Godfather of the Kremlin: Boris Berezovsky and the looting of Russia
Boris Berezovsky's business career has been meteoric. In just six years he managed to seize control of Russia's largest auto manufacturer, largest TV network, national airline, and one of the world's biggest oil companies. When Moscow's gangster families battled one another in the Great Mob War of 1993-1994, Berezovsky was in the thick of it. He was badly burned by a car bomb; his driver was decapitated. A year later, Berezovsky emerged as the prime suspect in the assassination of the director of the TV network he acquired. Although plagued by scandal, he enjoyed President Yeltsin's support, serving as the personal "financial advisor" to Yeltsin and his family. In 1996, Berezovsky organized the financing of Yeltsin's re-election campaign-a campaign marred by fraud, embezzlement, and attempted murder. Berezovsky became the president's most influential political advisor, playing a key role in forming governments and dismissing prime ministers. Having labored to privatize the economy, Berezovsky privatized the state. Based on hundreds of taped interviews with top businessmen and government officials, as well as on secret police reports, contractual documents, and surveillance tapes, Godfather of the Kremlin is both a gripping story and a unique historical document.
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Godfather of the Kremlin: Boris Berezovsky and the looting of RussiaUser Review - Book Verdict
Berezovsky, who currently owns Russia's largest auto manufacturer and TV network and one of the world's largest oil companies, is a shady figure with mob connections who narrowly avoided death in a car bombing and was later implicated in the assassination of the director of a TV network. He financed Yeltsin's reelection campaign and helped put current president Vladimir Putin in office. Freeland blames him for much of the corruption and unrestrained greed of 1994-95, when state assets were sold off, and Klebnikov concurs: "Berezovksy's most destructive legacy was that, as a private individual, he hijacked the state." Both authors use personal interviews and substantiated sources to supply much more sensational information than is found in recent works by historians, such as Martin Malia's The Soviet Tragedy (LJ 4/1/94) or The Russian Transformation (LJ 9/15/99), edited by Betty Glad and Eric Shiraev. What results is thoroughly readable and thought-provoking. Sadly, both authors conclude that Putin will have trouble acting independently of the oligarchs. In selling off state assets, which made billionaires of Berezovsky and other oligarchs, Russia made a Faustian bargain that consumes it to this day.--Harry Willems, Southeast Kansas Lib. Syst., Iola ...
Cast of Characters
The Collapse of the Old Regime
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