Russians: The People Behind the Power

Russians The People Behind the Power From former NPR Moscow correspondent Gregory Feifer comes an incisive portrait that draws on vivid personal stories to portray the forces that have shaped the Russian character for centuries and conti

  • Title: Russians: The People Behind the Power
  • Author: Gregory Feifer
  • ISBN: 9781455509645
  • Page: 346
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From former NPR Moscow correspondent Gregory Feifer comes an incisive portrait that draws on vivid personal stories to portray the forces that have shaped the Russian character for centuries and continue to do so today RUSSIANS explores the seeming paradoxes of life in Russia by unraveling the nature of its people what is it in their history, their desires, and their conFrom former NPR Moscow correspondent Gregory Feifer comes an incisive portrait that draws on vivid personal stories to portray the forces that have shaped the Russian character for centuries and continue to do so today RUSSIANS explores the seeming paradoxes of life in Russia by unraveling the nature of its people what is it in their history, their desires, and their conception of themselves that makes them baffling to the West Using the insights of his decade as a journalist in Russia, Feifer corrects pervasive misconceptions by showing that much of what appears inexplicable about the country is logical when seen from the inside He gets to the heart of why the world s leading energy producer continues to exasperate many in the international community And he makes clear why President Vladimir Putin remains popular even as the gap widens between the super rich and the great majority of poor Traversing the world s largest country from the violent North Caucasus to Arctic Siberia, Feifer conducted hundreds of intimate conversations about everything from sex and vodka to Russia s complex relationship with the world From fabulously wealthy oligarchs to the destitute elderly babushki who beg in Moscow s streets, he tells the story of a society bursting with vitality under a leadership rooted in tradition and often on the edge of collapse despite its authoritarian power Feifer also draws on formative experiences in Russia s past and illustrative workings of its culture to shed much needed light on the purposely hidden functioning of its society before, during, and after communism Woven throughout is an intimate, first person account of his family history, from his Russian mother s coming of age among Moscow s bohemian artistic elite to his American father s harrowing vodka fueled run ins with the KGB What emerges is a rare portrait of a unique land of extremes whose forbidding geography, merciless climate, and crushing corruption has nevertheless produced some of the world s greatest art and some of its most remarkable scientific advances RUSSIANS is an expertly observed, gripping profile of a people who will continue challenging the West for the foreseeable future.

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    About "Gregory Feifer"

    1. Gregory Feifer

      Gregory Feifer Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Russians: The People Behind the Power book, this is one of the most wanted Gregory Feifer author readers around the world.

    376 thoughts on “Russians: The People Behind the Power”

    1. I was casually walking through the nonfiction section of my library when I stumbled upon this little red book. Seeing that it was about Russia (and more specifically, about its people), I knew I had to give it a try.I wish I could say something good about this book, but let me tell you, it was 350 pages of unrelenting negativity*. ‘Putin’s system turned out to be all about dictatorship’ (page 34), Feifer says, and is ‘not based on popular support’ (page 38). ‘Anger is never far from [...]


    2. “Russia has no need of sermons (she has heard too many), nor of prayers (she has mumbled them too often), but of the awakening in the people a feeling of human dignity, lost for so many ages in mud and filth.” -- Vissarion Belinsky in a letter to Nikolai Gogol, 1847Gregory Feifer, former Moscow correspondent for NPR, is half Russian, so it makes his attempt to summarize a vast country of people more palatable. Feifer breezes through the hallmarks of the Russian personality -- grandiosity and [...]


    3. This is a very timely book about the realities of life in Putin's Russia. I started reading it before Putin's invasion of the Crimea, and it provided a good background for how Russian society works and why it would create the kind of modern authoritarianism that the Kremlin practices. Later chapters get a little repetitive -- too few ideas to sustain them -- but overall I recommend this book for anyone interested in contemporary Russia.


    4. Russians: they’re just like us, or probably desperately want to be us, don’t they? Gregory Feifer’s wide-ranging and deeply felt exegesis of all things Russian posits that a combination of history, repression, endemic corruption and even sheer land mass have molded an otherness that refutes this question as soon as it’s asked. Russians, in the aggregate, most certainly wish to be Russians more than anything else, warts and all. It’s these systemic and historical warts that “Russians: [...]


    5. I started this book months ago, but as I had many books on my plate, I set it down to pursue others. I just picked it back up this week--it totally commanded my attention.The current state of Russia is ridiculous. At times I was utterly disgusted by the amount of cruelty and corruption. It's unfortunate that people actually have to live through such selfishness.Anyways, great read. I felt like a learned a lot. And it wasn't a bore as I thought it was going to be.


