International law firms are cleaning up the books of Russian conglomerates so that they conglomerates on the world's stock markets; President Putin supplies Europe with gas, oil and the freedom to expand Nato and the European Union right to his borders; rich Russians keep afloat our minor public schools with their offspring and help to sustain property prices in Sevenoaks, not to mention a football team in Chelsea and casinos in Mayfair. Russian is now one of the commonest languages to be heard on Oxford Street. So you think that the bad old days are all over, and that we should now put two hundred years of paranoia about the big black bear behind us?
Read this collection of seven articles by Anna Politkovskaya (in Arch Tait's lively translation) and be fooled no longer. Politkovskaya is Russia's bravest surviving journalist: I can't imagine anyone selling her life insurance, however. Shortly after this book went to press, the FSB (Russia's security services made a serious attempt