Written by Andrew Jack, the Moscow Bureau Chief of the Financial Times, here is a revealing look at the meteoric rise of Vladimir Putin and his first term as president of Russia. Drawing on interviews with Putin himself, and with a number of the country's leading figures, as well as many ordinary Russians, Jack describes how the former KGB official emerged from the shadows of the Soviet secret police and lowly government jobs to become the most powerful man in Russia. The author shows how Putin has defied domestic and foreign expectations, presiding over a period of strong economic growth, significant restructuring, and rising international prestige. Yet Putin himself remains a man of mystery and contradictions. Personally, he is the opposite of Boris Yeltsin. A former judo champion, he is abstemious, healthy, and energetic, but also evasive, secretive, and cautious. Politically, he has pursued a predominantly pro-western foreign policy and liberal economic reforms, but has pursued a hardline war in Chechnya and introduced tighter controls over parliament and the media and his opponents, moves which are reminiscent of the Soviet era. Through it all, Putin has united Russian society and maintained extraordinarily high popularity. Jack concludes that Putin's "liberal authoritarianism" may be unpalatable to the West, but is probably the best that Russia can do at this point in her history. Inside Putin's Russia digs behind the rumors and speculation, illuminating Putin's character and the changing nature of the Russia he rules. Andrew Jack sheds light on Putin's thinking, style and effectiveness as president. With Putin's second term just beginning, this invaluable book offers important insights for anyone interested in the past, present, and future of Russia.