"Brezhnev died in 1982, and in 2001 terrorists bombed New York and Washington. In between, in 1991, a great empire collapsed. All those events fit into our slice of time, exactly twenty years, like vodka bottles in a crate."
In the course of a series of conversations the authors revisit in an original give and take the last twenty years of Russia's history since the end of communism. From the death of Leonid Brezhnev in 1982 to 9/11/2001 Russia lived through monumental changes: economic transformation, where Alfred Kokh was in charge of privatization and Igor Svinarenko covered the scandal as a journalist; Kokh went to Chechnya as a diplomat to negotiate peace while Svinarenko was there to cover the war placing his life at risk; Kokh was hired to take over NTV television station owned by Gasprom while Svinarenko obtained the Soros Foundation award as"Reporter of the Year." These are some of the issues covered in this lively overview of Russia's recent history that reads at times like My Dinner with Andre.
Both writers provoke one another (and the reader). It makes for sharp intellectual interplay. Their topics range from sex and Russia's faltering demographics, religion, marriage, crime, government, politics-almost every subject that comes up among friends. They give an inside story of Russia, a backstage tour of oligarch turf battles-in politics and commerce-and a look into the hearts of two people who are passionate about their country and its future.
Alfred Kokh is the former First Deputy Prime Minister under Boris Yeltsin, an ally of Anatoly Chrbar's, architect of privatization. Kokh was head of Russia's Privatization State Property Committee, and head of Gazprom-Media in 2000. An entrepreneur and magazine publisher, he is a philanthropist. He holds a doctorate in economics from St. Petersburg Mathematics and Economics Institute. Igor Svinarenko has lived in Europe and the United States. He received the Soros Foundation prize for journalism (1999). He is now the editor of MEDVED magazine.