• Putin's World

  • Russia Against the West and with the Rest
  • By: Angela Stent
  • Narrated by: Kevin Stillwell
  • Length: 15 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (162 ratings)

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Putin's World

By: Angela Stent
Narrated by: Kevin Stillwell
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Publisher's Summary

We all now live in a paranoid and polarized world of Putin's making, and the Russian leader, through guile and disruption, has resurrected Russia's status as a force with which to be reckoned. From renowned foreign policy expert Angela Stent comes a must-hear dissection of present-day Russian motives on the global stage.

How did Russia manage to emerge resurgent on the world stage and play a weak hand so effectively? Is it because Putin is a brilliant strategist? Or has Russia stepped into a vacuum created by the West's distraction with its own domestic problems and US ambivalence about whether it still wants to act as a superpower? Putin's World examines the country's turbulent past, how it has influenced Putin, the Russians' understanding of their position on the global stage and their future ambitions - and their conviction that the West has tried to deny them a seat at the table of great powers since the USSR collapsed.

This audiobook looks at Russia's key relationships - its downward spiral with the US, Europe, and NATO; its ties to China, Japan, the Middle East; and with its neighbors, particularly the fraught relationship with Ukraine. Putin's World will help Americans understand how and why the post-Cold War era has given way to a new, more dangerous world, one in which Russia poses a challenge to the US in every corner of the globe - and one in which Russia has become a toxic and divisive subject in US politics. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Angela E. Stent (P)2019 Hachette Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"Like the judo player he once was, Vladimir Putin has figured out ways to assert Russian power despite his nation's weakness. Understanding how he does it is crucial to America, and Angela Stent's deeply knowledgeable and readable book provides brilliant insights." (Walter Isaacson, New York Times best-selling author of Leonardo Da Vinci and Einstein)

"Putin's World offers a timely 21st century update on George Kennan's Long Telegram. Russians understand their country through history, geography, empire-and stories of 'great men.' Angela Stent deftly explains how Putin's version of Russian exceptionalism has been redrawing maps of power in Eurasia and beyond. In an era of strongmen who are seeking a new concert of power, Stent offers the wise perspective that we should consider Russia as it is, not as we might wish it to be." (Robert B. Zoellick, former president of the World Bank, US Trade Representative, and US deputy secretary of state)

"Informed by its author's distinguished career in government and academia, this account of Russian President Vladimir Putin's worldview provides an important window into one of the key geopolitical challenges of our time. Casual observers and seasoned experts will benefit from Dr. Stent's brilliant exploration of Putin's strategy and its disturbing implications for the West." (Former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright)

What listeners say about Putin's World

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More like The West against the world

The book is just full of US centric bias towards not just Putin's Russia, also Russia as USSR or Empire. There are not so much of in-sights that cannot be picked up from free daily news under Western MSM "Russian narratives".
To save everyone some Audible credit l, let me sum it up:
US good, Russian Bad, the World must follow US.

7 people found this helpful

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Very good

More of a story about The Russian mentality than Putin himself. Explains the most powerful 3rd World country very effectively.

4 people found this helpful

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Outstanding

An unbelievable amount of insight, detail & history of Putin & Russia. Also why & wherefore with other Nations.
Highly recommended!

3 people found this helpful

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The reader destroys the focus

The reader mangles every foreign personal name, place name, you name it. He switches between poorly pronounced attempts at correct pronunciation and Americanized versions, and then some that are clear out of left field. One example: He named the German capital, Bonn, “bone”. Not the Amero-Anglicized “bahn” and certainly not the correct German way. That’s the tip of the iceberg in a performance that serves to distract from the story and actually confuse the reader. Several times found myself wishing I had the text version of this book just to be sure I understood what he was talking about. Performers of important works about foreign affairs should have some language coaching.

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Perspectives about Russia

very informative about each Contry's personal situations and how they handle Russia and Putin.

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Nothing new

there are 2 conflicted ideas in the book, summarized in its conclusion: Putin is not Russia and Russia is Putin (Russians are not westerners and they don't want western style democracy) Also, it was painful for Russian speaking reader to endure narrator's pronunciation of every Russian name. Very unprofessional

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Understanding Putin's paranoid aggression

This is the perfect time for a book like this, although it was actually published in 2019. Angela Stent is a professor at Georgetown and has worked in foreign policy planning for both George Bush and Bill Clinton. She later was the National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council and a member of Supreme Allied Commander in Europe advisory panel. 

