The authors of The Red Web examine the shifting role of Russian expatriates throughout history, and their complicated, unbreakable relationship with the mother country–be it antagonistic or far too chummy.
The history of Russian espionage is soaked in blood, from a spontaneous pistol shot that killed a secret policeman in Romania in 1924 to the attempt to poison an exiled KGB colonel in Salisbury, England, in 2017. Russian émigrés have found themselves continually at the center of the mayhem.
Russians began leaving the country in big numbers in the late nineteenth century, fleeing pogroms, tsarist secret police persecution, and the Revolution, then Stalin and the KGB--and creating the third-largest diaspora in the world. The exodus created a rare opportunity for the Kremlin. Moscow's masters and spymasters fostered networks of spies, many of whom were emigrants driven from Russia. By the 1930s and 1940s, dozens of spies were in New York City gathering information for Moscow.
But the story did not end with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Some émigrés have turned into assets of the resurgent Russian nationalist state, while others have taken up the dissident challenge once more--at their personal peril. From Trotsky to Litvinenko, The Compatriots is the gripping history of Russian score-settling around the world.
CrimeReads best nonfiction crime book of October 2019
"Borogan and Soldatov have uncovered a series of thrilling narratives about the strange, desperate, and passionate world of Russians abroad. Each one is worth a film in itself but when combined with the insights into the intelligence operative who monitored, wooed, duped, bribed, or killed them, the authors have come up with a novel, refreshing, and illuminating look into the enigma of the Russian soul."―Misha Glenny, author of McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld
"Through a series of endlessly compelling stories, Soldatov and Borogan make the case that Putin is carefully grooming and manipulating the vast Russian émigré community to serve the interests of their mother country. You can't follow Russian politics without Soldatov and Borogan's reporting. In The Compatriots, they once again deliver the fascinating inside story that's absent from the American press."―Joseph Weisberg, creator and executive producer of The Americans
"Talk about courageous journalism! Here's an inside expose of Russian poisonings, assassinations, and political meddling written by two Russian investigative journalists, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan. They narrate a century of the Kremlin's dirty tricks through manipulation of Russians living abroad-making them serve the dark purposes of the state. Reading this book, you understand that there are still many brave, patriotic Russians who want what's best for their country, not just Vladimir Putin. If you liked watching The Americans on TV, then The Compatriots is a must-read. This isn't spy fiction, but spy fact."―David Ignatius, columnist for the Washington Post and author of The Quantum Spy
"The Compatriots helps us understand and put into perspective the history of the Kremlin's efforts to cope with, and control its perceived enemies.....an important contribution to the historical record of the Soviet Union and Russia."
― Cipher Brief
"Soldatov and Borogan's... latest collaboration, The Compatriots, examines this history of Russian expats, their complicated ties to the Motherland and its security services, and their occasionally messy ends." --Amazon Book Review
"An absorbing account....Colorful characters and piquant details make this a lively story. Readers curious about Russian political affairs and espionage will eat it up." ― Publishers Weekly
"Soldatov and Borogan are two of the most revered experts on the subject of Russian secret services.... [The Compatriots] reads like a bunch of Hollywood plots bundled together into one mind-bending narrative.... a great read that now forms a perfect trilogy with two previous books--The New Nobility, which describes how secret services captured the Russian state under Putin, and The Red Web, which looks into the Kremlin's attempts to control the Internet."
"The authors’ emphasis on the sinister continuity of the methods used by the Russian secret police may seem a bit overdone, but the poisoning (less than a year after the book’s publication) of the Kremlin’s most vocal and fearless critic, Alexei Navalny, provides strong backing for their argument." ― Foreign Affairs
"This highly compelling and deeply disturbing book is a must-read." ―Moscow Times
"A fine and timely... book explores the origins of Moscow’s Murder, Inc." ―New York Review of Books Daily
"Soldatov and Borogan, Russian journalists who have specialized in reporting on the Russian security services, recount the obsessive efforts of Soviet intelligence to monitor the movements of Russians in exile." ―New York Review of Books
"Engaging history of Moscow's attempts to mobilise or control its diaspora. The Husband-and-wife journalist team are seasoned guides to the often misunderstood threats that Russia poses beyonds its borders." ―Financial Times
"A fascinating account of Russia's relations with its diaspora since 1917, weaving together stories of émigrés and spies, from Trotsky and his assassins to anti-Putin activists and billionaire oligarchs today." ― Los Angeles Review of Books
"[A]Wonderful and illuminating new book on Russian émigrés." ―New Eastern Europe
"Demystifying Russia has been a geopolitical parlor game for more than a century. Veteran Russian journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan have tried to make sense of one strand in their country’s complex history, the role of Russians who were either sensible or cunning enough to leave at crucial moments, mainly for a West from which Russian mentalities have often been estranged." ―Washington Times
"[A] timely book... its reporting is accurate and message important." ― The Times Literary Supplement
"One does not simply leave Russia, it seems, without many stories to tell. Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, co-founders of the volunteer news site Agentura.ru, have made a name uncovering the secrets of Russia’s secret services." ― Lithub
"In The Compatriots Irina Borogan and Andrei Soldatov discover disturbingly more features persisting from the Soviet Russia’s spy agencies’ early days than might be thought possible." ― The Russia File
"These brave and intrepid journalists have produced a convincing argument. An excellent introduction to the evolution of the Soviet and Russian foreign intelligence services, their relationship with the Russian diaspora, and their recent successes in binding the diaspora, especially the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, to the state interests of the Russian Federation." ― The Russian Review
"The Compatriots ... contribute to a better understanding of modern Russia by explaining how members of the Russian diaspora, who were the target of the Kremlin’s enmity for so long, have been more recently transformed from potential enemy into fellow countrymen." ― IMR
"In this highly engaging journey through the Cold War, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan take us into the complex and frequently antagonistic relationship between Russia and her exiles... In The Compatriots, you can learn all about the daring escapades of these expats and exiles." ―CrimeReads