Interference in American elections. The sponsorship of extremist politics in Europe. War in Ukraine. In recent years, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has waged a concerted campaign to expand its influence and undermine Western institutions. But how and why did all this come about, and who has orchestrated it?
In Putin’s People, the investigative journalist and former Moscow correspondent Catherine Belton reveals the untold story of how Vladimir Putin and the small group of KGB men surrounding him rose to power and looted their country. Delving deep into the workings of Putin’s Kremlin, Belton accesses key inside players to reveal how Putin replaced the freewheeling tycoons of the Yeltsin era with a new generation of loyal oligarchs, who in turn subverted Russia’s economy and legal system and extended the Kremlin's reach into the United States and Europe. The result is a chilling and revelatory exposé of the KGB’s revanche—a story that begins in the murk of the Soviet collapse, when networks of operatives were able to siphon billions of dollars out of state enterprises and move their spoils into the West. Putin and his allies subsequently completed the agenda, reasserting Russian power while taking control of the economy for themselves, suppressing independent voices, and launching covert influence operations abroad.
Ranging from Moscow and London to Switzerland and Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach—and assembling a colorful cast of characters to match—Putin’s People is the definitive account of how hopes for the new Russia went astray, with stark consequences for its inhabitants and, increasingly, the world.
About the Author
Catherine Belton worked from 2007-2013 as the Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times, and in 2016 as the newspaper's legal correspondent. She has previously reported on Russia for Moscow Times and Business Week. In 2009, she was shortlisted for Business Journalist of the year at the British Press Awards. She lives in London.
"Catherine Belton is quite simply the most detailed and best-informed journalist covering Russia. One hears so much grand punditry about the country, but if you want to know the terrifying facts, from the nexus of KGB, business, and crime which was Putin's petri dish to the complex reality of the relationship with Trump—and if you want to see how all this combines into a whole new system—then this is the book for you." —Peter Pomerantsev, author of This Is Not Propaganda and Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible
"Putin's People is meticulously researched and superbly written, terrifying in its scope and utterly convincing in its argument. It is a portrait of a group of men ruthless in their power and careless of anyone else. This is the Putin book that we've been waiting for." —Oliver Bullough, author of Moneyland and The Last Man in Russia
“Putin’s People is a ground-breaking investigative history of the rise of Vladimir Putin and a revealing examination of how power and money intersect in today’s Russia. Catherine Belton has pulled away the curtain on two decades of hidden financial networks and lucrative secret deals, exposing the inner workings of Putin & Co. in remarkable and disturbing detail. A real eye-opener.” —David E. Hoffman, author of The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia
“Catherine Belton deftly tackles one of Russia’s biggest mysteries—how did an undistinguished, mid-level former intelligence operative like Vladimir Putin catapult himself to such lofty heights? Her deeply researched account digs into unexplored aspects of Putin’s rise to power as well as the experiences of longtime Putin friends and allies who have harvested most of the benefits from his 20 year reign.” —Andrew S. Weiss, James Family Chair and vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment