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Publisher's Summary

On New Year’s Eve 1999, a young Vladimir Putin appeared on Russian TV screens — awkward, self-conscious... and the new President. Two decades later, Putin is still in power, standing self-assured and at ease on the world stage. How did a once little known KGB bureaucrat become one of the most dominant figures of twenty first century politics?

In this gripping narrative history, Misha Glenny, journalist and best-selling author of McMafia, tells the story of an unexpected and swift rise to power — one full of political intrigue, backroom deals, courtroom battles and war.

Insider Kremlin accounts and well-known journalists reveal how Putin was first chosen by Yeltsin and the Oligarchy and how he then went head to head with Russia’s richest man. After Putin had consolidated power he needed to stay in power. The second half of the series tells the story of how he took over the media, Crimea and increased the powers of the KGB. Finally, Misha considers what Putin might do next.

Produced by Dasha Lisitsina, Executive Producer Russell Finch.
A Somethin’ Else production for Audible Originals.

This is an Audible Original Podcast. Free for members. You can download all 7 episodes to your Library now. 

©2019 Audible, Ltd. (P)2019 Audible, Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"A polished, rigorous and sober account." (Esquire)

"A vivid portrait of a gauche ex-KGB civil servant who was transformed into a feared autocrat and one of the most powerful men in the world." (Financial Times)

"Glenny is a serious man, and this is serious stuff, told well." (The Observer)

What listeners say about Putin: Prisoner of Power

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Interesting !

If you don’t know much of Putin this is an easy listen and informative too

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Terrific summary

An excellent summary of the last 20 years - Misha is to be commended on his attempts to explain both the power and the vulnerabilities of Putin. The conclusion one is left with (sadly) is the failure of the West to know how to implement superior tactics - not unlike the strategic failures of the West viz China

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Putin's Putin (the prequel)

this audio book was extremely interesting, well presented and left me wondering if Putin's Putin will come to be (hes already trying to change the laws) but it seems like hes at the limit of his ability - I had him down to try to take the world for his quest for power but I underestimated his limitations. Would be keen to hear other books about Russia's history

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a good insite for the novice Putin explorer

narrator was good nice n clear n not annoying in tone or pitch.meremorable bit the lady talking about going to opera an ending up being in fear for her life

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-10-2019

More of a short story than a documentary.

This was interesting. It’s a really quick listen and doesn’t really get into detail about anything really. It’s like driving through a city quickly without any stop streets, you get to see the landmarks and a few People flashing by so quickly you can say you’ve been there. But you haven’t really. It’s enough though to get you interested enough to read something with proper content. Oh and Audible - there’s WAY to much music without narration - sometimes it feels like this might be a classical song with a story about Putin thrown in. Too many parts of the show is just music without anything else. Kinda feels like you’re padding the time. Nudge nudge.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Graham French
  • 13-09-2019

Fascinating political insight.

Presents a strong political argument why Putin remains in power today. Controlling TV broadcasts has allowed him to spread disinformation and confusion and appointing his own Oligarchs to facilitate being unopposed. I highly recommend this audio show. It is both gripping and disturbing at the same time.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-09-2019

Through Putin, understand every world leader

I haven't been following Russian news very much, so this has been a fascinating story. The journalism had an obvious Western bias, for example interviewing protesters extensively but not interviewing any Putin supporter at all. Typical Western propaganda. But most of the facts about Putin's actions seem accurate. As you listen, you have to use your own judgement and remember this is not just a tyrant, but a highly intelligent political strategist. The tactics he uses for power are being mirrored by Trump, Xi, and so forth. I'm inspired to wonder if having a strong leader in power for a long time is actually a good thing for the people, as opposed to the other option which is puppet leaders controlled by the oligarchy.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Wiki
  • 07-02-2020

OK except the music

it's ok, covers a lot in a short amount of time. But the unnecessary music drags on too long and becomes annoying. Also it would be better if it was one download. That way it could effortlessly move from episode to the next.

4 people found this helpful

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  • M
  • 14-10-2019

Typical BBC type propaganda

Half thruths twisted lies wont make a good peice of journalism. I'm not a Russian. Not a Putin supporter too. But prejudice and opinionated propaganda can't help to create public opinion nowadays you should remember.

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  • Andrian Gurdis
  • 08-09-2019

Compelling

I still can remember some of the storyes related here, living in a country influenced by russian authoritarians can not be forgotten even as a child.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Nigel
  • 25-08-2019

The politics of power

Unturnoffable. An excellent analysis of the former Soviet Union's descent into the abyss; the rise of the oligarchs; then Putin's rise from securocrat obscurity. An often heart-breaking journey through the tragedies of the Kursk submarine disaster; the Beslan school massacre; and the Ukraine. Just a pity that the Litvinenko and the Salisbury novichok poisonings were not covered. The great people of Russia - that beautiful, bitter, wormwood country - deserved better than this. Misha Glenny and team deserve an award for this work.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Alexandra
  • 29-08-2019

An interesting but biased story

First of all three hours is quite a short time to overview the last twenty years of Russian history. Secondly, opinions are biased, all interviews are from people opposite to Putin. To put things straight, some important details are missed, like that Khodorkovsky wasn't an innocent billionaire, he and his companions were sentenced for serious crimes like contract kills and fiscal frauds. Nothing has been said about the improvements for ordinary people compared to USSR and 90s. Otherwise, it was a good documentary on key persons in Russian politics.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Mr Jason Freeborn
  • 24-08-2019

Micha Glenie at his shining best.

Excellent interviews, real people, and a story which explains chillingly how a KGB bureaucrat, placed in power by oligarchs in a kleptocracy, came to master the game of gaining and keeping power.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Peter Kiss
  • 27-08-2019

Biased and unoriginal

If you are looking for an objective take on Putin's story, look elsewhere. This is the standard western narrative on Putin, nothing new. I especially like how the author jumped from Beslan to Ukraine, skipping ten years. What a fail.

17 people found this helpful

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