    6. True that Feifer has some Soviet background, namely his mother is Jewish and comes from the former USSR, obviously with ancestors from what once was the Kingdom of Poland (most Russophone, I almost made a Freudian slip or writing a "b" instead of "n" in the word Russophone, Jews are of Polish origin), with all the accompanying historical luggage that comes with this ancestry, and true, that he is with the NPR Moscow outpost, a propagandist service designed with spreading disinformation and hatre [...]


    7. Some years ago I read "The Russians" by Hedrick Smith. This book was a look at life in the Soviet Union. Some years later I read "The New Russians" about the period during and after the fall of the Soviet Union. Thus I was very interested to read this book about the present in Russia. This book is extremely interesting and timely. I liked it a lot EXCEPT for one part about orphanages and abandoned children. This part was very upsetting and I wish I could forget it since there's nothing I can do [...]


    8. With the crisis going on in the Ukraine, this is a good time to read Gregory Feifer's book about the Russians and the social forces that shape their attitudes to politics and power. The book by journalist who has worked in Russia and whose family has Russian roots gives many details about the authors friends and family, some more relevant than others, but I found it filled with fascinating details that help me to understand what is going on in Europe.


    9. One book where it was excusable for the author to talk extensively about his (USSR resident) mother (although he did say she was a "dark beauty" like four times)



    10. An engaging and insightful analysis of Russia and it's stagnation since the collapse of the USSR and the rise of Putin. Fiefer demonstrates the historical origins of Russia's current political climate while analyzing various aspects of Russian society and daily life. It is striking to see the corruption and cronyism that dominates the country and continues the corrupt legacy of the Soviet Union. The country remains unable to address the horrors and crimes of its past and instead props itself up [...]


    11. I enjoyed Feifer's analysis of the modern Russian worldview - he makes use of historical sources to place present events in context. (I've read the memoirs of the Marquis de Custine and can see how it continues to provide relevant context today!) I found the experiences of Feifer's own family and his personal connections to the events of 20th and 21st century interesting as well. The book was particularly insightful when the author left Moscow and St. Petersburg to examine the social and economi [...]


    12. Excellent book for anyone interested in the Russian character and short cultural history of this strange country. The book seeks to explain why Russians are doing certain things totally different from Westerners (US/Europeans). Why their view of the world is different and why they prefer autocratic rulers rather than good old democracy. The book is well written and easy to grasp especially for those who have real life experience of interacting or doing business with Russians.


    13. This is a good book for anyone who likes to read about Russian history and/or contemporary Russia. It is written by a Moscow-based journalist who's mother was Soviet born and raised. Gregory Feifer gives great details on all sorts of Russian life. From extreme wealth to extreme poverty, very high alcoholism and very high domestic violence, corruption and more corruption. Highly recommended!


    14. Gregory Feifer us a former NPR Moscow correspondent, a journalist and scholar, very knowledgable of Russian history, literature and culture. Son of George Feifer, well-known writer (fiction and non fiction) during the cold war and his Russian wife. What emerges is a depiction of pervasive corruption operating in a vacuum, with no redeeming ideology such as existed in Soviet times. While Feifer recognizes continuity in concepts and practices from the earliest Russian history right through the Sov [...]


    15. Took me a while to get through it while I read some fiction to break it up. Very detailed informative look at Russian history, culture and politics and how it sets them apart from the rest of the world. A timely read.


    16. Russians really was an enlightening read. It gave me an insight and perspective into what modern day Russia is really like that I did not have much of an inkling of before. I love when I pick up a book and read about something that I had little or no prior knowledge of before. It is such a journey of discovery!The rampant corruption and path back towards Soviet-era Russia that is currently prominent in Russia was something I did not realize. And Putin's role in all of it and the sham of a democr [...]


    17. This was such an interesting read! I'm still trying to grasp Russian history and generally the books I stumble on or add to my 'to-read' list don't cover the past two decades or so of more recent events, much less get the viewpoint of the people, so this book caught my eye right away. Gregory Feifer has personal ties to the country which I also enjoyed very much - I find that family history that the author shares in these books really help me connect to the bigger picture. He did mention that he [...]


    18. This is an interesting book about the character of the Russian people, written by an NPR correspondent with some family ties to the country. Very cold winters, poverty, vodka, Slavophile Russian Orthodoxy vying against Western Enlightenment values all help form the Russian character. There is speculation about the origin of the dependence on a strongman leader. The country was formed by inviting a Swedish strongman king to form Kievian Rus’ from a collection of weak Slavic tribes. Harsh winter [...]


