Bill Browder has made it his mission to draw the world's attention to the abuses of power the Russian people suffer every day.
his book, "Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One
Man's Fight for Justice," he puts the world on notice: The Putin regime
will ruthlessly go after anyone and everyone who dares to take issue
with their policies or with their murderous defiance of all ethical and
I became interested in this story when I
heard an interview with Bill Browder about the Magnitsky Act, which
Browder had worked tirelessly to bring to Congress and get passed by
Congress and finally signed by Pres. Obama in 2012.
This Act, named for Russian citizen Sergei Magnitsky, was written "to punish Russian officials who were
thought to be responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky by
prohibiting their entrance to the United States and their use of its
banking system," as Wikipedia puts it.
Wikipedia has to be careful with its wording, thus "Russian officials who were THOUGHT to be responsible for..."
do not have to be this careful, as we can see, by reading the book:
These officials were indeed, as shown in "Red Notice," responsible for
Magnitsky's death, as they sentenced him wrongly to be imprisoned and
made sure that he was transferred from one hell-hole to another,
starved, tortured, and denied medical treatment.
response of the Putin regime and the 22 oligarchs who have made
millions and billions of dollars off of the misery of the Russian people
over the past few years has been a massive, collective shrug of the
Ah, so what?
Except that they're mad, really mad, so mad that Putin made it impossible
for American citizens to continue to go to Russia to adopt orphans, which they
had been doing for years. Oh, and, then to blame the American government for
the fact that Russian orphans are languishing in hellish conditions throughout
their country. (Unfortunately for Putin et al., the Russian people are well
aware of the plight of these children and the reasons for their plight, and
have dared even to demonstrate in the streets, finally forcing the Russian
government to build some more orphanages. Not enough, though.)
Dear Readers, I hope you will read this book. It's even better than the one
I reviewed last Sunday. In fact, it's much, much better, because even though it
deals with a sad and painful and tragic experience, it's about people, like
Sergei Magnitsky and the author himself, and many others, who have bravely
fought evil. (In contrast, "Devil's Bargain" is about two people, and
many others, who come close to embodying evil.)
I want you to read this book because I don't have time to summarize its
contents. If I did, I would, because Sergei Magnitsky and the other martyrs
(yes, martyrs) who have been killed by Putin and his henchmen are so brave it
makes your heart ache.
On the other hand, I can't summarize the writing style of Bill Browder, who
makes every detail count, starting with his own life and the lives of his
parents and grandparents. (His grandfather, Earl Browder, was head of the
American Communist Party and ran for president representing that party in 1936
and again in 1940.) They were all remarkable people: intellectuals with courage
and grit, hard working and determined to do what they believed to be right.
So there are two reasons to read the book: It's so full of the honest but
painful truth about life in today's Russia, and it's so well written.
So, you don't care about life in today's Russia? But you should. Because
this is impacting our life here in America right now. The Russian government is
using the Magnitsky Act and its own response to that Act in order to persuade
ignorant Americans (like Donald J. Trump and his entire family and retinue,
apparently), AKA "useful idiots," to try to influence our past and
I checked the book out of my wonderful local library, The
Camas Public Library, after putting a hold on it weeks ago,
but I'm going to buy it from Amazon as soon as I can, and will thereafter press
it on my unwitting but willing friends to read.
(I see it's available on Amazon for just under $13.00. Also at Walmart for $3.99---really? I'm going to check that out!)