12 Who Don't Agree
[the Battle for Freedom in Putin's Russia]Book - 2011
"Portraits of a group of mostly young Muscovites . . . Some of [Panyushkin's] sketches are political fables of inspiring selflessness and courage" ( Star Tribune ).
InTwelve Who Don't Agree, journalist Valery Panyushkin profiles twelve Russians from across the country's social spectrum, including: a politician, a journalist, an army officer, an author, a bank manager, a laborer, and a university student. Despite varied backgrounds, they all have one thing in common: participation in 2007's historic March of the Dissidents. Though each of these men and women had personal reasons for joining the demonstration, they shared a belief that the government of Vladimir Putin was betraying the promise of Russia's future.
Risking the threats and violent retaliation inflicted upon Russian journalists who dare to question the powers that be, Panyushkin boldly illuminates the lives and convictions of these twelve men and women. Their stories reveal how a growing commitment to human rights, equality, the principals of decency and fairness can transform one into a dissident in the eyes of a ruling class that does not value those same principles. And in today's Russia the dissidents' journey is one from which there is often no return.
"Panyushkin reveals a great deal about post-Soviet Russia and the kinds of constraints on freedom that most citizens still live with and try to work around. . . . [He] writes in vivid tableaux."-- Los Angeles Times
"His compassionate yet candid outlook lends poignancy to individual portraits, with inflections of wisdom and occasional humor. Remaining defiant in the face of oppression, it is a testament to Panyushkin's talent that the plight of those involved is what ultimately resonates."-- Publishers Weekly