Ah, there’s nothing better the beginnings of a catty new fight among Russia academics. A few days ago we had the Andreas Umland smackdown of Eric Kraus, and today, Juliet Johnson of McGill University in Canada takes a few light potshots at Marshall Goldman’s bloated ego in a review of his book Petrostate. [I’ll eventually do my own review of Petrostate, most likely during a summer vacation.]
Getting carried away with his own prose, he asserts, “President Vladimir Putin, with his control of Gazprom [the state gas monopoly] as well as another state-owned petroleum company, Rosneft, had become a real-life Dr. No – an archetypal James Bond villain, complete with a yacht and retinue.” One pictures Goldman’s Putin giggling evilly and stroking a cat, à la Bond’s Cold War-era nemesis Blofeld. (…) In another slightly overwrought moment, Goldman writes, “With its natural gas and oil pipelines that tie Europe to Russia like an umbilical cord, Russia has unchecked powers and influence that in a real sense exceed the military power and influence it had in the Cold War.” While East Europeans may beg to differ, the oft-made point that Russia has re-emerged on the international stage as a force to be reckoned with is well taken.