A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya by Anna PolitovskayaRead about another book on the list.
The First Chechen War, which began in 1994, marked Russia’s return to a repressive, imperial model of government. The Second Chechen War, which started in 1999, brought Vladimir Putin to power on a wave of terror and fear.
The Russian public back then either supported the war or tried to ignore it. And Anna Politovskaya, a journalist for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, wrote about how the Chechen War would forever change society, would cause people to become accustomed to torture, assassinations, would corrupt power and demoralize the army, give the president carte blanche for the construction of a top-down power structure. Many thought Politovskaya was spreading it on too thick, was too harsh, unfair.
Politovskaya was murdered in the elevator of her apartment building on October 7, 2006, the birthday of Vladimir Putin. Today, her book reads like a perfectly precise prophecy, which, alas, nobody has heeded.