Vladimir Putin has dominated Russian politics since Boris Yeltsin relinquished the presidency in his favor in May 2000. He served two terms as president before himself relinquishing the post to his prime minister, Dimitri Medvedev, only to return to presidential power for a third time in 2012. Putin’s rule, whether as president or prime minister, has been marked by a steady increase in domestic repression and international assertiveness.
Despite this, there have been signs of liberal growth and Putin—and Russia—now faces a far from certain future. In Kremlin Winter, Robert Service, acclaimed biographer of Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky and one of our finest historians of modern Russia, brings his deep understanding of that country to bear on the man who leads it. He reveals a premier who cannot take his supremacy for granted, yet is determined to impose his will not only on his closest associates but on society at large. It is a riveting insight into power politics as Russia faces a blizzard of difficulties both at home and abroad.
In March 1917, Nicholas II, the last Tsar of All the Russias, abdicated and the dynasty that had ruled an empire for three hundred years was forced from power by revolution. In this masterful and forensic study, Robert Service examines the last year Nicholas’s reign and the months between that momentous abdication and his death, with his family, in Ekaterinburg in July 1918.
Drawing on the Tsar’s own diaries and other hitherto unexamined contemporary records, The Last of the Tsars reveals a man who was almost entirely out of his depth, perhaps even willfully so. It is also a compelling account of the social, economic and political foment in Russia in the aftermath of Alexander Kerensky’s February Revolution, the Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917 and the beginnings of Lenin’s Soviet republic.