Book Summary: Putin’s People by Catherine Belton

Putin’s People by Catherine Belton Book Cover

Putin’s People is a book written by Catherine Belton that delves into the inner workings of the Kremlin and the people who surround Russian President Vladimir Putin. The book explores the personalities and backgrounds of Putin’s closest allies and advisors, and how they have shaped Russia’s policies and actions over the past two decades.

The book is divided into ten chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of Putin’s inner circle. Here is a summary of each chapter:

The first chapter introduces the concept of the “siloviki,” a group of individuals who came from the security services and rose to power in Russia during the Putin era. These individuals are characterized by their authoritarian tendencies and their willingness to use violence and intimidation to achieve their goals.

Chapter 2: The KGB and the FSB

The second chapter delves into the history of the KGB and its successor, the FSB, and how these organizations have shaped Putin’s worldview and policies. The chapter also explores the role of the FSB in the assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya and the poisoning of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko.

Chapter 3: The Oligarchs

The third chapter examines the role of Russian oligarchs in Putin’s rise to power and their continued influence over the country’s economy and politics. The chapter also explores the relationship between Putin and Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who has been a close ally of the president for many years.

Chapter 4: The Chekists

The fourth chapter focuses on the “chekists,” a group of individuals who came from the security services and played a key role in the establishment of the Soviet Union. The chapter explores the role of chekists in the purges and mass executions of the Stalin era and how their legacy has influenced Putin’s policies and actions.

Chapter 5: The Spies

The fifth chapter examines the role of Russian intelligence services in Putin’s rise to power and their continued influence over the country’s foreign policy. The chapter also explores the role of Russian intelligence services in the election interference scandal that rocked the United States in 2016.

Chapter 6: The Generals

The sixth chapter focuses on the Russian military and its role in Putin’s policies. The chapter explores the country’s military interventions in Syria and Ukraine and how these actions have influenced Putin’s relationship with the West.

Chapter 7: The Technocrats

The seventh chapter examines the role of technocrats in Putin’s government and their influence over the country’s economic policies. The chapter also explores the relationship between Putin and Russian economist Alexei Kudrin, who has been a key adviser to the president for many years.

Chapter 8: The Ideologues

The eighth chapter delves into the ideology of Putin’s government and how it has influenced the country’s policies and actions. The chapter also explores the role of Russian nationalism and how it has been used to justify the country’s aggressive actions towards its neighbors.

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Chapter 9: The Cronies

The ninth chapter focuses on Putin’s closest friends and allies, who have been enriched by their association with the president. The chapter also explores the role of corruption in Putin’s government and how it has influenced the country’s politics and economy.

Chapter 10: The Future

The final chapter looks towards the future and examines the challenges that Putin and his government will face in the years to come. The chapter also explores the potential for change in Russia and how the country’s future may be influenced by events in the wider world.

Overall, Putin’s People is a comprehensive and insightful look at the people who surround Russian President Vladimir Putin and how they have shaped the country’s policies and actions over the past two decades. The book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the inner workings of the Kremlin and the people who control Russia.

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