She gives  President Putin credit for reasserting Russia’s position after “a decade of political chaos and an economic meltdown,” when Obama had called it a regional power, to its emergence as a global player, protecting the country’s sovereignty, gaining respect from non-Western actors, and overcoming the West’s attempts to isolate Russia and in this book explains how he accomplished such a difficult task . She shows how Russia’s unique historical outlook is the key to understanding Putin’s foreign policy. Russians have historically felt underappreciated by both the east and the west and Putin spoke directly to the angst of the average Russian while exploiting his Western rivals’ missteps and lack of unity. She helps ust understand why he has led Russia in such a paranoid and very aggressive manner. Stent discusses the ups and downs of its relationship with both the U.S. and many European countries. With the fall of the Soviet Union, many had hoped Russia would become join the rule’s based international order as a responsible stake-holder. Putin however, saw that as an “order” that was created by the West according its own rules and he wanted to adapt those rules more to Russia’s liking, focusing more on Russian exceptionalism rather than democratic exceptionalism and was especially rankled at an any idea of American exceptionalism. 

Stent gives us a short history of Russia’s own turbulent past, going back to its earliest history , entangled with its neighbors, particularly Ukraine, and how that has influenced him as well as the Russians’ understanding of their place in the world as well as their sense that the West has unfairly tried to keep them sidelined since the collapse of the USSR. She also has sections dealing with some of the other major players, including Germany, the US, Japan, and China, as well as Ukraine and its other continental and Nordic neighbors. She notes that he has been particularly successful in handling relations with China and the countries of the Middle East partly by refusing to judge them or interfere with their own internal affairs. Thus the book’s subtitle, “Russia Against the West and with the Rest.” It’s easy for the West to focus on the unity, particularly right now during the invasion of Ukraine, while ignoring that there is still a large part of the world that is either supportive or at least ambivalent about the invasion or any sanctions. That includes some quite varied nations from China and India to the Arab world as well as Israel. But there are also many nations in Africa, Asia, and the Americas that are at least less committed.   

She makes one comparison that is quite interesting. Westerners often train people in strategy by using the game of Chess, which is ironically a game that Russians are well known for. Putin took a different direction. He was always much shorter and more wiry than his peers and chose to study judo. Judo is a form of fighting that relies less on strength and more on using the weight and strength of your opponent against them. Putin earned a black belt and even made the local St. Petersburg newspaper as a youth for his victories. That training has affected how he faces off against the world. Russia may have been weak and may still be weak in terms of resources, but Putin understands how to make the most of the West's lack of unity and indecisiveness. He led Russia to look for any vacuums left as the West turned its focus to domestic problems with the end of the Cold War and particularly the gradual withdrawal from the global stage by the U.S. which grew under Obama and exploded under Trump. With his further training in the KBG, he became a master at looking for his opponents’ weaknesses. In his first meeting with Germany’s Angela Merkel, he knew of her intense fear of dogs (because of a previous attack) and revelled in watching her as he purposely arranged for his Black Labrador to bound into the room and run straight to her as she sat in a chair. When Obama backed down from his “red line” in Syria, the Russian Air Force rapidly moved in to defend Assad. He quickly learned how to stoke Trump’s ego without actually giving in on any policy issues.  

Stent doesn’t spend much time on Putin’s failures, but I would say that’s because that is not the focus of this book. However, even though there are many nations that are ambivalent about Russia at the moment, it’s hard to think of any real allies. Partners of convenience, yes, but not really allies with common goals. And, Russia’s economy is very narrowly focused. Most of its earnings come from energy and little else. 

I wish the book had been published after the current full-blown war against Ukraine, but that wouldn’t have been practical anyway. But, Stent’s analysis seems so prescient, it’s almost eerie. However, Stent (probably wisely) doesn’t make policy recommendations. What she does suggest is that we both be patient and not back off or lose hope. And, she suggests that we be ready and prepared for anything and everything. It’s not chess. It’s judo. Putin is patient and watchful and any weakness can and will be exploited when the time is right. Excellent book and very readable.