Ostrow's book explores Russia's path to dictatorship under Putin

Ostrow's book explores Russia's path to dictatorship under Putin
October 10, 2007

Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
(630) 829-6094

Joel Ostrow’s book would never see the light of day in Russia. Ostrow, chair of the Political Science Department at Benedictine University, has co-authored a book titled, “The Consolidation of Dictatorship in Russia: An Inside View of the Demise of Democracy.” The book seeks to explain how Russia has moved away from the path of democratization when hopes for democracy were so great. “Many people are under the misguided notion that Russia is a democracy, or at least that it remains in the process of democratization,” Ostrow said. “That is simply not true. Unfortunately, when someone speaks out against the government, they are either murdered or they disappear.” Nearly 100 investigative journalists, an average of two per month since Putin rose to power, have been murdered. No one has been charged or convicted of any of those crimes. Journalist Anna Politkovskaya, an outspoken critic of the Putin regime, was found shot to death in the elevator of her apartment block in central Moscow. Former Federal Security Service officer and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko accused Putin of personally ordering the assassination of Politkovskaya. Litvinenko died in London of acute radiation poisoning shortly after meeting with two former KGB agents. “The Consolidation of Dictatorship in Russia” seeks to explain not merely what Russia did and the consequences of those decisions, but also why Russia’s leaders made the choices that undermined democratic political development. The book is co-authored by Ostrow and Russian political veterans Georgiy A. Satarov and Irina M. Khakamada. Satarov was President Boris Yeltsin's chief political counselor for much of the 1990s, and in that capacity was inside the Kremlin and present when most of the decisions this book details were made. Khakamada was a Deputy in the Russian State Duma, a Deputy Speaker in the parliament, held a cabinet-level position in the government, and most recently was Putin's main liberal opponent in the 2004 presidential election. Satarov and Khakamada are among Russia's most prominent democratic activists and were participants in the events that led Russia away from the path of democratization. They share a unique perspective and knowledge of what happened and why. The book also includes a forward by former world chess champion and Russian political dissident Garry Kasparov. “Conventional Western wisdom assumed that democracy was inevitable in Russia,” Ostrow said. “Instead, Russia has moved from one dictatorship to another.” The book is published by Greenwood Publishing Group and is available at Barnes & Noble.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, admissions@ben.edu or visit ben.edu.