The Kremlin's Noose

Amy W Knight

The Kremlin's Noose
Northern Illinois University Press
United States
15 May 2024

The Kremlin’s Noose

Amy W Knight

In The Kremlin's Noose Amy Knight tells the riveting story of Vladimir Putin and the oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who forged a relationship in the early years of the Yeltsin era. Berezovsky later played a crucial role in Putin's rise to the Russian presidency in March 2000. When Putin began dismantling Boris Yeltsin's democratic reforms, Berezovsky came into conflict with the new Russian leader by reproaching him publicly. Their relationship quickly disintegrated into a bitter feud played out against the backdrop of billion-dollar financial deals, Kremlin in-fighting, and international politics.

Dubbed the "Godfather of the Kremlin" by the slain Russian-American journalist Paul Klebnikov, Berezovsky was a successful businessman and media mogul who had an outsized role in Russia after 1991. Worth a reported $3 billion by 1997, Berezovsky engineered the reelection of Yeltsin as president in 1996 and negotiated an end to the 1995-96 Chechen war. Despite his own wealth, power, and influence, once he became Putin's enemy, Berezovsky was forced into exile in Britain, where he waged a determined campaign to topple Putin. Kremlin authorities responded with bogus criminal charges and demanded Berezovsky's extradition. Death threats soon followed. In March 2013, after losing a British court battle with another Russian oligarch, Berezovsky was found dead at his ex-wife's mansion outside London. Whether he died from suicide or murder remains a mystery.

The Kremlin's Noose sheds crucial new light on the Kremlin's volatile politics under Yeltsin and Putin, helping us understand why democracy in Russia failed so badly. Knight provides a fascinating narrative of Putin's rise to power and his authoritarian rule, told through the prism of his relationship with Russia's once most powerful oligarch, Boris Berezovsky.

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