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In Russians: The People Behind the Power Gregory Feifer explores the dichotomy of life in Russia by unraveling the nature of its people. Travelling across the world's largest country, Feifer conducted hundreds of interviews with local people concerning various topics ranging from sex and vodka, to Russia's complicated relationship with the world. Feifer tells the story of a society bursting with energy while under a leadership steeped in tradition and often on the edge of collapse. In a country of unforgiving geography and climate, alarming rates of alcoholism, a legacy of Siberian prison camps, and whose government has been loaded with corruption, Feifer presents a people who, despite everything, have created some of the greatest pieces of art and have provided the world with a variety of remarkable scientific advances. Russians: The People Behind the Power is a keenly observed, gripping profile of a people who will continue to challenge and baffle the West for the foreseeable future. Using a variety of sources including memoirs, interviews with significant Russians, and anecdotes from his own family and friends, Feifer analyzes the Russian character and stresses the importance for the western world to develop a clearer understanding of the Russian people and their values. Russians: The People Behind the Power begins with an in-depth look at the poverty of the people, their inefficient health care (HIV-AIDS is a major problem), the frequent racist hate crimes in the country, and the corruption which is present everywhere in the country. The following chapter describes the vast wealth in the country, mostly from energy. It is this dependence on wealth solely from energy that presents a long-term problem for the people. Feifer does not paint a hopeful future for the Russian people. Feifer is strongly anti-Putin, labeling him as "feeble at best" and explains that under Putin's power the country has returned to some of the more harsh ways of its past. Yet he makes it clear that President Vladimir Putin remains popular with the people even as the gap widens between the super-rich and the great majority of poor. Woven throughout the book is an intimate, first-person account of Feifer's own family history - his Russian mother's coming of age among Moscow's bohemian artistic elite to his American father's harrowing vodka-fueled run-ins with the KGB. Russians: The People Behind the Power is a gripping portrait of a people struggling to survive in a land of extremes.