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Publisher's Summary

"This riveting, immaculately researched book is arguably the best single volume written about Putin, the people around him and perhaps even about contemporary Russia itself in the past three decades." (Peter Frankopan, Financial Times)

Interference in American elections. The sponsorship of extremist politics in Europe. War in Ukraine. In recent years, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has waged a concerted campaign to expand its influence and undermine Western institutions. But how and why did all this come about, and who has orchestrated it?

In Putin’s People, the investigative journalist and former Moscow correspondent Catherine Belton reveals the untold story of how Vladimir Putin and the small group of KGB men surrounding him rose to power and looted their country. Delving deep into the workings of Putin’s Kremlin, Belton accesses key inside players to reveal how Putin replaced the freewheeling tycoons of the Yeltsin era with a new generation of loyal oligarchs, who in turn subverted Russia’s economy and legal system and extended the Kremlin's reach into the United States and Europe. The result is a chilling and revelatory exposé of the KGB’s revanche - a story that begins in the murk of the Soviet collapse, when networks of operatives were able to siphon billions of dollars out of state enterprises and move their spoils into the West. Putin and his allies subsequently completed the agenda, reasserting Russian power while taking control of the economy for themselves, suppressing independent voices, and launching covert influence operations abroad.

Ranging from Moscow and London to Switzerland and Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach - and assembling a colorful cast of characters to match - Putin’s People is the definitive account of how hopes for the new Russia went astray, with stark consequences for its inhabitants and, increasingly, the world.  

Financial Times Books of the Year - 2020 

The Telegraph (UK) Best Books of the Year - 2020 

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

©2020 Catherine Belton (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Putin's People

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  • K
  • 07-15-20

very good

this book is near perfect. last chapter is the weakest. it tries to incriminate trump, but doesnt do it successfully. yes, i agree russians were happy when he won, and in fact may have gelp him win, but ever since he became a president nothing got easier for russia. he may have benefited but has not returned favor..
other than luberal bias toward trump, this book is near perfect. mafia rules over russia

8 people found this helpful

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Feels a lot of gap

Those of us following Russia this may fill a lot of interesting gaps and raise some questions. Good information and my only complaint is the narrator.... one his pronunciation of names and words was a lot of times just wrong, but this relentless rush to get through it did not help. I would love to listen to this again to make sure I got some things right, but I don’t think I can face 20 some hours of his urgency. These are descriptions of intricate connections over some 40 years with many references they can be spewed out like a breaking news report on fox.... slow the #*%^ down man...

6 people found this helpful

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Ultimate in nonfiction on Putinism.

I've read about 15 nonfiction books about Putin's Russia in the past 4 years. This was the best. Whether you're a novice or a Kremlin-watching expert, this is well-worth your time! I loved her perspective on Putin's earliest KGB days, it's not the standard narrative but I think she's correct about his days in Dresden. It also covers Putin's kleptocracy and dictatorship really brilliantly. Her sources are unparalleled and she is very thorough about Yanukovych, Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. I devoured the book in under a week. Every citizen of the UK, US & Europe it is in your immediate interest to read this book. The national security of the entire West depends on it!

5 people found this helpful

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What a tangled web...

Belton patiently lays out the story of Putin’s rise from poverty through the ranks of the KGB to the undisputed neo-tsar like a sinister chess game. Most of the book lays the board for game play, assembling the unbelievably complicated network of chekists & black market bag men & enforcers, & even Russian Orthodox figures who made alliances in unlikely places using laundered money. This could not possibly be a more timely read: Biden warned of the great dangers of RU corruption early, & Trump was the Kremlin’s ideal target for corruption. But Russia’s ambitions for recapturing the glories of its imperial past threaten far more than just a US election. A very clear-eyed assessment, unsentimental about the West’s mistakes in underestimating its Cold War rival, this is a major work of investigative reporting which should be read everywhere.

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Essential reading to understand post Soviet Russia

Catherine Benton writes brilliantly about the Byzantine workings of Putin’s Russia and how billions of dollars looted from the state properties of the USSR has empowered Putin’s People to amass enormous domestic and international power. She presents a detailed case of corruption leveraging these looted and laundered billions in influencing politics in the West and contributing to Brexit and the election of Donal Trump. This furthers a resentful Putin’s revenge against NATO, EU, and the western alliance Putin has used his judo black belt well understanding that capitalist greed for money can be used against the longer term interests of their nation.

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Very good

Always wondered about details? These are the details of criminal activities followed by intelligence matters. Must read.

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A must read to understand Putin’s Russia

Without a doubt the details present in a Putin’s People about Putin’s rise and his association with the Russian mob and their ties to the KGB should be the basis of contemporary political history.

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Very fair

Difficult to pay attention to unless you are familiar with the players. It was not what I was looking for

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Immense

Well written and researched to amaze you at every twist and turn in the long story of Putin’s rise to power and all his favoured business men that run the state Amazing closing chapters linking it to US money laundering and trump

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Must read

It is a must read for anyone to understand Russia and its current goals. The author illustrates how Russia is undermining western democracies with our complicit cooperation.