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Russia's Dead End

An Insider's Testimony from Gorbachev to Putin

Andrei A. Kovalev

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: Potomac Books
Published: 08/2017
Pages: 392
Subject: Biography and Autobiography
eBook ISBN: 9781612349466


Elite-level Soviet politics, privileged access to state secrets, knowledge about machinations inside the Kremlin—such is the environment in which Andrei A. Kovalev lived and worked. In this memoir of his time as a diplomat in key capacities and as a member of Mikhail Gorbachev's staff, Kovalev reveals hard truths about his country as only a perceptive witness can. In Russia's Dead End, Kovalev shares his intimate knowledge of political activities behind the scenes at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Kremlin before the dissolution of the USSR in December 1991 and afterward, including during the administration of Vladimir Putin.Kovalev analyzes Soviet efforts to comply with international human-rights obligations, the machinations of the KGB, and the link between corrupt oligarchs and state officials. He documents the fall of the USSR and the post-Soviet explosion of state terrorism and propaganda, and offers a nuanced historical explanation of the roots of Russia's contemporary crisis under Vladimir Putin. This insider's memoir provides a penetrating analysis of late-Soviet and post-Soviet Russian politics that is pungent, pointed, witty, and accessible. It assesses the current dangerous status of Russian politics and society while illuminating the path to a more just and democratic future.


Andrei A. Kovalev is a former member of the secretariat of President Mikhail Gorbachev. He worked in the Soviet and Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the staff of the Security Council of the Russian Federation during the Yeltsin and Putin administrations. He is the author of two books on Russian on politics. Steven I. Levine, a retired professor of politics and history, is the coauthor of Mao: The Real Story. Peter Reddaway is professor emeritus of political science and international affairs at George Washington University.


"Andrei Kovalev has drawn on his remarkable career at the highest level of Russian politics from Gorbachev to Putin to give a picture of both successes and disappointments. This is a book written from the heart by a diplomat of acute intelligence. Kovalev rode the steed of Russian public affairs till his conscience told him to dismount, and this exceptional book explains his reasons."—Robert Service, emeritus professor of Russian history at St. Antony's College, Oxford University, and senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University 

"Andrei Kovalev loves Russia, a different Russia, an open and democratic one, where human rights are respected. His book is a must-read for those who want to understand the most recent history of Russia and who share his love and indignation over how the efforts to democratize his country were ruined by a small yet powerful corrupt clique."—Robert van Voren, professor of Soviet and post-Soviet studies, Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania