More than twenty years ago, longtime NPR correspondent Anne Garrels began to visit the region of Chelyabinsk, an aging military-industrial center a thousand miles east of Moscow. Her goal was to chart the social and political aftershocks of the USSR's collapse. On her trips to an area once closed to the West, Garrels discovered a populace for whom the new democratic freedoms were as traumatic as they were delightful. The region suffered a severe economic crisis in the early 1990s, and the next twenty years would only bring more turmoil as well as a growing identity crisis and antagonism toward foreigners. The city of Chelyabinsk became richer and more cosmopolitan, even as corruption and intolerance grew more entrenched. In Putin Country, we meet upwardly mobile professionals, impassioned activists, and ostentatious mafiosi. We discover surprising subcultures, such as a vibrant underground gay community and a group of determined evangelicals. And we watch doctors and teachers try to cope with a corrupt system. Drawing on these encounters, Garrels explains why Vladimir Putin commands the loyalty of so many Russians, even those who decry the abuses of power they encounter from day to day.
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by Anne Fadiman
by Anne Enright
by Walter Scheidel
by Anne George
by Anne Perry
by Anne Boyer
by Anne Ashley
"Former NPR reporter Anne Garrels, who has worked in Russia on and off for decades, delivers a terrific narration of her own fascinating look at the current state of the former Soviet Union. That state is complex and often not good. Yet with her sense of storytelling narrative and eye for detail, Garrels makes the occasionally awful tale a compelling listen. She focuses on the city of Chelyabinsk, a longtime military-industrial center a thousand miles east of Moscow, which has undergone enormous changes--good and bad--since the economic collapse of the 1990s and the rise of Putin. Garrels's low, husky voice is pleasant, and she reads clearly and expressively at just the right pace. Whatever news she's delivering, it's mesmerizing. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine"
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