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The Putin Mystique

Inside Russia's Power Cult

Published by Interlink Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

GETTING TO GRIPS WITH RUSSIA’S 21ST CENTURY TSAR Vladimir V. Putin has confounded world leaders and defied their assumptions as they tried to figure him out, only to misjudge him time and again. The Putin Mystique takes the reader on a journey through the Russia of Vladimir Putin, named by Forbes magazine in 2013 as the most powerful man in the world. It is a neo-feudal world where iPads, WTO membership, and Brioni business suits conceal a power structure straight out of the Middle Ages, where the Sovereign is perceived as both divine and demonic, where a man’s riches are determined by his proximity to the Kremlin, and where large swathes of the populace live in precarious complacency interrupted by bouts of revolt. Where does that kind of power come from? The answer lies not in the leader, but in the people: from the impoverished worker who appeals directly to Putin for aid, to the businessmen, security officers and officials in Putin’s often dysfunctional government who look to their leader for instruction and protection. In her writing career, Anna Arutunyan has traveled throughout Russia to report on modern Russian politics. She has interviewed oligarchs and policemen, bishops and politicians, and many ordinary Russians. Her book is a vivid and revealing exploration of the way in which myth, power, and even religion interact to produce the love-hate relationship between the Russian people and Vladimir Putin.

About The Author

Anna Arutunyan is author of The Media in Russia (McGraw-Hill, 2009) and co-author (with Vladimir Shlapentokh) of Freedom, Repression and Private Property in Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2013). Her work has appeared in USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, The Nation, Foreign Policy in Focus, and The Moscow News, where she is an editor and senior correspondent. She has lectured on Russian power, politics and media at Tampere University in Finland and at Michigan State University. A bilingual Russian-American, she was born in the Soviet Union in 1980 but grew up and received her education in the United States. In 2002 she returned to Moscow to write about Russia. Anna Arutunyan lives in Moscow with her husband and daughter.

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Raves and Reviews

"Intriguing and insightful" one of the sharpest observers of the Kremlin leader and his court. She gets to grips with the almost mystical bond between Russia's leader and its led.", The Times

– Mark Galeotti, New York University, Center for Global Affairs

"A fascinating exegesis of power in Russia" as entertaining and readable as it is informative, very deserving of a place on every Russia-wonk's shelves."-, Mark Galeotti, New York University, Center for Global Affairs

– Caroline Humphrey, University of Cambridge

"Why do so many Russians go on giving uncritical support to Putin? Arguing that Russians hold a quasi-religious respect for the state and its leader, this illuminating book delves into the intertwining of the sacred and the political in history and today.", Caroline Humphrey, University of Cambridge

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