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Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder (Hardcover)
Ever since Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia, his critics have turned up dead on a regular basis. According to Amy Knight, this is no coincidence. In Orders to Kill, the KGB scholar ties dozens of victims together to expose a campaign of political murder during Putin’s reign that even includes terrorist attacks such as the Boston Marathon Bombing.
Russia is no stranger to political murder, from the tsars to the Soviets to the Putin regime, during which many journalists, activists and political opponents have been killed. Kremlin defenders like to say, “There is no proof,” however convenient these deaths have been for Putin, and, unsurprisingly, because he controls all investigations, Putin is never seen holding a smoking gun,. But Amy Knight offers mountains of circumstantial evidence that point to Kremlin involvement.
Called “the West’s foremost scholar” of the KGB by The New York Times, Knight traces Putin’s journey from the Federal Security Service (FSB) in the late 1990s to his subsequent rise to absolute power as the Kremlin’s leader today, detailing the many bodies that paved the way. She offers new information about the most famous victims, such as Alexander Litvinenko, the former FSB officer who was poisoned while living in London, and the statesman Boris Nemtsov, who was murdered outside the Kremlin in 2015, and she puts faces on many others who are less well-known in the West or forgotten. She shows that terrorist attacks in Russia, as well as the Boston Marathon bombing in the U.S., are part of the same campaign. And she explores what these murders mean for Putin’s future, for Russia and for the West, where in America Donald Trump has claimed, “Nobody has proven that he's killed anyone....He's always denied it.…It has not been proven that he's killed reporters."
Orders to Kill is a story long hidden in plain sight with huge ramifications.
About the Author
Amy Knight is the author of How the Cold War Began and Orders to Kill, and has written more than thirty scholarly articles and contributed numerous pieces on Russian politics and history to the New York Review of Books and The Times Literary Supplement. Her articles have also been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wilson Quarterly. She lives in New Jersey.
"[Knight's] detailed indictment makes a strong case that Vladimir Putin and the criminal empire he created survives because dissidents are slain without any consequence...Mr. Trump has voiced disdain for reading books. Perhaps someone should slip a copy of ORDERS TO KILL onto his nightstand."
—The Washington Times
"Amy Knight’s Orders to Kill builds a compelling case against the Putin regime for its complicity in the violent deaths of many of its critics—political opponents, muckraking journalists, and reform advocates. It also destroys the myth that we in the West can appease Putin to get him to behave himself.”
—Bill Browder, author of Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice
"Amy Knight is our foremost expert on Russian spycraft. This incisive, deeply researched account of the Kremlin's murderous dark arts should be an electrifying wake-up call to the West about the danger we face from Putin's gangster state."
—Edward Lucas, Senior Editor, The Economist
"A brave and important book. Amy Knight has an expert understanding of Russia, its spy agencies, and the dark state created by Vladimir Putin and his KGB cronies. Putin's critics have an uncanny habit of falling dead and Knight tells this story with rare skill. Compelling."
—Luke Harding, author of A Very Expensive Poison: The Murder of Alexander Litvinenko and Russia's War with the West
"In this powerful and detailed account, Amy Knight tackles a series of individual and collective killings and amasses the evidence, some clear, some circumstantial, connecting them with the Kremlin. Whether you agree or disagree with any of the specific findings, having read this book it is impossible to question the extent to which the Kremlin is not just a kleptocracy, it is a ruthless one, at that."
—Mark Galeotti, author of Vory:The Story of Russian Organized Crime
"Orders to Kill focuses unblinkingly on the grim but necessary topic of political murder during the seventeen year Putin period. Amy Knight is a meticulous analyst and is consistently balanced in her judgments. The two chapters on the poisoning through radioactive polonium of former KGB officer Aleksandr Litvinenko in London break significant new ground. Knight demonstrates that the order to commit a number of the political killings she discusses can, with great likelihood, be traced back to President Putin himself or to his powerful Chechen Gauleiter Ramzan Kadyrov."
—John B. Dunlop, author of The Moscow Bombings of September 1999