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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia; by Peter Pomerantsev

Peter Pomerantsev shares his experiences, observations, and research while living in Russia, beginning as a college student, then working as a reality TV producer for TNT Russia from 2006-2010. He covers post Soviet Russia in perpetual transition since its dissolution in 1991. Pomerantsev introduces the reader to the corrupt individuals who worked this dramatic change to their profit, financially and/or politically.  He also reveals those who were influential in building Putin's reputation and presidency and those who subsequently fell out of Putin's favor, which is not a treasured position. The author does not include anything related to the plight of lower or middle-class Russians during this time - how they were effected by the oligarch's and other forms of malfeasance. So, while it is an intriguing look at contemporary Russia, it is not an all-inclusive one.

For the most part, Pomerantsev's stories are interesting. Yet, in between the various narratives, his writing is disjointed. The author does not move seamlessly from one story to the next. In fact, he often drops his narrative suddenly, makes in-congruent observations, or tells a distracted story before completing his original narrative. Sometimes he does not even return to and finish his story at all, he simply starts a new one. The reader becomes a bit lost and confused.

Overall, Pomerantsev has written a captivating exposé on the upper echelon of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. While the people he met were not moral, sadly they were influential in swaying political and financial matters to their personal benefit with little or no concern for their fellow countrymen. With regard to the problems in the narrative, I did read an advanced reader's edition. It is possible the author has repaired these sections and connected the stories or thoughts that were, otherwise, fragmented. These alterations would improve the quality and flow of his book.

Pomerantsev is a stellar political journalist. I have read numerous published articles of his that are thought provoking, comprehensive, and without the narrative distractions I mentioned above. As an international current events journalist, I highly recommend his work. As the author of this book, I hope he fine tunes it before publication.