BOOM! - In late 2003 nearly 4,500 copies of this book were seized and confiscated by the Russian Secret Service (FSB) as they tried to make their way from Latvia printing presses into Moscow. And no wonder. This book focuses on how elements of the old Soviet regime sought to steer Russia away from the liberal reforms since the fall of the old USSR. The multiple apartment bombings which ripped across the country in 1999, killing hundreds, were more than suspicious. The 'terrorists' were condemned and the tragedies quickly used as an excuse to drag Russia into a second wretched war with Chechnya which continues to this day. The book's spotlight on the attempted bombing in Ryazan leaves little doubt as to who the enemy really was.
The book's translation from Russian into English is superb, but the sheer volume of facts and information combined with the never-ending plethora of Russian names makes for a challenging read if you are up to it. The book however is an excellent primer into the "nomenklatura" mindset of corruption, coercion, and intimidation, and should be studied and kept as a grim reminder of what is possible when criminal elements in the state pursue their own political agendas - and how far they will go when the ends justifies the means in the political game of hardball.
Although the book is a study in extremism, there are still some associations to be made on a lesser level. Propaganda, intimidation, and internal investigations which never seem to come to fruition are just a few that come to mind. Despite the collapse of the USSR, Vladamir Putin, has placed many of his former KGB colleagues in positions of authority alongside him.
As Russians celebrate their "freedom" with the shutdown of the independent press, and genocide committed in Chechnya on a daily basis, I have little doubt that the people of Russia are told they are "winning" the war on terror. When the next 9/11 or Madrid like bombings occur, one where all the "evidence" appears overwhelming and points in only one direction, and yet the enemy, elusive as ever and always just out of arms reach, is never caught or convicted, perhaps you will think to read this book.