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After two and a half years as NPR’s Moscow bureau chief, David Greene travels across the country - a 6,000 mile journey by rail, from Moscow to the Pacific port of Vladivostok - to speak with ordinary Russians about how their lives have changed in the post-Soviet years. Reaching beyond the headline-grabbing protests in Moscow, Green speaks with a group of singing babushkas from Buranovo, a teenager hawking “space rocks” from last spring’s meteor shower in Chelyabinsk, and activists battling for environmental regulation in the pollution-choked town of Baikalsk. Through the stories of fellow travelers, Greene explores the challenges and opportunities facing the new Russia: a nation that boasts open elections and newfound prosperity yet still continues to endure oppression, corruption, and stark inequality.

Set against the wintery landscape of Siberia, Greene’s lively travel narrative offers a glimpse into the soul of 20th century Russia: how its people remember their history and look forward to the future.

©2014 David Greene. Recorded by arrangement with W.W. Norton & Company. (P)2014 HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books.

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A different perspective on Russia

Wonderfully narrated and with many glimpses into Russian private lives, this collection of essays is a good opportunity to look beyond the shallow narrative that is being spread in the West. While the author's overall stance re: Russia is understandably critical, he still gives a thorough enough account of differing views to allow his audience to understand the Russian people a little better.

All in all a fascinating look at a culture most of us know nothing about.

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