In 2012, on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration for a controversial third term as president, mass protests ended in violent clashes between demonstrators and the police. ‘They ruined my big day, now I’m going to ruin their lives,’ Putin was alleged to have said. Now Boris Nemtsov is dead, other key opposition leaders are either in prison or under house arrest and the Kremlin is using the situation in Ukraine to further its domestic aims, encouraging the rise of violent pro-Putin groups and labelling protesters ‘national traitors’.
Journalist and long-time Moscow resident Marc Bennetts examines how Putin and his shadowy advisers crushed Russia’s brave new protest movement. Featuring rare interviews with everyone from Nemtsov and other protest leaders to Kremlin insiders, Bennetts provides an unprecedented insight into the realities of politics on the ground. The result is a brilliant portrayal of the battle for Russia’s soul – one which continues to this day.
Marc Bennetts is a British journalist based in Moscow. He has reported from Russia, Iran and North Korea for The Times, the Guardian, the Observer, and the New York Times, among other publications. His first book, Football Dynamo, examined Russian culture and society through the country's national sport.
‘A good recap of the past few years of Russian political dramas.’
– Commonweal Magazine
‘Dark, compelling, and illuminating. Bennetts meets priests, lawmakers, spin-doctors, ordinary Russians, left-wing agitators, and riot cops in this vivid first-hand portrait.’
– Luke Harding, Guardian correspondent and author of Mafia State
‘Strongly written, well-researched and timely… itshould be read now.’
– Times Literary Supplement
‘A compelling account of how a disparate set of political groups came together to create the largest anti-government protests Russia has seen in living memory.’
– New Statesman
‘A lively, sardonic account of Putin’s reign and those opposed to it’
'This book gives a fascinating peek at the shifting political landscape in one of the world’s most opaque nations.'
– Press Association
'Bennetts' entertaining book Kicking the Kremlin could hardly have come at a better time… Bennetts is well-placed to write the book. The huge variety of his interviews, through which he elicits a pleasing selection of anecdotes, as well as accusations of being a foreign spy, show his familiarity with the country and its people.'
– We Love This Book
'An engagingly grim, frequently absurdist portrait of Vladimir Putin and the popular protests against him.'
– Kirkus Reviews
'Colourful and authoritative. The best account of Russia's protest movement and Putin's ferocious crackdown.'
– Angus Roxburgh, author of The Strongman: Vladimir Putin and the Struggle for Russia
'Vivid and insightful. Bennetts captures a transitional moment in Russian history. Years from now, when researchers are seeking to explain the second Putin era, they would do well to use this reportage.'
– Daniel Kalder, author of Lost Cosmonaut
'Bennetts has done an excellent job of drawing together the scattered beads of a sobering story.'
– Susan Richards, author of Lost and Found in Russia: Encounters in a Deep Heartland