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Casino Moscow : A Tale of Greed and Adventure on Capitalism's Wildest Frontier

by Matthew Brzezinski

Buy the book: Matthew Brzezinski. Casino Moscow : A Tale of Greed and Adventure on Capitalism's Wildest Frontier

Release Date: 17 July, 2001

Edition: Hardcover


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Buy the book: Matthew Brzezinski. Casino Moscow : A Tale of Greed and Adventure on Capitalism's Wildest Frontier


So what's good old Mother Russia like post Communism? How's capitalism's so-called moral superiority faring behind the shredded Iron Curtain? According to Brzezinski's revealing, brisk, and often very funny account of Russia's roaring 90s, things are a little nuts. In fact, it's an all-out free-for-all, with every body trying to make as much money as possible in any way possible as quickly as possible -- before the window of opportunity closes. Contemporary Russia is capitalism without rules. The few who are rich and powerful -- which include a good number of very shrewd and opportunistic Americans and foreigners -- are super rich and super powerful; the poor include the remainder of the population, and, to put it bluntly, they're dirt poor. The middle class has yet to arrive. Filled with lurid, disturbing, scary set pieces that show what can happen to nation yet to get a handle on capitalism's finer points, for a book labeled as financial journalism, Casino Moscow is impossibly and thoroughly entertaining.


Been there, done that, now back again

Casino Moscow, about post-Soviet Russian and Eastern Europe, is a surprising page turner. Having worked in Russia and other former Soviet Republics, I was walking back in time as I read the book. Brzezinki's accurate portrayal of the life an expat (from the initial shock upon arrival, to the slow immersion to local custom, all the way to going native) and the business customs and irregularities (finding business partners, traveling on local transport, needless and antiquated bureaucracy, the mafia and all of the ironies in between). I laughed at loud at times and other times was reminded how scary a place to live it was. I think the comparisons to Liar's Poker are apt. The story is griping, funny, and for many people I know, all too close to reality. Billions of dollars at play in an unregulated wild west arena. He has the oil fields, oil men, bankers, Chechens, Tartars, Radisson, Nightflight, dinner parties, expat haunts, trips to the provinces,....all of it down pat and eerily reminiscent of what I know to be true. Casino Moscow culminates with an interesting and credible (hailing from the WSJ) perspective on the final spurts of Russian economic "growth."

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