Dissenters of modern Russia

Twelve Who Don’t Agree: The Battle for Freedom in Putin’s Russia, by Valery Panyushkin, translated by Marian Schwartz, Europa Editions RRP£11.99, 224 pages

Starting with the Dissenters’ Marches of 2007, Russian journalist Valery Panyushkin explores the campaign to loosen Vladimir Putin’s grip on power.

In a café before the St Petersburg march, he describes a tableau that could have been painted by Georges de La Tour: “The people leaning over the table looked like conspirators. Which is what they were.” Through elegantly wrought pen portraits of these dissenters – including a student, a soldier, a politician and a writer – Panyushkin explains how they each arrived at this point.

Twelve Who Don’t Agree travels far and wide, taking the reader to Beslan, inside the Kremlin and the back seat of a limousine with the now jailed oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Ahead of next month’s presidential elections, Panyushkin’s reportage offers a glimpse into the dissenting heart of modern Russia.

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