The Man Without A Face by Masha Gessen

The Man Without a Face

The Man Without A Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin

If Putin considers himself a ‘thug‘ we shouldn’t be surprised that he acts like one. He quickly but quietly took total power in Russia. I can’t tell if that was his plan all along or if the power was corrupting. Whatever the reason(s) Putin is in-charge and there is little effective political or military opposition. It was hard for me to vet the information in this book, the press does such a terrible job in the U.S. and covered few if any of the events in this book. But what I do know is Russia is a mess, and Putin has been running it for 13 years. I saw a lot of parallels with Obama. They both came from nowhere with no executive experience and run their countries more like mafia dons than Presidents of democracies. I guess we in the U.S. should be thankfully Obama is also incompetent.

322 pages

Excerpts From My Kindle

Yeltsin appeared on television twelve hours ahead of schedule. “My friends,” he said. “My dears. Today is the last time I am going to address you on New Year’s Eve. But that is not all. Today is the last time I address you as the president of Russia. I have made a decision. I spent a long and difficult time thinking about it. Today, on the last day of this century, I am going to resign…. I am leaving…. Russia should enter the new millennium with new politicians, new faces, new, smart, strong, energetic people…. Why should I hold on to my seat for six more months when the country has a strong person who deserves to become president and to whom virtually every Russian has linked his hopes for the future?” Then Yeltsin apologized. “I am sorry,” he said, “that many of our dreams failed to come true. That things we thought would be easy turned out to be painfully hard. I am sorry that I did not live up to the hopes of people who believed that we could, with a single effort, a single strong push, jump out of our gray, stagnant, totalitarian past and into a bright, wealthy, civilized future. I used to believe that myself…. I have never said this before, but I want you to know. I felt the pain of each of you in my heart. I spent sleepless nights, painful periods thinking about what I could do to make life just a little bit better…. I am leaving. I have done all I could…. A new generation is coming; they can do more, and better.” – location 439-49

Putin was now acting president, and the election campaign was officially under way. Putin, recalled Berezovsky, was disciplined and even docile: he did as he was told–and he was told not to do much. He was already so popular that this was, in essence, a non-campaign campaign, leading up to a non-election election. All Putin had to do was never seem too different from whatever it was voters wished to see in him. – location 457-60

Sobchak had picked the right right-hand man: Putin hated the wishy-washy democrats even more than he did, and he was even better than Sobchak at working the politics of fear and greed. – location 1896-97

Shchekochikhin had been working on so many investigations that his friends and colleagues, most if not all of whom believed he was murdered, were at a loss to suggest which of his suicide missions actually led to his death. Zakaev was certain that Shchekochikhin was murdered to prevent him from publishing information he had gathered on the theater siege: namely, evidence that some of the women terrorists were convicted felons who, on paper, were still serving sentences in Russian prisons at the time of the siege. In other words, their release had probably been secured by someone who had extralegal powers–and this, again, pointed to possible secret-police involvement in the organization of this act of terror. – location 2954-59


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I do a little web design work and support a couple web sites and blogs. My primary focus is lighting and energy consulting where I use a number of computer tools to help my customer find ways of saving money and improving their work environment. See my web site for more information:
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