Edward Lucas: ‘The New Cold War’

I just finished reading Edward Lucas’ The New Cold War: Putin’s Russia and the Threat to the West. It was an interesting book—very anti-Russian, but I expected no less. I learned a lot, especially about the way Russians and Estonians view one another (basically, they both hate each other’s guts). Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

On July 8, 2006, the Duma passed a law criminalize extremism, giving the president the authority to secretly give orders to the FSB to assassinates “extremists” at home and abroad. -page 62

Scary stuff!

When the rest of Europe was experiencing the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, Russia was still mired in feudalism, and ruled by eccentric tyrants. Brief spasms of reform and rebellion hardly dented the autocratic rule of the Czars. Only for a few months in 1917 under Kerensky did Russia have anything approaching parliamentary government, before it was snuffed out by the Bolshevik putsch that later became known as the “October Revolution.” -page 70

Yes, because obviously England was ruled by a nice democratically elected government during the time of the Enlightenment, too… oh wait, it was a monarchy back then. But it wasn’t as bad as that nasty backward Russian monarchy, was it, Mr. Lucas? I do give credit where credit is due, though: at least Lucas recognizes that the Kerensky government had potential.

The Kremlin has given Gazprom—a private company—the unusual right to recruit and operate its own military forces to protect its overseas pipelines. -page 171

My newest goal in life: become CEO of a company that has its own military forces. How awesome would that be?

Bottom line: this book is interesting, but is better read with a critical eye. As the old adage goes, don’t believe everything you read.