The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, Masha Gessen, New York: Riverhead Books, 2017, 528.


In the West, Russia has always been a topic of intense debate but Putin’s leadership raised more questions all across the western capitals. In presidency, his apparent tilt towards the West and approval of democratic political system made many to believe that Putin’s ‘Modern Russia’ is different from its predecessor, Soviet Union. In this context, a Russo-American journalist and an outspoken critic of President Putin, Masha Gessen offers a window of insight to the totalitarian dynamics of post-Soviet Russia.

She offers a historical account of the events starting from haphazard liberalisation in Gorbachev’s era when, according to the writer, the people were living in an altogether different Russia. Afterwards, she takes her reader to the time when two Chechens attacked Moscow White House in 1993, leading to the rise of Putin as an influential figure in the state. Here, she argues that the political manoeuvers and development at the heart of Russian capital never made it fit for a pluralistic society but for an oligarchy which still is a morphed form of totalitarianism.

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