A refreshing, polemic-free view of Russia

Book cover: Who Lost Russia?Who lost Russia? – How The World Entered A New Cold War
by Peter Conradi
Oneworld, £18.99
(Buy on Amazon)

As recently as 15 years ago, many still believed that Russia would become a benign liberal democracy. Today, it is regarded as an international pariah. In his new book, journalist Peter Conradi looks at the blunders that thwarted the reformers, and led to a renewed resurgence of nationalism.

Much of what is written about Russia is “warped by polemics”, says John Thornhill in the New Statesman. So it’s “refreshing” to read “so well-written and dispassionate an account”. The book could have done with a bit more “colour and sizzle”, says Edward Lucas in The Times. But it neatly debunks many “myths and misapprehensions”. Overall, this is a “sober and skilfully constructed” book that emphasises that “it was not just Russia that lost a sense of purpose and status after 1991”, says Arkady Ostrovsky in The Sunday Times. The West also suffered from “a striking lack of vision, imagination and strategic thinking” in its failure to help Russia adjust to a new world.