, but it is also a death sentence for our grandchildren.”

A Russian Diary is testament to Politkovskaya’s ferocious refusal to take the easier way–and the terrible price she paid for it. It is a brilliant, uncompromising exposé of a deteriorating society by one of the world’s bravest writers.

Praise for Anna Politkovskaya
“Anna Politkovskaya defined the human conscience. Her relentless pursuit of the truth in the face of danger and darkness testifies to her distinguished place in journalism–and humanity. This book deserves to be widely read.”
–Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent, CNN

“Like all great investigative reporters, Anna Politkovskaya brought forward human truths that rewrote the official story. We will continue to read her, and learn from her, for years.”
–Salman Rushdie

“Suppression of freedom of speech, of expression, reaches its savage ultimate in the murder of a writer. Anna Politkovskaya refused to lie, in her work; her murder is a ghastly act, and an attack on world literature.”
–Nadine Gordimer

“Beyond mourning her, it would be more seemly to remember her by taking note of what she wrote.”
–James Meek


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Anna Politkovskaya

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ANNA POLITKOVSKAYA (born 1958 in New York City) was a special correspondent for the Russian newspaper Novaya gazeta and the author of A Dirty War; A Small Corner of Hell; Putin's Russia; and A Russian Diary. She was murdered in Moscow on October 7, 2006.
 
Published April 25, 2009 by Random House. 400 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Russian Diary

Kirkus Reviews

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As she mounted an increasing challenge to authorities, Politkovskaya’s work led to her poisoning, incarceration and finally murder by a contract killer in October 2006.

May 01 2007 | Read Full Review of A Russian Diary: A Journalist...

The New York Times

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There’s also a reprise — running eight pages — of a Putin telethon phone-in, his “virtual dialogue with the country” that has become an annual fixture, the equivalent of a sweeps-season special on state television.

Jul 01 2007 | Read Full Review of A Russian Diary: A Journalist...

The Guardian

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A Russian Diary by Anna Politkovskaya Harvill Secker £17.99, pp272 Next month will mark the six-month anniversary of the murder of campaigning journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Mar 25 2007 | Read Full Review of A Russian Diary: A Journalist...

The Guardian

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A Russian Diary by Anna Politkovskaya, translated by Arch Tait 272pp, Harvill Secker, £17.99 Not long before she was gunned down on the steps of her apartment building in Moscow last October, Anna Politkovskaya gave an interview to the Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov.

Apr 07 2007 | Read Full Review of A Russian Diary: A Journalist...

Publishers Weekly

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A special correspondent for the Russian newspaper Novaya gazeta, Politkovskaya received the 2000 Golden Pen Award by the Russian Union of Journalists for her coverage of the Russian military campaign in Chechnya.

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Deseret News

It is seldom discussed that since Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia in 2000, 13 journalists have been killed there.

Jul 15 2007 | Read Full Review of A Russian Diary: A Journalist...

Socialist Review

There was some publicity in the West for her courageous stand against the Putin leadership, but she was in a media tomb well before the headlines were swamped by the poisoning of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who seems never to have taken a stand against one authority except for payment ...

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