In this book Satter tells the story of the apartment bombings and how Boris Yeltsin presided over the criminalization of Russia, why Vladimir Putin was chosen as his sucessor, and how Putin has suppressed all opposition while retaining the appearance of a pluralist state. As the threat represented by Russia becomes increasingly clear, Satter's description of where Russia is and how it got there will be of vital interest to anyone concerned about the dangers facing the world today.
I believe that Vladimir Putin came to power as the result of an act of terror committed against his own people. The evidence is overwhelming that the apartment-house bombings in 1999 in Moscow, Buinaksk, and Volgodonsk, which provided a pretext for the second Chechen war and catapulted Putin into the presidency, were carried out by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). Yet, to this day, an indifferent world has made little attempt to grasp the significance.
Of all the illusions surrounding U.S.–Russian relations, none is more dangerous than the notion that Russia can be a partner in the war on terrorism. Yet U.S. President-elect Donald Trump appears to be willing to make a massive bet on Russia’s good intentions. In a recent interview with Time, Trump said that working with Russia to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) can help the United States save both lives and money. “Why not get along with Russia?” he asked. “They’re effective and smart.”