The short period of time stretching from the dramatic Constitutional amendments of January 2020, to the war launched by Vladimir Putin against Ukraine in February, 2022, marks a sharp turning point in post-Soviet Russian history. The author explains how Russia got to that point of war. Although Putin, termed ‘eternal’ because of amendments that allow him to run for two more terms as president, is everywhere in it, the book is a study of Russia writ large. It features the political uproar over the Navalny phenomenon, the ravages of the pandemic, manifestations of climate change, and intensifying confrontations between Russia on one side, Ukraine, NATO and the US on the other. The book provides a who, what, where and when of the short but volatile period prior to the outbreak of war, and offers a tentative why it happened. Discussed, too, are the highs and lows of Putin’s popularity; the effectiveness, or not, of economic sanctions, and Moscow’s ‘pivot to the east’. Whereas Putin is a more obvious villain in the unhappy tale, the author makes it clear that Ukrainian and Western leaders are by no means blameless for this state of affairs.
Joseph Laurence (Larry) Black is Professor Emeritus, and was re-designated Distinguished Research Professor by Carleton in 2017.
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
Transliteration, Spelling, Punctuation and Sources
Note on Sources
Chapter 1. Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation Presidency
Chapter 2. Navalny and the Political Cockpit
Chapter 3. Matter over Mind? Media, Human Rights, Pandemic & Climate Change
Chapter 4. The Economy. The Sanctions Saga.
Chapter 5. The International Arena
Chapter 6. New Cold War. Russia, the US and China
Chapter 7. War & Peace. Preparing for a Shooting War
Chapter 8. Russia in Wartime. Eternal Confrontation?
Chapter 9. Ripple Effects
Conclusion: Closing remarks, forecasts — and guesses
Appendix 1: List of Countries ‘Unfriendly’ to Russia from 5 March 2022
Appendix 2: Further Reading
About the Author