In this book, written during his research stay at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies in 2022, Sergei Medvedev argues that Russia’s war in Ukraine was not merely a whim of Putin’s obsession: rather, it was the result of two decades of authoritarian degradation and post-imperial ressentiment, a culmination of Putin’s regime and of Russia’s entire imperial history. Building on his prize-winning book The Return of the Russian Leviathan, Medvedev argues that it was not only Putin that started this war, but Russia itself, which, by and large, has imagined and embraced it with enthusiasm, seeking to relive its own military glory and colonial past.
‘Medvedev represents the best of the Russian critical tradition. His clear writing and creative analysis stand out amidst the muddle of twenty-first-century writing about Russia. He has been right all along and he is right again in this book.’
Tim Snyder, Yale University
‘In an ocean of recently published books on Putin and Putin’s Russia, Medvedev’s illuminating work stands on its own with its focus on Russia’s Putin: Putin as an embodiment of Russia’s national idea.’
Ivan Krastev, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
Victor Sebestyen, The Sunday Times
Sergei Medvedev is currently Affiliate professor at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague. In 2022–2023, he was a Kone Foundation Fellow at HCAS, and before that, in 2004–2020 he worked as Professor at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. A graduate of Moscow State University and Columbia University in New York City, he held multiple research and academic positions in Russia, Germany, Italy and Finland. His recent books include the prize-winning Return of the Russian Leviathan (Cambridge, Polity Press, 2020), translated in 12 languages, A War Made in Russia (Cambridge, Polity Press, 2023) and, co-authored with Andrei Makarychev, From Taking Care to Taking Lives: Biopower in Putin’s Russia (Budapest, CEU Press, forthcoming 2024).