Today’s Russia proves that appearances can be deceiving. The Kremlin’s modernization mantra and liberal rhetoric attempt to keep alive a system based on personalized power. While rapprochement with the West is seen as a way to import technology, attract investment, and gain economically, Russia’s elite are trying to protect an anti-Western system that preserves their rule.

Is it possible to reform the Russian system from the top? Could technological innovation help Russia’s political liberalization? What are the domestic roots of Russia’s foreign policy and how sustainable is the current reset with the United States?

In Lonely Power, adapted from the Russian version, Lilia Shevtsova questions the veracity of clichés about Russia—by both insiders and outsiders—and analyzes Russia’s trajectory and how the West influences the country’s modernization.

Rejection of real reform in Russia risks gradual decay of the political system or even state collapse. Russia can break this vicious circle only if it rejects personalized power and if the West helps Russia transform economically and politically.

Reviews for this publication

“Lilia Shevtsova is one of Russia's best-known political analysts, equally at home in the academic world and in the more robust exchanges of journalism and the media.”
The Economist on the Russian version of Lonely Power