Circling the Lion's Den

The New Nobility

The Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB


    'A relentless investigation that demonstrates how, with Putin’s rise, the KGB has taken its place ‘at the head table of power and prestige in Russia.' -- Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2010

    'A non-fiction book that reads like a spy thriller… The New Nobility is an important book, well written and meticulously researched by two journalists with the right sources, both inside and outside the FSB.” -- Basil and Spice, September 14, 2010

    'Few people are better placed than Mr. Soldatov and Ms. Borogan to write with authority on this subject... essential reading for those who hold naïve hopes about Russia's development...' -- The Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2010

    “The authors bring hard-digging, fact-based journalism to an aspect of Russia that has been hard to document and understand Sober and probing. -- Foreign Policy September 17, 2010

    'This compelling book is a distillation of (Soldatov & Borogan's) work on the website. Drawing on considerable research it describes how the KGB, for decades at the violent vanguard of the communist dictatorship, switched effortlessly after the fall of the Soviet Union, preserving the stability of the new ultra-capitalist Kremlin; same people, many of the same methods, different name and economic system.' --The Sunday Times, September 19, 2010

    'Investigative journalists expose the tight control that the heirs to the KGB exert over Russia's politics and business.' --The Sunday Times (Must Reads)

    'The New Nobility is not a work of Kremlinology. It is the product of two profoundly courageous Russian journalists who are meticulous about their reporting.' -- The Guardian, September 25, 2010

    'If all of this still feels too frivolous, turn to The New Nobility, an inside look at the KGB by a pair of fearless Russian journalists, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan. Charting the organisation's heyday, decline and creeping return to power, it promises to raise the hairs on your neck as effectively as Ackroyd's ghost stories.' -- The Guardian, October 3, 2010

    'The New Nobility by Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan offers a detailed dissection of the FSB, the heir to the KGB, which still casts a long shadow over Moscow.' --The Financial Times, October 18, 2010

    'Soldatov and Borogan have done an excellent job in shining a light in some of Russias darkest corners.' -- The Irish Times, October 30, 2010

    'Soldatov and Borogan find an organization that prizes not just Soviet-style secrecy but the spoils of crony capitalism. The New Nobility is an unnerving look at the real power behind the new Russia.' -- Mother Jones, November/December 2010

    'For those looking for yet more evidence that the security services are pulling the strings in modern Russia, look no further than this extraordinary new book from the fearless journalists at Soldatov (who has written for Russian Life) and Borogan have compiled a history of FSB activities and operations over the past decade that paint a very vivid picture of a security service that has become Russias new ruling class With amazing accounts of some of the most significant security crises and counter-terrorist activities of the past decade, Soldatov and Borogan offer insights into FSB operations that have not been offered anywhere to date A must read.' -- Russian Life, November/December 2010

    'Fortunately there are inquisitive and intrepid journalists like Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan to bring nuance, analysis and old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting to the subject of the revival of Russias security services' -- The Moscow Times, November 12, 2010

    'This important monograph, written by a brave and talented team... The authors provide us with a great deal of detailed information about the FSB and its institutional mindset.' -- Literary Review, December 1, 2010

    'Drawing on extensive investigations, the two journalists have written a gripping account of how veterans of the KGB seized control of the Russian state' -- The New Statesman, December 6, 2010

    'A thorough and very brave examination of an organization that has a tight political, commercial and economic grip on Russia' -- Financial World (UK), December 2010

    '... An important and timely book... Soldatov and Borogan have uncovered new and significant information on the FSB and its relations with the Russian leadership.' -- The New York Review of Books, December 20, 2010

    'In The New Nobility, Soldatov and Borogan – co-founders of the influential website have a compelling book that draws on years of their pioneering reporting on Russias special services.' -- The RUSI journal, December 2010

    'A former FSB director boasts that his officers are "our new nobility." Mr. Soldatov and Ms. Borogan assert that reality is far more complex.' -- The Washington Times, March 23, 2011

    'Their (authors) ability to uncover inconvenient truths in a country that is not known for for its appreciation of a free press is remarkable. Through their determined efforts they have produced a chronicle that is detailed and well-written.' -- National Security Policy Proceedings, March 28, 2011

    '... compelling and thoroughly reported book on the KGBs successor organization, the Federal Security Service, or FSB' -- Commentary Magazine, May 2011

    'The New Nobility presents a persuasive, well-documented view of the FSB that only dedicated, risk-taking Russians could provide.' -- The Studies in Intelligence, June 2011

    'An authoritative and brave investigation into nefarious dealings by the Russian security service the FSB, which replaced the KGB and on which Vladimir Putin relies.' -- The Sunday Telegraph, October 2, 2011

    'No one studying the murky machinations of the modern Russian security apparatus can be unaware of Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, two journalists who—even in an increasingly media-hostile environmenthave probably done more than anyone else to shed some light on this secret world.' -- Mark Galeotti, Slavic Review (fall 2011)


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The Soviet KGB, the notorious secret police, was all-powerful, but fully under control of the Communist Party. By contrast, the Russian FSB, successor to the Soviet KGB, is solely autonomous and eludes control from even the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin, former director of the FSB and later Russian president and prime minister, made it the main secret service in Russia, permitting it to absorb two former parts of the KGB. In The New Nobility, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan document the rise of the FSB from the inside in the years from 20002009. They shed new light on the methods and characters of one of the most closed and secret intelligence communities in the world. They also weigh the FSBs role as the new elite, granted material wealth, power and prestige. They argue that a newly invented heroism, mixed with the real challenges of terrorism and corruption, has led to the creation of something very different from both the Soviet secret services and the intelligence community in developed countries around the worldand something considerably more troubling.

  • September 2010 • Russia/Current Events 300 pages
  • World Rights: PublicAffairs
  • The Perseus Books Group
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