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This is the first account of Russia’s second revolution – the country’s dramatic, wrenching transition from communist central planning to a market economy. Written by one of the finest writers on contemporary Russia, it is told by interweaving high politics with glimpses of the revolution’s impact on the lives of ordinary people.
Beginning with a sharp portrayal of the dismal living conditions in the Soviet Union, she moves on to the romantic early days of the capitalist transformation. This was the height of market euphoria when, despite the chaos of everyday life, a prosperous future seemed within easy reach. Woven through the book are remarkable stories – of Yeltsin’s use of popular psychics, of the might of the ‘robber barons’ who form alliances with criminal mafia gangs, of Machiavellian politicians who ‘have dealt with the devil and believe they have made a good bargain’. In the final stage of the book, Freeland chronicles the end of the first wave of Russia’s capitalist revolution, detailing the economic crisis currently rumbling through the country.

Reviews

This could so easily have been a deeply inpenetrable book. The shenanigans involving the assorted sell-offs, buy-outs and changing alliances in Russia in the past ten years have been so complex as to leave even dedicated readers feeling confused. Chrystia Freeland's achievement in SALE OF THE CENTURY is thus all the more remarkable in weaving a gripping narrative out of all the anarchy and chaos.
INDEPENDENT
We now have a superb piece of reportage on the central years of the oligarchic era - which may prove, at least in its pure form, to be coterminous with the Yeltsin period ... This book ... is a tremendous illumination of early Russian business methods... Freeland's account of the central deal of the era... reads, at times, like Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full
John Lloyd, NEW STATESMAN
If Marx could read SALE OF THE CENTURY, he would undoubtedly applaud.
Professor Jerry Brotton