    19. I liked this book a lot. I have read a lot of books about Russia, have studied Russian and have known a lot of Russians, and this book rings true to the people and society that I know and find so fascinating. Feiffer effectively blends a journalist's view of culture and society with a personal memoir. The personal parts of the book provide anecdotal support for the book's broader view of Russian society and provide a human element. The most instructive part of the book for me was the description [...]


    20. This ambitious book attempts to explain Putin's Russia in the context of a culture that has tolerated corruption, bad government, and extreme economic inequality for centuries. The result is a bit uneven, but always informative and often revealing. Gregory Feifer is well-equipped for the task: his mother is a Russian emigre; his father was an American foreign service officer in the USSR; he studied Russian history with leading scholars at Harvard; and he spent several years reporting on Russia f [...]


    21. This book is not an enjoyable read, but for anyone who wants to know more about what's been going on in Russia since the revolution and to have some sense of why it's been going on, this book is most informative. Since the author's mother was born in the Soviet Union, he can add a personal touch to the historic events which contributes a lot to the interest level of the book.


    22. It was uneven in writing but good. I think I had issues with the sequencing and for some reason the history of beginning of Russia came at the end of the book and not the front. I didn't like how he structure the chapters and I found the more interesting information come towards the end of the book. This is a book for people who know Russian history because the author doesn't go into much detail, unless it serves his purpose, for which I can't tell what it is. I know that his family background i [...]


    23. For anyone who has ever been to Russia or been interested in this fascinating country, this is a great book that gives all the historical perspective and insight you could imagine in an honest fashion. The best part is that it's through the eyes of a Harvard-educated, former NPR reporter who spent extensive time there and also has a rich background of his own. His mother is Russian and his father, also a book writer and journalist, spent a lot of time there, too. Disclosure: The writer, Gregory [...]


    24. Who are these people forcing this rating down to a 3.74 stars? This being , the average is 4 stars, subpar is like 3.95 stars, and horrible is 3.85 stars. Are they Putin's internet goons?This book was very informative and readable, though really, really depressing. Life in Russia is described kind of like life in Kafka's The Trial. The system doesn't care about you but it's somehow always stacked against you, and every aspiration leads to a dead end. Buy a new car? There are metal filings in the [...]


    25. A fascinating review of post Soviet Russia by ex NPR correspondent Gregory Feifer. Mr. Feifer has the distinct advantage of Russian heritage and fluency in the Russian language. The reports of his travels reaching into the farthest corners of this vast land paint a rich canvas of modern Russia which, with the exception of the major cities is not so modern after all. It seems that for the vast expanses between those cities time stood still. Russia, with all its grandiose achievements in the arts [...]


    26. The strength of this book is the number of encounters with the people of Russia that the author relates throughout the book. He uses these to underline the basic thesis of the book that Russians are fundamentally different from those of us immersed in Western culture in how they interact with the world and each other. These encounters are fascinating whether or not the author convinces you of the existence of these fundamental differences. In tracing the lives of his mother and other Russian rel [...]


    27. A very absorbing book written by a journalist with extensive experience in Russia. Endemic corruption, a flawed legal system and a succession of power hungry Despots make life quite miserable for a lot of ordinary Russian people. He delves into the history of the country to help explain the inability of Russian society to escape their past despite the efforts of many brave people many of them journalists who have ended up shot by thugs. The Author's mother is Russian and her story is very intere [...]


    28. Sobib inimesele, kes ei ole Venemaaga eriti kokku puutunud ja kelle teadmised on väga üldised."Kas teil seda odekolonni on?" küsib klient habemeajaja juures ja hingab habemeajajale näkku. Habemeajaja raputab pead ja hingab omakorda kliendile näkku: "Ei, meil on ainult seda."Üks teine mees, kes on tundide kaupa viinajärjekorras seisnud, otsustab selle asemel Kremlisse minna ja Gorbatšovile korraliku keretäie anda. Kui ta tunni aja pärast tagasi tuleb, küsib temalt sõber, kes ikka veel [...]


    29. Russians is an example of journalistic non-fiction done right. Gregory Feifer offers a surprisingly deep insight into the culture and identity of a people. This sounds awfully simple in a condensed statement. The success of Russians lies in separating a personal narrative from two oft-repeated gravitations with this form; the first, toward anecdotal or colloquial portraiture with little substance; and second, a reportage of events. Feifer has navigated a line straight down the middle. The single [...]


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