here for The Guardian's review by Angus Macqueen.
A devastating appraisal of
the policies of Russia's Head of State by that country's leading radical
Internationally admired for her fearless reporting, especially on the
Chechen wars, award-winning journalist Anna Politkovskaya turned
her steely gaze on the man who, until very recently, was a darling of
the Western media. A former KGB spy, Vladimir Putin was named President
of Russia in 2000. From the moment he entered the public arena, he
marketed himself as an open, enlightened leader eager to engage with the
West. Unlike many European and American journalists and politicians,
Politkovskaya never trusted Putin's press image.
She tells the story of his iron grip on Russian life from the point of
view of individual citizens whose situations have been shaped by his
unique brand of tyranny. Mafia dealings, scandals in the provinces,
military and judiciary corruption, the decline of the intelligentsia,
the tragic mishandling of the Moscow theatre siege - all are subject to
Politkovskaya's pitiless but invariably humane scrutiny.
was chosen by
PEN International to launch its Writers in Translation programme.