Winston Churchill once famously said of Russia: ‘It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.’ The aphorism is still cited regularly today by analysts and commentators confused by the opaque Russian state. Regrettably, the sentences that followed have been largely consigned to history. Churchill continued: ‘But perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.’
Shaun Walker, a long-time Moscow correspondent for the British press (most recently The Guardian), provides more clues to understanding modern Russia in his first book. An orchestrated campaign to manipulate history, identity, and memory, Walker argues, forms a central aspect of President Vladimir Putin’s nearly two-decade long reign in his expansive post-Soviet empire.