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The Long Hangover: Putin's Russia and the Ghosts of the Past

The Long Hangover: Putin's Russia and the Ghosts of the Past

Written by Shaun Walker

Narrated by Michael Page


The Long Hangover: Putin's Russia and the Ghosts of the Past

Written by Shaun Walker

Narrated by Michael Page

ratings:
4.5/5 (54 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Released:
Jan 2, 2018
ISBN:
9781681688404
Format:
Audiobook

Description

In The Long Hangover, Shaun Walker provides new insight into contemporary Russia and its search for a new identity, telling the story through the country's troubled relationship with its Soviet past. Walker not only explains Vladimir Putin's goals and the government's official manipulations of history, but also focuses on ordinary Russians and their motivations. He charts how Putin raised victory in World War II to the status of a national founding myth in the search for a unifying force to heal a divided country, and shows how dangerous the ramifications of this have been. The book explores why Russia, unlike Germany, has failed to come to terms with the darkest pages of its past: Stalin's purges, the Gulag, and the war deportations. The narrative roams from the corridors of the Kremlin to the wilds of the Gulags and the trenches of east Ukraine. It puts the annexation of Crimea and the newly assertive Russia in the context of the delayed fallout of the Soviet collapse.

Packed with analysis but told mainly through vibrant reportage, The Long Hangover is a thoughtful exploration of the legacy of the Soviet collapse and how it has affected life in Russia and Putin's policies.

Released:
Jan 2, 2018
ISBN:
9781681688404
Format:
Audiobook

About the author



Reviews

What people think about The Long Hangover

4.6
54 ratings / 2 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    So informative and helpful for explaining the current political climate. I am so grateful to Shaun Walker’s meticulous writing and vivid storytelling. He is a true journalist. I also loved the narrator’s enthusiasm in this audiobook version.

    I wish there were more books by this author and I hope to find more nonfiction historical audiobooks by this narrator. Great job everyone. I have recommended this to my friends and family.
  • (4/5)

    3 people found this helpful

    This book describes the way in which Russia's troubled history has been newly mythologized to provide a sense of patriotism and meaning for its citizens, many of whom are still reeling from the loss of Soviet identity, according to Walker. He makes a good case for that diagnosis (as the title puts it, many are still suffering from a "long hangover" after events of 1990) using colorful interviews with a wide spectrum of Russians, Ukrainians and minorities such as Crimean Tatars who suffered tremendously during the Soviet years. Above all, the author emphasizes the extent to which simplistic nationalistic history has come to serve as an ideology which, along with the annexation of Crimea, now serves as a replacement for real hope for the largely impoverished Russians. Meanwhile, Ukrainians have been caught up either in the Soviet nostalgia for a time that never was, or, too often, busy resurrecting their own dark heroes from WW2 such as Stephan Bandera (a Ukranian nationalist who fought against Russia, but with the Nazis during WW2).

    Overall, Walker captures a somewhat desperate and tragic set of characters living under adverse conditions, which are only made worse by their obsession with a heavily fictionalized version of Soviet era history (which includes the partial rehabilitation of Stalin as savior of Russia during the Great Patriotic War). It is hard to believe that all of this propaganda blinds the masses in Russia to the degraded standards of living, and diminishing life-chances that beset them in their daily lives. But Walker suggests that the propaganda has decisively shaped the mindset of a whole generation of young Russians who will take this world view with them into the remote future. It is an interesting thesis, but I think a lot can change in a few years. After all, almost nobody saw the end of the USSR coming in the early 1980s. Still, The Long Hangover shows the relevance of Russia's past (esp. WW2 era Soviet Union) to its ongoing present, illuminating, in particular, some of the emotional and political undercurrents at work in the conflict in Ukraine. I came away with a deeper understanding of that conflict and the new patriotism it manifests. A good read.

    3 people found this helpful