Putin's People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West


Product Details

$35.00  $32.55
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.1 X 2.1 inches | 2.1 pounds

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About the Author

Catherine Belton reports on Russia for The Washington Post. She worked from 2007 to 2013 as the Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times, and in 2016 as the newspaper's legal correspondent. She has previously reported on Russia for The Moscow Times and BusinessWeek and served as an investigative correspondent for Reuters. In 2009, she was short-listed for the British Press Awards' Business and Finance Journalist of the Year prize. She lives in London.


The cast of supporting characters in Catherine Belton's study of the Russia of Vladimir Putin is extraordinary and worthy of a Netflix mini-series . . . This is modern Russia in full, horrifying technicolour. In Putin's People, Belton, a former FT Moscow correspondent, leaves no stone unturned in her exposition of how the Russian president and his "people" dominate the largest country on Earth and how they have come to do so . . . this riveting, immaculately researched book is arguably the best single volume written about Putin, the people around him and perhaps even about contemporary Russia itself in the past three decades. --Peter Frankopan, Financial Times

"The plot sounds like a geopolitical thriller. Amid an empire's collapse, the secret police funnel money out of the country, creating a slush fund to rebuild their old networks. They regain power, become spectacularly rich and turn on their enemies, first at home--and then abroad. That is fact, not fiction. Catherine Belton, for years a Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times, relates it with clarity, detail, insight and bravery. Books about modern Russia abound . . . [but] Belton has surpassed them all. Her much-awaited book is the best and most important on modern Russia. It benefits from a meticulous compilation of open sources, but also from the accounts of disillusioned Kremlin insiders, former business cronies and some remarkably candid people still high up in the system. The result is hair-raising . . . Belton's passages about Donald Trump's business ties with Russia during the 1990s are particularly thought-provoking . . . particularly because of the careful sourcing from numerous witnesses and insiders." --Edward Lucas, The Times (London)

Relentless and convincing . . . This is the most remarkable account so far of Putin's rise . . . Belton offers the most detailed and compelling version [of this story] yet, based on dozens of interviews with oligarchs and Kremlin insiders, as well as former KGB operatives and Swiss and Russian bankers . . . Gobsmacking . . . A superb book. --Luke Harding, The Guardian

Relentless and magnificently detailed . . . Putin's People is a serious, absolutely timely warning. No book has documented the Russian president's leadership so indefatigably and compellingly. If you want to grasp in full how Russia has become the nation it has in the last 20 years, this is the book you've been waiting for. --Julian Evans, The Telegraph

How [Putin's fellow] "operatives" got into power and what they did with it is the subject of this long-awaited, must-read book by Catherine Belton, a former Moscow reporter for the Financial Times who spent years investigating the most sensitive subject in Russia -- the business dealings of Putin and his circle of cronies (or siloviki). By following the money and diving deep into the squalor, she has pieced together a disturbing picture of a criminalised regime whose methods are more like the mafia than a state. --Arkady Ostrovsky, The Sunday Times

As Catherine Belton's powerful and meticulously reported new book shows, the apparent anarchy of the post-Soviet world has instead given way to a massive concentration of wealth and power, which is used by the new Russian elite to quash dissent at home and project force abroad . . . A narrative tour de force. --The Economist

[Catherine Belton's] book is fast-paced, thoroughly researched and packed with new--or at least not widely known--facts . . . This is the best kind of journalist's book, written with an eye for a well-turned story and compelling characters, and steering mercifully clear of academic theorising. And what tales Belton has to tell. --Owen Matthews, The Spectator

A book that western experts on modern Russia acknowledge as vital to our understanding of the Putin phenomenon . . . Belton draws on published sources and deep-throat contacts to plot a course through the maze of crooked financial manoeuvres--the sleights of hand, the back-room deals, the 'loans' from state banks, the kick-backs on contracts--that Putin and his courtiers got up to as they systematically drew the wealth to themselves as inexorably as iron filings to a magnet. --Tony Rennell, The Daily Mail

Catherine Belton is quite simply the most detailed and best-informed journalist covering Russia. One hears so much grand punditry about the country, but if you want to know the terrifying facts, from the nexus of KGB, business, and crime which was Putin's petri dish to the complex reality of the relationship with Trump--and if you want to see how all this combines into a whole new system--then this is the book for you. --Peter Pomerantsev, author of This Is Not Propaganda and Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible

Putin's People is meticulously researched and superbly written, terrifying in its scope and utterly convincing in its argument. It is a portrait of a group of men ruthless in their power and careless of anyone else. This is the Putin book that we've been waiting for. --Oliver Bullough, author of Moneyland and The Last Man in Russia

"Putin's People is a ground-breaking investigative history of the rise of Vladimir Putin and a revealing examination of how power and money intersect in today's Russia. Catherine Belton has pulled away the curtain on two decades of hidden financial networks and lucrative secret deals, exposing the inner workings of Putin & Co. in remarkable and disturbing detail. A real eye-opener." --David E. Hoffman, author of The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia

"Catherine Belton deftly tackles one of Russia's biggest mysteries--how did an undistinguished, mid-level former intelligence operative like Vladimir Putin catapult himself to such lofty heights? Her deeply researched account digs into unexplored aspects of Putin's rise to power as well as the experiences of longtime Putin friends and allies who have harvested most of the benefits from his 20 year reign." --Andrew S. Weiss, James Family Chair and vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment