The Rise and Fall of the Russian Oligarchs (2006)
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Freed from the shackles of communism in the 1990s, Russia seemed to be entering an era of rebirth. But as is often the case in that country, history unfolded harshly. For the majority of Russians, the transition to a market system was painful and chaotic - and anything but democratic. Amid the confusion, a few shrewd and ruthless businessmen exploited the loopholes in the Soviet economy to make fast money, staving off a return to communist rule. Nicknamed the oligarchs, these men, all billionaires, manoeuvred their way into Russia’s political inner circle during glasnost, are credited with Boris Yeltsin’s re-election in 1996, and suspected of anointing Vladimir Putin in 1999. They’re powerful men with powerful enemies, and they continue to shape Russian society. Dizzying in its detail, The Rise and Fall of the Russian Oligarchs puts modern-day Russia into perspective.