What is wrong with Russia? Why is the country so different than the rest of Europe? How could Russia have nurtured so many great authors, while at the same time having such a chaotic and totalitarian political history? In Russia Is Its Own Country Peter Normann Waage discusses these and other questions by examining the Russian mentality and following the country’s cultural development from the earliest times to the present day.
'Russia and the West', 'Farmland', 'The Church as Chameleon' and 'The Steppes and the State' are some of the chapter titles we find in this roughly 600-page book. The work is extensive but provides an easy read. Waage is a master of popular non-fiction and engages with the public imagination at a high level.
Waage gives the background for the peculiar Russian practice of deciding who will be the president before the presidential election takes place. He puts Gorbatsjov, the nouveau riche (oligarchs) and Vladimir Putin into a historical and cultural context that makes sense of it all. The book gives valuable background information for understanding what is happening in the most important country in Europe, which is nonetheless not quite European.
“'Read Waage, understand Russia.”