The Invention of Russia: From Gorbachev's Freedom to Putin's War review â 109

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The Invention of Russia: From Gorbachev's Freedom to Putin's War review â 109 í By tracing the history of modern Russia from Mikhail Gorbachev to the rise of ex KGB agent Vladimir Putin Arkady Ostrovsky reveals how the Soviet Union came to its end and how Russia has since reinvented itself Russia today bBy tracing the history of modern Russia from Mikhail Gorbachev to the rise of ex KGB agent Vladimir Putin Arkady Ostrovsky reveals how the Soviet Union came to its end and how Russia has since reinvented itself Russia today bears little resemblan. The Invention of Russia From Gorbachev's Freedom to Putin's War by Arkady Ostrovsky is an interesting look at the development of the modern Russian state and the importance of the media in this process The book begins by examining the declining Soviet system and the slow Liberalization of the media and entertainment sphere in the 1980's and 1990's followed by a sudden burst of change after the Soviet Union disintegrated Ostrovsky chronicles this pathway of change by following both events and personalities He mostly covers the growth and decline of Russia's many Oligarchs strongmen and politicians as well as important figures in the media and cultural sphere of Russia Changes in Russia began in the Prague Spring years of 1968 Many in the USSR and satellite states saw this moment in history as a new beginning and began to yearn for change in the rigid and authoritarian Soviet system Instead the Prague Spring was crushed with Russian tanks and the Spring ended However the yearning did not In Russia change ironically came from inside the Nomenklatura system from censors KGB officers and important politicians and news media figures These individuals had necessary access to Western print media and radio broadcasts these were reuired in order for Soviet authorities to vet the news However these censors began to yearn for similar Western features in the stagnating Soviet system and eventually with the coming of Gorbachev got there wish with Perestroika This was a slow process but was marked by the slow opening of the Russian media world which was uickly snapped up by the powerful new Oligarchs making themselves known in Russia After the Soviet collapse these oligarchs would begin a wholesale promotion of Liberalism as a system on the surface to promote freedom but also out of self interest They used the growing Liberal and Capitalist discourse in Russia to buy state assets at fire sale prices and soon carved out vast business empires out of state assets all backed by state loans financial and regulatory protection and there own media spheresRussia in the '90's was like a caricature of capitalism from Soviet times Ruthless business men grappled for power behind the scenes sometimes politically and sometimes violently Ordinary Russians were flush with the new times but were also lacking any sort of national consciousness Russia as a state had never really existed as it did after the Soviet collapse A growing nationalism and a longing for importance dignity and stability became a common theme after growing tensions between oligarchs spilled into open warfare pitting Liberal democrats and shady oligarchs against an unlikely CommunistNationalist alliance Although the nationalists were defeated Russia's Liberal democrats lost ground as well Ordinary Russian's no longer believed that rampant capitalism was the answer a point driven home by the disastrous Asian financial crisis and Russia's debt default This changed politics as well Boris Yeltsin the successor of Gorbachev slowly lost popularity and support and his failing health was no help either Russia's elite struggled to find a stable transition and began to look to an outsider for help This is where Vladimir Putin came in A former KGB officer Putin was young loyal and unknown by the public However he came to prominence after Yeltsin's disastrous handling of the First Chechen War and another civil war in the oligarch camp that saw many of the '90's most prominent elite cast aside Putin's rise corresponded with a crackdown on media freedom Throughout the above period Russian Oligarchs used there media arms as political weapons discrediting politicians attacking rival oligarchs publishing expose after expose and riling up the Russian public with dark gritty and dramatic news and programing This constant media bombardment lent a sense of instability to Russia's public and inadvertently led to a growing desire for national stability a disenfranchisement from politics and growing nostalgia for the glory days of the Soviet Empire This coincided with Putin's rise and after the oligarchs fell apart Putin seemed the only viable option Yeltsin handed power to Putin willingly and stepped aside and Putin tightened state control over every aspect of the public sphere Putin used the media and entertainment business to build his brand as a tough thoughtful and crafty politician He was the opposite of Yeltsin who came across as loud good humoured and very stereotypically Russian Putin on the other hand was built after partly fictional Soviet War hero Stierlitz a USSR agent who infiltrated the