THE RETURN OF THE RUSSIAN LEVIATHAN

Reviewed by: RWP

I know no Russians, have never visited that country and my opinion of that nation has been garnered solely from Western print media and television. I am thus singularly unsuited to authoritatively review this book – except to say that it is a mine of constructive analysis that delves into matters that fully identify contemporary Russia.  This book provides an explicit and composite picture of a society; the mindset of the leaders and the led; and an intimation of the future for the nation, should its governance continue its present path. The book is divided into four main themes described as ‘wars’ that are being waged by the State against Space (i.e. land), Symbols, the Body and Memory for sovereignty within and outwith the nation. Each ‘war’ has a variety of short essays that are candid beyond expectation. All are informative and full of vignettes that will surprise and in many instances, dismay a western reader. The author is a Professor of Social Sciences at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. The book was previously published in Russia in 2017. It is to be hoped the author is still in post and has not been greeted at his front door in the early hours of the morning by gentlemen from the FSB. The book is that informative, evocative and corrosive. The recommendation is buy, read and contemplate ‘could it happen here?