Current AffairsPutin’s People by Catherine Belton

Putin’s People by Catherine Belton


There are so many different reasons why I turn to books — escapism, comfort, their transportive magic. When I’m in the midst of writing, I find reading really helps when I’m stuck on plot or characterisation — so, if the weather is good, I’ll close my laptop and head to a park bench with a book in hand.

But I also turn to books to learn. And in the midst of the devastation currently consuming the lives of so many innocent people, I turn to books so that I can understand some of what is behind the news. Yes, I read the papers, yes I read what’s happening online and yes, I watch it on tv. But there’s something about reading about it — about what’s come before — that enables me to, not make sense of it because it is senseless in so many ways, but to grasp some kind of understanding of a place, of a world, that doesn’t feel like mine. Yet, when we watch what happens with horror and shock, we must surely know that this is our world, that of each and every one of us.

I’ve only just started Putin’s People. Author Catherine Belton wrote it in 2020. A former Moscow correspondent and investigative journalist, she is a meticulous researcher and brilliant writer. It is so important that her book has now entered the Sunday Times bestseller list and I can’t wait to read more of this chilling expose that documents the seizure of private companies after Soviet collapse. And, of how those closest to Putin became some of the richest, most powerful and influential people in their country and far beyond its borders. 

I completely appreciate that many won’t want to read about this topic right now — you may want to get away from it all and pick up something lighter, more escapist — and believe me, I hear that. But, if you are so inclined, I simply can’t think of a more timely and impactful read at present. If you’ve already read it, I’d love to know what you think.


Order your copy of ‘Putin’s People’ here.

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