"So the media turned to history --not by way of a serious examination but as a form of entertainment." ~ Arkady Ostrovsky
Putin can be viewed as a product of an environment, an environment where a Vladamir Putin was inevitable. This text is a recent history of the Russian media apparatuses role in feeding the Russian people a nostalgia for a Russia that never was, in hopes of bolstering their own power and insulating themselves from scrutiny by state censors. Lenin was used throughout this time period to defend Stalinism to defend marketization under Gorbachev. His writing can be degenerated, and were to argue any position the state apparatus wanted and the media was not only complicent in this but argued for it.
Donald Maclean, a British diplomated who spied for the KGB is quoted to have saying: "People who read Pravda every day are invincible. People who are well informed and get their information from different sources inevitably start thinking."
The most striking section about the book is the resemblance between Russian intelligentsia and modern American progressives. The Russian liberal intelligentsia is the artist-scientist class in Russia who lived relatively well as opposed to the rest of the public and were often insulated to the struggles of the common person.
"Zhurnalist reflected all the strengths and weakness of the shestidesiatniki. Idle conversations around a kitchen table among the liberal intelligentsia all too often were a substitute for real action or work; it gave them relief, but yielded few results. It created a comfortable cocoon, but also increased the intelligentsia's isolation from the rest of the country. The 'cocoon' itself, however, was growing larger in size. By the time Yegor was fired less than two years later, its circulation exceeded a quarter of a million copies." ~ Arkady Ostrovsky
As you're arguing for transgender rights and #BlackLivesMatter there are millions of working class conservatives who not only don't understand what you're talking about, but see it as an active threat to their lives. As a woman I heard talking during the 2016 election voted for Trump said, "Everything I knew growing up that was wrong, is now right." As well meaning as progress is, there is an inconvenient fact that fascists have capitalized on our language and our positions to gain power through a populism fed on hate, xenophobia and solipsism.
"This is simply because we are WEIRD. That's social science shorthand for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic - and nobody is WEIRDer than Americans. In the last several decades many Americans, and essentially all our elites, have internalized a worldview based on affluence, individualism, and secularism that makes us unique, globally speaking. So much so that we seem unable to comprehend that there actually are opposing viewpoints out there." ~ John Schindler
Putin is everything that the American foreign policy establishment hates. He's an old fashioned white guy with outdated views on gender relations, race, sexual identity, faith, the use of violence and worst of all is that he hates us. It was once said that Winston Churchill saw through the lies of Hitler because he saw the same sort of megalomaniac that he himself was staring at him from across that channel. In 2016 we have that similar relationship between world leaders, except our megalomaniac is too busy taking compliments and having his ego boosted to see through the lies of a fellow megalomaniac.
If you read nothing of this book but the prologue, you are set. It knocked me on my ass.