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The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep: Russia's Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin

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Once you accept that the impossible is really possible, what happens in Russia makes perfect sense

“A few pages into David Satter’s truly terrifying book, one realizes that his title is smack-on accurate: modern Russia is a frightening member of the world community to an extent of which most persons are blissfully unaware.”—Joseph C. Goulden, Washington Times

“Satter . . . persuasively supplies evidence for his claim that a series of residential bombings in 1999 were part of an elaborate conspiracy orchestrated by Vladimir Putin, who used them as a smoke screen to invade Chechnya and catapult himself to the presidency.”—Publisher’s Weekly


In December 2013, David Satter became the first American journalist to be expelled from Russia since the Cold War. The Moscow Times said it was not surprising he was expelled, “it was surprising it took so long.” Satter is known in Russia for having written that the apartment bombings in 1999, which were blamed on Chechens and brought Putin to power, were actually carried out by the Russian FSB security police.

In this book, Satter tells the story of the apartment bombings and how Boris Yeltsin presided over the criminalization of Russia, why Vladimir Putin was chosen as his successor, and how Putin has suppressed all opposition while retaining the appearance of a pluralist state. As the threat represented by Russia becomes increasingly clear, Satter’s description of where Russia is and how it got there will be of vital interest to anyone concerned about the dangers facing the world today.

ISBN-13: 9780300230727

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Yale University Press

Publication Date: 08-22-2017

Pages: 248

Product Dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

David Satter, who has written about Russia for almost four decades, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a fellow of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He divides his time between Washington, D.C., and London.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition ix

Preface xvii

Acknowledgments xxiii

List of Abbreviations and Administrative Delincations xxiv

1 The 1999 Apartment Bombings 1

2 Yeltsin: Chaos and Criminality 41

3 The Power Vertical 77

4 Selective Terror 97

5 A System Under Threat 133

6 Russia's Fate 163

Notes 175

Bibliography 195

Index 211