Darkness at Dawn


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The Rise of the Russian Criminal State

David Satter

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Anticipating a new dawn of freedom after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russians could hardly have foreseen the reality of their future a decade later: a country impoverished and controlled at every level by organized crime. This riveting book views the 1990s reform period through the experiences of individual citizens, revealing the changes that have swept Russia and their effect on Russia’s age-old ways of thinking.

“The Russia that Satter depicts in this brave, engaging book cannot be ignored. Darkness at Dawn should be required reading for anyone interested in the post-Soviet state.”—Christian Caryl, Newsweek

“Satter must be commended for saying what a great many people only dare to think.”—Matthew Brzezinski, Toronto Globe and Mail

“Humane and articulate.”—Raymond Asquith, Spectator

“Vivid, impeccably researched and truly frightening. . . . Western policy-makers, especially in Washington, would do well to study these pages.”—Martin Sieff, United Press International

David Satter, former Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times of London, is affiliated with the Hoover Institution, the Hudson Institute, and the Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He is the author of Age of Delirium: The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union, also available from Yale University Press.

“A stunning book that honestly confronts the continuingly difficult birth of post-Soviet Russia: dictatorship, economic collapse, and depopulation may still be in Russia’s future and much depends on oil. Bravo to Satter—a clear, troubling, brave work.”—Jim Woolsey, former CIA Director

“David Satter has written a compelling and provocative indictment of post-Soviet Russia. He grounds his stern judgment in years of his own reporting on real people’s experiences, and he brings to the task he has set himself a powerful intellect. This book is a major contribution to the debate over what has happened in Russia—and why, and what it means.”—Strobe Talbott, president, The Brookings Institution

"[Satter] tells engrossing tales of brazen chicanery, official greed and unbearable suffering. . . . Satter manages to bring the events to life with excruciating accounts of real Russians whose lives were shattered."—Scott Shane, Baltimore Sun

"With a reporter’s eye for vivid detail and a novelist’s ability to capture emotion, he conveys the drama of Russia’s rocky road for the average victimized Russian. . . . This is only half the story of what is happening in Russia these days, but it is the shattering half, and Satter renders it all the more poignant by making it so human."—Foreign Affairs

"Vivid, impeccably researched and truly frightening. . . . Satter plays Dante, taking his readers on a comprehensive tour of this thermonuclear-armed Inferno. Reading his relentlessly grim, implacably documented accounts is to be reminded of D. H. Lawrence’s prescient vision on observing the crazed gaiety and brilliance of Weimar Germany in the 1920s. . . . Western policy-makers would do well to study these pages and to ponder the teachings of the great Russian religious philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev with which Satter closes this important, troubling book."—Martin Sieff, National Post (Canada)

"[Satter] has a reporter’s eye for detail. His book is good journalism, but it could also be used as a textbook in courses on political philosophy; it describes, more compellingly than any abstract theorist could, the consequences of nominal freedom without rule of law."—Michael Potemra, National Review

"[Satter’s] new book, Darkness at Dawn, paints about as abject a picture as I’ve seen of the corruption, cronyism, lawlessness and incompetence that have flourished under Boris Yeltsin and his handpicked successor, Vladimir Putin. . . . The Russia that Satter depicts in this brave, engaging book cannot be ignored. Darkness at Dawn should be required reading for anyone interested in the post-Soviet state."—Christian Caryl, Newsweek

“This book is informed very effectively by Satter’s extensive firsthand experience in Russia and by his broader perspective on what is happening during the tumultuous transformation taking place in the former Soviet Union. . . . Darkness at Dawn is a very good read and should provoke thoughtful discussion in the classroom and elsewhere.”—
Ronald R. Pope, Perspectives on Political Science

“His new book, Darkness at Dawn is a sharp evocation of the pervasive criminality of post-Communist society, powerfully illustrated with disturbing social vignettes.”—Charles Woolfson, Slavic and East European Review

“Satter is to be commended for recording so many of these case studies of corruption and crime in the Russia of the 1990s on paper. In my opinion, access to this information will help students understand the depth of the problems Putin faced. . . . I strongly recommend this book for both undergraduate and graduate courses.”—Dale R. Herspring, Slavic Review

"A humane and articulate attempt to record the consciousness of ordinary Russians waking up to an unrecognisable historical reality for which they were wholly unprepared. . . . Compelling reading."—Raymond Asquith, Spectator (UK)

"Provocative. . . . A brooding, no-holds-barred account of what the author describes as the ’rise of the Russian criminal state’ that sprang from the ashes and moral vacuum of communism. . . . Satter must be commended for saying what a great many people only dare to think. . . . Satter’s book is instructive in that it shows how fear and lawlessness continue to plague a huge and resource-rich nation that once made the world tremble."—Matthew Brzezinski, Toronto Globe and Mail

"If policymakers, journalists, and Wall Street's fund managers wish to avoid getting another Russian rake in the face, they should read David Satter's Darkness at Dawn. . . . The advantages of Satter's ground-up perspective manifest themselves again and again. . . . No one is as good as Satter at explaining how 'Russia's criminal state' cruelly injures the lives of little people."—Sean McMeekin, Weekly Standard
ISBN: 9780300105919
Publication Date: September 10, 2004
326 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/8
18 b/w illus.
Age of Delirium

The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union

David Satter

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It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway

Russia and the Communist Past

David Satter

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The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep

Russia's Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin

David Satter; With a New Preface

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