Putin’s People

Twenty years ago, in a frantic bid to prevent Russia from falling back in the hands of the communists, a handful of men pushed Putin into power and now deeply regret their choices. Those who were trying to create a free market economy in Russia either underestimated the KGB or had been working for them all along. Today, everyone’s hands are dirty, everyone is spying on everyone else and no one can exist or survive outside the system that Putin and the KBG have built.

Catherine Belton used to be the Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times. In this deep and astounding account, she traces Putin’s rise as a KGB operative and the workings of those who put him in power. Recent history including election meddling, Russian influence in state economies, the growing clash of ideologies and political systems between the east and west are all just the tip of the iceberg. Putin’s People reveals the mountain below the dark waters. 

Russia has a decades-long plan to take on the West that is already in motion and is nowhere near backing down. The West’s quick abandonment of its own principles in favour of doing business with Russia enabled this scenario to worsen. Belton unravels the complex web of narratives that show how Russian operatives are moving into the West, buying property, funnelling money though bank accounts, developing high level contacts, whitewashing their image by investing in sports teams and making themselves indispensable to societies that are waking up to all of this too late. The book leads right up to Trump and the slow but steady increase in Russian influence long before he ran for president. 

This reads like a high-stakes spy novel and is an exciting account of modern day political history. Those interested in any of these subjects can roll up their sleeves to tackle this heavy hitter and will not be disappointed.

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