Putin Country

Putin Country

A Journey Into the Real Russia

Book - 2016 | First edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"A revealing look into the lives of ordinary Russians. More than twenty years ago, the longtime NPR correspondent Anne GMore than twenty years ago, the longtime NPR correspondent Anne Garrels began to visit the region of Chelyabinsk, an aging military-industrial center a thousand miles east of Moscow that is home to the Russian nuclear program. 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, Garrels crafts a necessary portrait of the nation's heartland. 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. Her portrait of Russia's silent majority is both essential and engaging reading at a time when Cold War tensions are resurgent"--From publisher's online catalog.
Publisher: New York :, Farrar, Straus and Giroux,, 2016.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780374247720
Characteristics: 225 pages


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Feb 05, 2018

I read it in a day. Garrels knows her subject and writes very well.

May 14, 2017

Well-written and interesting description of life in modern Russia outside Moscow. The description of the medical system is particularly interesting.

Jul 18, 2016

The comment in all caps below from Aleksandar is exactly the kind of attitude Garrels tries to portray in the book. I thought about flagging the comment as inappropriate, but I think seeing it is more useful to see a real example of Putin Country.

May 25, 2016

Garrels did an excellent job of obtaining opinions and viewpoints. I learned so much about the day to day life, but I'm sure to not generalize, as I believe this is a more rural city (it would be interesting to see what people in St. Petersburg think). The people interviewed are trying to figure out who they (Russians) are and where they fit in the Post-Soviet world, and they're very proud of their country but not their government. This book explores topics such as the HIV epidemic, the military life, lack of human rights, religious history, etc. To sum up, it seems Russia needs a whole country to do a massive audit, as there's no order or trust in the government, and yet Putin is certainly improving the conditions of post-Soviet times. The country has a long way to go and this was a fascinating read into this somewhat isolated country.

ChristchurchLib Apr 10, 2016

What is life in Russia really like and why do Russians love Vladimir Putin? Anne Garrels, formerly an NPR correspondent based in Moscow, answers these complicated questions using a variety of people (from taxi drivers to doctors) in the Chelyabinsk region as a microcosm. Having visited the area (which is located far from Moscow) for two decades, she not only offers "a collection of scrupulous, timely journalistic portraits" (Kirkus Reviews) that document the differences in everyday lives over time, but also describes how growing freedoms have not always been beneficial, and shares what Russians really think of the West.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MPL

To Top