German SS in WWII Putin came off as very Germanic stoic macho and so on which appealed to both the Russian masses who craved stability and calm and the nationalists who espoused antisemitism anti Westernism and Imperial nostalgia Putin's brand has seen Russia emerge once again as a globally ambitious player Russia has engaged in two internal wars in DagestanChechnya has invaded both Georgia and Ukraine and is increasingly assertive in its foreign policy The collapse of the USSR was seen by the West as a victory but Russia disregarded the West both due to perceived mistreatment the US claiming victory in the Cold War economic instability generated by rampant Capitalism and the failure of Liberalism and democracy as forces of stability Instead Russia has built its own system often characterized by Statism Imperialist tendencies and Soviet nostalgia This is coupled with the rise of Putin's elites another round of oligarchs who control most of Russia state assets media arms and large political positions Although in recent years Western media has increasingly covered this phenomena Kleptocracy in Russia Imperialism growing Russian nationalism etc etc this narrative seems naive After the collapse of the Soviet Union Russia's elite built these ideas slowly into the Russian system and turned them into both a means to achieve political control and a means to protect there own interests Ostrovsky's book is interesting well sourced and brings authority to the topic at hand This is an excellent book to read regarding Russia's internal political and cultural norms and ideologies It is both clear eyed and soul searching looking at both political and social ideas as well as the details of Russia's alteration from Soviet Empires to modern state It chronicles the collapse of Soviet ideas the internal disputes between old system and Western system and the emergence of the Russia we see today warts and all This is an excellent read and I can easily recommend it to those interested in Russia and its history and current policies

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Bove all to its own people The Invention of Russia tells the story of this tumultuous period including the important role played by the media and shows how Russia turned its back on the West and found itself embracing a new era of Soviet style ru. Ostrovsky analyzes and explains how Russia became what it is under Putin focusing on the role of the media from Yeltsin until today He contends the media has led the way and been led along the way on defining contemporary Russia It ushered in Putin The media went from communicating by what they omitted standardizing the State’s narrative reporting explaining instructing and defining and amplifying to helping create a virtual reality today “ politics was replaced by political technology citizens by spectators reality by television” During the annexation of Crimea “The image came first the reality followed” “The Ukrainian fascists were a phantom created by Russian television Even though nobody saw them in reality everyone in Crimea talked about their presence” “To sustain the audience’s attention the plot had to evolve New virtual enemies had to be produced to raise the level of aggression and hatred The narrative of war has now moved beyond Ukraine to Syria and the West in general”In the back of my mind I enjoyed toying with a generalized comparison of the Russian media to our US media and how ours also creates defines and elevates and often unintentionally gets things so wrong From my vantage point the Russian media gets things wrong with purpose The US media is not an arm of the White House I get that the US and Russia are still different than alike and I do not euate our freedoms with anything going on in Russia Much of our media have shaky intellectual analytical history credentials and they strive for ratings over accuracy in order to stay employed and enjoy their perks A lot of the stuff they get wrong is usually due to incompetence and the wearing of blinders rather than nefarious dealings Trump is a creation who exploits and is exploited We shall see how that works outOstrovsky is Russian seemingly well educated with a PhD has spent uality time in England and has worked for the better Western media from inside Russia So he’s prepared himself and has excellent perspective and cultural fluency He does not seem intimidated by Putin and he speaks the truth plainly His wife has a non Russian name I wish him dual citizenship should he need it But power to him if he can remain the ground He has that magic of consuming vast and complicated material from many disciplines and spitting it out on the page cogently I understood the entire book and I mostly agreed with him Yeltsin comes across a tad better than my memory of him I need to revisit Yeltsin the leader Ostrovsky has cultivated himself into the exact right profession right time right place Hat way off Funny that I’m mostly dissing the media yet I conspicuously respect Ostrovsky as a journalist and writer They can’t all suck“Television turned Putin an unkown KGB operative into Russia’s president within months of his eruption into the national consciousness His first step as he settled into the Kremlin was to take control over television; only