Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin’s Russia by Joshua Yaffa


Between Two Fires chronicles the lives of eight ambitious Russians – from politicians and entrepreneurs to artists and historians – who have built their careers and constructed their identities in the shadow of the Putin system, where astonishingly, Putin’s approval rating remains at 80%.

Torn between their own ambitions and the omnipresent demands of the state, some muster cunning and cynicism to extract privileges from those in power while others are broken or demoralized. For each, the question of compromise – where to bend, how much, and in the service of what goal – is ever-present.

The result is an intimate and probing portrait of the way citizens shape their lives around the demands of a capricious and repressive state, which offers urgent lessons about the nature of modern authoritarianism.