Former BBC Moscow correspondent, Angus Roxburgh, examines the enormous impact of Vladimir Putin's leadership on a tour of Moscow and Tatarstan.
Dates: Sat June 1 - Sun June 8, 2014
Single Supplement: £400.00
Vladimir Putin’s Russia has regained much of its standing lost during the years of chaos of the 1990s – but prompted enormous debate in the process. Over 8 days we examine Russia’s recent history and examine where it is heading today. We look at the role of government and the opposition, media, and minorities, and business.
Our tour takes us from Moscow to Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, a Muslim dominated Russian republic with a booming economy. In Moscow we meet the foreign and local journalists, meeting with representative of the authorities and the opposition. We will discuss Russia’s internal and foreign policy with leading Russian and international experts.
There’s is also plenty of time to sample the very best of Russian cuisine and hospitality from local homes to great cafes and restaurants.
Day 1 – To Moscow: Arrival in Moscow. At this evening’s dinner, you will be briefed on the week ahead with Political Tours staff and Angus Roxburg. Stay overnight at a the Marriott Courtyard Hotel.
Day 2 – To Kazan | The many faces of Moscow: Today’s sightseeing includes an early morning visit to a food market on the outskirts of Moscow where it will be possible to meet and converse with local sellers and buyers. Return to Moscow and depart on a walking tour though the centre of the city with a local architect who will explain the changes in the capital and the challenges its rapid development presents to preserving its historical heritage. Later this afternoon, depart by overnight train to Kazan.
Day 3 – Kazan | Kazan: economic success for all: Tatarstan has been basking in the glory of being one of the most attractive regions in Russia for foreign investment. Today’s itinerary includes visits to some of the homes of local families who will explain their day-to-day activities as well as a visit to a local factory and a meeting with the representatives of local authorities. This evening’s dinner will allow the opportunity to meet foreign businessmen working in Kazan. Stay 2 nights at a centrally located hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 4 – Kazan | A Multi-ethnic society: There are roughly as many Russians in the republic of Tatarstan as there are Tatars, however, most key positions in government and parliament are held by ethnic Tatars. The region avoided the conflict of the Caucasus – we look at how this was possible. (B, L, D)
Day 5 – To Moscow | Kazan model for the rest of the country: Kazan’s government has been praised at the higher levels as an example for other regions to follow. We look at the structure of government in area known as popular support base for President Putin. Later today, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Moscow. Stay 4 nights at the Moscow Courtyard Hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 6 – Moscow | Revolution or evolution: Pro-government politicians in Russia argue that the tandem of Putin and Medvedev is central to the development and modernisation of Russia. Today, the tour will visit the State Duma with the opportunity to talk to pro government politicians to discuss how the lawmakers see the future of Russia. After the visit, proceed to an opposition TV station in the city and meet with local journalists to discuss their views on these issues. This evening’s dinner will be hosted by a political analyst and award winning correspondent. (B, L, D)
Day 7 – Moscow | : Business and Foreign Affairs Russia is on its way to regaining its influence, lost both regionally and internationally with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Today, we will explore how this re-discovered influence is perceived by the Russian people. The tour will meet members of pro-Putin’s youth movement who are enthusiastic about the new Russia and also opposition activists who are calling for political reforms. This evening’s final dinner will be with the vice-president of a leading international think tank who will discuss Russian foreign policy. (B, L, D)
Day 8 – Moscow | Dacha After a mid-morning briefing with a leading Russian politician we get an opportunity to get out of the city. We visit two homes and see two very contrasting life styles, one very rural, and the other more glamorous; two contrasting views of the modern Russia. Followed by a traditional Russian dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 9 – Tours Ends: Departure for airports. (B)
Meal basis: As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
Flights & transfers: International and domestic flights are not included in the above itinerary, please speak to one of our staff who will be able advise on how and where to flights for this tour. Arrival and departure transfers can also be booked.
1. Martin Sixsmith - Russia: A 1,000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East
Combining in-depth research and interviews with his personal experiences as a former BBC Moscow correspondent, Sixsmith skilfully traces the conundrums of modern Russia to their roots in its troubled past, and explains the nation's seemingly split personality as the result of influences that have divided it for centuries.
BBC Books, 2012
ISBN - 1849900736
2. Edward Lucas - The New Cold War: How the Kremlin Menaces Both Russia and the West
The book explains the Kremlin's use of energy blockades and trade sanctions, military sabre-rattling and propaganda wars against its neighbours - and why a divided and demoralised West is responding so feebly.
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2009
ISBN - 0747596360
3. Anna Politkovskaya - Putin's Russia
Anti-establishment journalist and human-rights activist Anna Politkovskaya (murdered in 2006) reports from behind the scenes, dismantling both Putin the man and Putin the brand name, arguing that he is a power-hungry product of his own history in the security forces and so unable to prevent himself from stifling dissent and other civil liberties at every turn.
Harvill Press, 2004
ISBN - 1843430509
4. Masha Gessen - The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin
As a journalist living in Moscow, Masha Gessen experienced this history firsthand, and for The Man Without a Face she has drawn on information and sources no other writer has tapped. Her horrifying and spellbinding account of how this 'faceless' man manoeuvred his way into absolute - and absolutely corrupt - power will stand as a classic of narrative non-fiction.
Granta Books, 2012
ISBN - 1847081495
5. Rachel Polonsky - Molotov's Magic Lantern: A Journey in Russian History
An exploration of a country and its literature
Faber and Faber, 2011
ISBN - 0571237819
6. Andrei Sinyavsky - Soviet Civilization: A Cultural History
A wonderful journey through the Soviet history via cultural events
Arcade Pub, reprint edition (1991)
ISBN - 1559701595
7. Angus Roxburgh - The Strongman: Vladimir Putin and the Struggle for Russia
Drawing on dozens of exclusive interviews in Russia, where he worked for a time as a Kremlin insider advising Putin on press relations, as well as in the US and Europe, Roxburgh also argues that the West threw away chances to bring Russia in from the cold, by failing to understand its fears and aspirations following the collapse of communism.
ISBN - 1780760167
8. Per Högselius - Red Gas: Russia and the Origins European Energy Dependence
This book provides an alternative approach to analyzing Western Europe's much-debated dependence on Russian natural gas. The author investigates how and why governments, businesses, engineers and other actors sought to promote – and oppose– the establishment of an extensive East-West natural gas regime that seemed to overthrow the fundamental logic of the Cold War
Palgrave Macmillan, 2013
ISBN - 1137293713
9. Lilia Shevtsova, Andrew Wood - Change or Decay: Russia's Dilemma and the West's Response
In a series of lively and candid conversations, Lilia Shevtsova and Andrew Wood discuss how the Russia of Putin and Medvedev emerged from the ashes of the Soviet Union and the trajectory of Russia's relations with the West.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2011
ISBN - 0870033476
10. Richard Sakwa - The Quality of Freedom: Khodorkovsky, Putin and the Yukos Affair
The arrest and imprisonment of Russia' richest man, the head of the Yukos oil company Mikhail Khodorkovsky, had far-reaching political and economic consequences but it also raised fundamental questions about the quality of freedom in contemporary Russia as well as in the world at large.
OUP Oxford, 2009
ISBN - 0199211574