then could he seize the commanding heights of the economy Television has been the main tool of his power his magic wand that substituted a counterfeit image for reality” Trump has been interviewed for RT We all know he’s a fan of Putin’s I do not want to go down that road Ostrovsky relates that opinion polls gave Yeltsin a clear description of what was wanted for his successor Ugh Putin was the perfect fit Yet another example of awesome Russian tactics with little regard for future strategy “Putin had to be portrayed at once as Yeltsin’s opponent but also as someone who was anointed by him” Putin was an unknown “he was “a man with no features a perfect spy” Putin and his media have evolved into something specific today something they have convinced viewers that they wanted “No enemy of Russia could have caused as much harm to the country as has been inflicted by those who have been pumping these images phony wars false images Russian victimhood into the bloodstream of the nation” “ that whipped up passion does not simply vanish” “Historically Russia has often used aggression and territorial expansion as a form of defense against modernization” “ Russia does not possess the energy or vision reuired for empire building—but revisionism chaos and war He may plunge the country into darkness or Russia may yet rid itself of this post imperial syndrome and emerge as a nation state” So where’s the strategy in that A Ponzi scheme perpetrated upon the Russian people by the leader they deserve Do they deserve him

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The Invention of Russia From Gorbachev's Freedom to Putin's WarCe to the country that embraced freedom in the late eighties and gave freedom to others But how did a country that had liberated itself from seventy years of Communism end up just twenty years later as one of the biggest threats to the West and a. The Invention of Russia traces the development of the modern Putin State of Russia Written by a Russian born journalist eminently familiar with the inner working of Russian media the book looks at the way the media services were always suborned by the powers that beIn the beginning we look at the way gradual easing of the murderous Stalin regime's supreme control of all media from newspapers to radio were slightly eased by his predecessors Each succeeding leader from Krushchev to Gorbachev slowly loosened the role of the media though never freeing it from becoming an official organ of the Soviet State The nuclear disaster of Chernobyl during Gorbachev's time started the policies of glasnost and perestroika In time events the economy mostly caused the inevitable inevitable because Communism and it's slightly retarded and slightly less violent brother Socialism do not work as economic systemsAfter the fall of the Soviet Communists and the rise of the CIS Commonwealth of Independent States for a period of almost a decade 1990 1999 the media in Russia enjoyed the chance to become the Fourth Estate But sadly a series of missteps greed corruption and lack of democratic ideals and institutions led to the rise of the Oligarchsand eventually a former KGB Col and one time head of the FSB Vladimir Putin to become President Putin's intelligence officer instincts led him to suborn and eventually completely control the media which has now become once again a mouthpiece of the government and its ideas In order to cover up his kleptocracy and the dismal state of the Russian economy based of gas exports the Putin government uses the media to foment one crisis after another from Crimea to Ukraine to now SyriaThis very readable and well written considering many might find the topic to be rather dry history of the role of the media in the Soviet UnionRussia deserves praise for not sugar coating the issue While many Western liberals blithely insisting on a reset with the Russians are being played for fools the book traces how the media went from becoming the official arm of propaganda to the unofficial mouthpiece for the FSB nation state aka Russia under PutinThe book excellently indicts the ordinary people of Russia from the lower classes all the way to the oligarchs who fell prey to their won greedy instincts and then having been preprogrammed for 7 decades of brainwashing to follow their base instincts and blame the West and of course the US for everything that goes wrong Their ability to be whipped into a nationalistic frenzy and their often ugly anti Semitic neo fascist almost Neo Nazi xenophobic culture is not pretty to witnessBut the book does masterfully show us how each Russian government from the Communists to the Putin state has manipulated or outright terrorized and controlled the media and by extension the brainwashed inferiority complex driven people of Russia itself A must read for people in power both in the US and Europe Of course they won'twouldn't want to ruin their image of Russia or for anyone who is curious how a nation that had throw off the shackles of the murderous Communist regime and seemed on the brink of joining the rest of Europe as a modern functional state with much to contribute descended first into the arms of ruthless oligarchs and now has become an authoritarian FSB police state under a new Tsar for a new era Putin