Black Wind, White Snow The Rise of Russia's New Nationalism Charles Clover

Publication date:
15 Mar 2016
Yale University Press
384 pages: 235 x 156mm
12 pp. b-w illus.
Sales territories:

A fascinating study of the root motivations behind the political activities and philosophies of Putin’s government in Russia

Charles Clover, award-winning journalist and former Moscow bureau chief for the Financial Times, here analyses the idea of "Eurasianism," a theory of Russian national identity based on ethnicity and geography. Clover traces Eurasianism’s origins in the writings of White Russian exiles in 1920s Europe, through Siberia’s Gulag archipelago in the 1950s, the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, and up to its steady infiltration of the governing elite around Vladimir Putin. This eye-opening analysis pieces together the evidence for Eurasianism’s place at the heart of Kremlin thinking today and explores its impact on recent events, the annexation of Crimea, the rise in Russia of anti-Western paranoia and imperialist rhetoric, as well as Putin’s sometimes perplexing political actions and ambitions.

Based on extensive research and dozens of interviews with Putin’s close advisers, this quietly explosive story will be essential reading for anyone concerned with Russia’s past century, and its future.

American journalist Charles Clover is currently the Financial Times’s China correspondent. In 2011 he received the Foreign Reporter of the Year Award at the British Press Awards.

“A veteran Financial Times correspondent analyses what really motivates the regime in Moscow by tracing the rise of Eurasianism: the belief (crudely put) that Russia’s national identity is determined by ethnicity, geography and destiny.”—The Economist, “Books of the Year 2016” 

“An important contribution to this discussion…Mr. Clover’s reporting is excellent.”—The Economist

“What did Putin mean by 'Eurasia' and where does his project come from? This is the question Charles Clover sets out to answer in this though-provoking book. Part intellectual history, part portrait gallery… Black Wind, White Snow traces the background to Putin’s ideas with verve and clarity.”—Geoffrey Hosking, Financial Times

Black Wind, White Snow is required reading. This is a vivid, panoramic history of bad ideas, chasing the metastasis of the doctrine known as Eurasianism… Reading Charles Clover will help you understand the world of lies and delusions that is Eurasia.”—Ben Judah, Standpoint

“[A] deeply researched, fascinating account of how nationalist views that were once dissident or marginal in the Soviet Union seeped into the corridors of power in the Kremlin when Marxism-Leninism stopped working… Clover’s book deserves to win prizes for originality of mind as well as the strength of his liver  — he has spent many nights drinking with these nationalists.”—Michael Burleigh, the Times

“The new Russian nationalism for which Dugin speaks is entirely genuine. Clover casts a considerable light on its roots, on its passionate bias against the West, and on the Russian reality with which the rest of us now have to deal. His is therefore a book that needs to be read.”—Rodric Braithwaite, Open Russia

‘Clover writes knowledgeably and engagingly of the Russian political scene … Readers who would like to make that judgement for themselves in the case of today’s Russia will scarcely find a better introduction than Black Wind, White Snow.’ - Edmund Griffiths, TLS

“Clover’s account of ‘Eurasianism’ in Russia is unlikely to be equaled.  . . . Clover’s unusual command of source material and personal interviews integrates his subject into the improvised and obscure style of Putin’s Russia. Highly recommended.”—Zachary Irwin, Library Journal

“[Black Wind, White Snow] has significance beyond its immediate subject matter. Its meticulous observation provides us with a case study of birth of a new ideology, taking place before our very eyes.”—Antony Black, European Legacy