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Into the Russian night

David Satter's account of Russia's criminal state is savagely bleak. Did the state really kill hundreds of its own people to justify the second Chechen war?

By Jeremy Putley   August 2003

Book: Darkness at Dawn Author: David Satter Price: Yale University Press, ?22.50

Foreign criticism of Russia tends to produce a charge of anti-Russian bias. This did not apply, of course, when Solzhenitsyn wrote over ten years ago of Russia’s “ugly new ulcers”-the “nascent capitalism, fraught with unproductive, savage and repulsive forms of behaviour, the plunder of the nation’s wealth, the likes of which the west has not known.” It is the savage aspects of Russia’s deformed capitalism that constitute a large part of David Satter’s gloomy indictment.

Satter paints his picture using personal testimonies of selected victims to illustrate the…

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