Sale Of The Century
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Sale Of The Century : The Inside Story of the Second Russian Revolution

4.19 (151 ratings by Goodreads)
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4.19 (151 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

This is the first account of Russia's second revolution - the country's dramatic, wrenching transition from communist central planning to a market economy. Written by one of the finest writers on contemporary Russia, it is told by interweaving high politics with glimpses of the revolution's impact on the lives of ordinary people.
Beginning with a sharp portrayal of the dismal living conditions in the Soviet Union, she moves on to the romantic early days of the capitalist transformation. This was the height of market euphoria when, despite the chaos of everyday life, a prosperous future seemed within easy reach. Woven through the book are remarkable stories - of Yeltsin's use of popular psychics, of the might of the 'robber barons' who form alliances with criminal mafia gangs, of Machiavellian politicians who 'have dealt with the devil and believe they have made a good bargain'. In the final stage of the book, Freeland chronicles the end of the first wave of Russia's capitalist revolution, detailing the economic crisis currently rumbling through the country.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 28mm | 320g
  • Abacus
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • illustrations
  • 0349112606
  • 9780349112602
  • 64,082

Flap copy

In the 1990s, all eyes turned to the momentous changes in Russia, as the world's largest country was transformed into the world's newest democracy. But the heroic images of Boris Yeltsin atop a tank in front of Moscow's White House soon turned to grim new realities: a currency in freefall and a war in Chechnya; on the street, flashy new money and a vicious Russian mafia contrasted with doctors and teachers not receiving salaries for months at a time. If this was what capitalism brought, many Russians wondered if they weren't better off under the communists.
This new society did not just appear ready-made: it was created by a handful of powerful men who came to be known as the oligarchs and the young reformers. The oligarchs were fast-talking businessmen who laid claim to Russia's vast natural resources. The young reformers were an elite group of egghead economists who got to put their wild theories into action, with results that were sometimes inspiring, sometimes devastating. With unparalleled access and acute insight, Chrystia Freeland takes us behind the scenes and shows us how these two groups misused a historic opportunity to build a new Russia. Their achievements were considerable, but their mistakes will deform Russian society for generations to come.
Along with a gripping account of the incredible events in Russia's corridors of power, Freeland gives us a vivid sense of the buzz and hustle of the new Russia, and inside stories of the businesses that have beaten the odds and become successful and profitable. She also exposes the conflicts and compromises that developed when red directors of old Soviet firms and factories yielded to -- or fought -- the radically new waysof doing business. She delves into the loophole economy, where anyone who knows how to manipulate the new rules can make a fast buck. Sale of the Century is a fascinating fly-on-the-wall economic thriller -- an astonishing and essential account of who really controls Russia's new frontier.
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Review quote

We now have a superb piece of reportage on the central years of the oligarchic era - which may prove, at least in its pure form, to be coterminous with the Yeltsin period ... This book ... is a tremendous illumination of early Russian business methods... Freeland's account of the central deal of the era... reads, at times, like Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full * John Lloyd, NEW STATESMAN * If Marx could read SALE OF THE CENTURY, he would undoubtedly applaud. * Professor Jerry Brotton * This could so easily have been a deeply inpenetrable book. The shenanigans involving the assorted sell-offs, buy-outs and changing alliances in Russia in the past ten years have been so complex as to leave even dedicated readers feeling confused. Chrystia Freeland's achievement in SALE OF THE CENTURY is thus all the more remarkable in weaving a gripping narrative out of all the anarchy and chaos. * INDEPENDENT *
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About Chrystia Freeland

Chrystia Freeland is deputy Chief Editor of the FINANCIAL TIMES. This is her first book.
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Rating details

151 ratings
4.19 out of 5 stars
5 39% (59)
4 43% (65)
3 16% (24)
2 1% (2)
1 1% (1)
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