‘For you Russia is closed’. One can imagine the satisfaction with which a border control official pronounced these words to the Guardian correspondent, Luke Harding, who had just flown back to Moscow after a visit to London last February. Harding, who had been covering Russia for nearly four years, became the first foreign journalist to be expelled from the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Later, after an international row at governmental level, he was allowed back, but soon felt it was best to leave for good.His new book Mafia State deals with many aspects of Russian life, from
the Russian-Georgian war to the rise of the far Right, from Putin’s wealth to rural poverty. His reports are clear, precise and up-to-the-minute.