Kieran Pender reviews 'The Long Hangover: Putin’s new Russia and the ghosts of the past' by Shaun Walker

Kieran Pender reviews 'The Long Hangover: Putin’s new Russia and the ghosts of the past' by Shaun Walker

The Long Hangover: Putin’s new Russia and the ghosts of the past

by Shaun Walker

Oxford University Press, $44.95 hb, 288 pp, 9780190659240

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.

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Kieran Pender

Kieran Pender

Kieran Pender is an Australian writer and researcher. He is a research associate at The Australian National University, a research fellow with the Black Sea Institute, and a regular contributor to The Guardian. He has reported from four continents, covering topics as diverse as Kiribati’s climate change activist weightlifter, Syrian refugees in the breakaway state of Abkhazia, and the Tour de France.

Published in April 2018, no. 400