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The first English-language book to document the men who emerged from the gulags to become Russia’s much-feared crime class: the vory v zakone Mark Galeotti is the go-to expert on organized crime in Russia, consulted by governments and police around the world. Now, Western readers can explore the fascinating history of the vory v zakone, a group that has survived and thrived amid the changes brought on by Stalinism, the Cold War,... more...

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's army has undergone a turbulent transformation: from the scattered leftovers of the old Soviet military, through a period of shocking decay and demoralization, to the disciplined force and sophisticated “hybrid war” doctrine that enabled Vladimir Putin to seize Crimea virtually overnight in 2014. Using rare photographs and full-color images of the army in action, profiles of army... more...

When the shadowy, notorious Spetsnaz were first formed, they drew on a long Soviet tradition of elite, behind-the-lines commando forces from World War II and even earlier. Throughout the 1960s-70s they were instrumental both in projecting Soviet power in the Third World and in suppressing resistance within the Warsaw pact. As a powerful, but mysterious tool of a world superpower, the Spetsnaz have inevitably become the focus of many 'tall tales' in the... more...

Featuring specially drawn full-color mapping and drawing upon a wide range of sources, this succinct account explains the origins, history and consequences of Russia's wars in Chechnya, thereby shedding new light on the history - and prospects - of that troubled region. Mark Galeotti, an expert on the conflict, traces the progress of the wars, from the initial Russian advance through to urban battles such as Grozny, and the prolonged guerrilla warfare... more...

Whilst under Putin's regime the size of Russia's regular forces has shrunk recently and will continue to do so, its security and paramilitary elements have become increasingly powerful. In fact, recently they have proliferated - as have their special uniforms and kit - and have become disproportionately important, spearheading all recent operations. They seem set to remain Russia's most active armed agencies for the immediate future. In parallel,... more...