Michael Stuermer is a renowned German professor of history who taught at the University of Erlangen–Nuremberg and has lectured at several universities in the USA. He has written several books on German history and has now crafted an excellent and important work on contemporary Russia. A quarter of the material is about Putin, undoubtedly for commercial reasons. Unfortunately, Russian aggression against Georgia has changed Western approaches and attitudes towards the country, making the book partially obsolete.
Stuermer is preoccupied with Russia’s old cultural and geopolitical ambiguity regarding its European and Asian aspects, and about what constitutes Russia's national interest. He gives a profound and essentially correct picture of Russia in the years 2007–8.
The foolish appointment by Boris Yeltsin of Vladimir Putin as President of Russia in