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The Compatriots

The Brutal and Chaotic History of Russia's Exiles, Émigrés, and Agents Abroad
Narrated by: Nick Sullivan
Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
Categories: History, European
5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The authors of The Red Web examine the shifting role of Russian expatriates throughout history, and their complicated, unbreakable relationship with the mother country - be it antagonistic or far too chummy.

The history of Russian espionage is soaked in blood, from a spontaneous pistol shot that killed a secret policeman in Romania in 1924 to the attempt to poison an exiled KGB colonel in Salisbury, England, in 2017. Russian émigrés have found themselves continually at the center of the mayhem.

Russians began leaving the country in big numbers in the late 19th century, fleeing pogroms, tsarist secret police persecution, and the Revolution, then Stalin and the KGB - and creating the third-largest diaspora in the world. The exodus created a rare opportunity for the Kremlin. Moscow's masters and spymasters fostered networks of spies, many of whom were emigrants driven from Russia. By the 1930s and 1940s, dozens of spies were in New York City gathering information for Moscow.

But the story did not end with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Some émigrés have turned into assets of the resurgent Russian nationalist state, while others have taken up the dissident challenge once more - at their personal peril. From Trotsky to Litvinenko, The Compatriots is the gripping history of Russian score-settling around the world.

©2019 Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Borogan and Soldatov have uncovered a series of thrilling narratives about the strange, desperate, and passionate world of Russians abroad. Each one is worth a film in itself but when combined with the insights into the intelligence operative who monitored, wooed, duped, bribed, or killed them, the authors have come up with a novel, refreshing, and illuminating look into the enigma of the Russian soul." (Misha Glenny, author of McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld)

"Through a series of endlessly compelling stories, Soldatov and Borogan make the case that Putin is carefully grooming and manipulating the vast Russian émigré community to serve the interests of their mother country. You can't follow Russian politics without Soldatov and Borogan's reporting. In The Compatriots, they once again deliver the fascinating inside story that's absent from the American press." (Joseph Weisberg, creator and executive producer of The Americans)

"Talk about courageous journalism! Here's an inside expose of Russian poisonings, assassinations, and political meddling written by two Russian investigative journalists, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan. They narrate a century of the Kremlin's dirty tricks through manipulation of Russians living abroad-making them serve the dark purposes of the state. Reading this book, you understand that there are still many brave, patriotic Russians who want what's best for their country, not just Vladimir Putin. If you liked watching The Americans on TV, then The Compatriots is a must-read. This isn't spy fiction, but spy fact." (David Ignatius, columnist for the Washington Post and author of The Quantum Spy)

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