Life in Modern Russia

By Ryan's Picks

By Ryan's Picks

A selection of fiction and non-fiction accounts of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the heady days of 90s capitalist shock therapy, and the emergence of Vladimir Putin's rule. 

The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia

Masha Gessen

$18.00 $16.56

Fatalistic but important look at life in Putin's Russia. Gessen makes a strong case for Russia's backwards slide into Soviet-style repression and decay.

Putin's Russia: Life in a Failing Democracy

Anna Politkovskaya

$21.00 $18.90

Fascinating and damning dispatches of decay and corruption across all of Russia. Works like this earned Politovskaya unwelcome attention from the Kremlin and undoubtedly contributed to her still-unsolved murder.

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

Masha Gessen

$18.00 $16.56

Pretty riveting account of Putin's early life and career beginnings as a KGB officer in East Germany, then later ascent to political office, and then consolidating power as President and Prime Minister to secure total control over the country.

The Invention of Russia: The Rise of Putin and the Age of Fake News

Arkady Ostrovsky

$18.00 $16.56

Ostrovsky makes a convincing case for the Kremlin's use of the media to craft and implement a vision of post-Soviet life as a story of success and resurgence, in contrast to the Western myths of a capitalist victory.

Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia

Peter Pomerantsev

$16.98 $15.62

Less political and more boots-on-the-ground type reporting, this one is a tapestry of stories about the bizarre twists and turns only life in modern Russia can take.

The Big Green Tent

Ludmila Ulitskaya


Sweeping novel recounting the lives of three school friends from the 1950s Khrushchev thaw through the Soviet collapse and creation of a modern Russian state in the early to mid 1990s.


Eugene Vodolazkin

$14.99 $13.79

This one's set in 15th century Russia. A peasant boy gets trained in medicinal herbs and healing and takes on an epic journey through plague-ridden Europe and to the Middle East. Good read for those interested in exciting authors working in Russia today.