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David Satter (born 1947 in Chicago, USA) is a former Moscow correspondent and expert on Russia and the Soviet Union who wrote books about the decline and fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of post-Soviet Russia.
Life and career
David Satter graduated from the University of Chicago and from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar. From 1976 to 1982, he was the Moscow correspondent of the Financial Times of London. He then became a special correspondent on Soviet affairs of The Wall Street Journal. He is currently a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a fellow of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He has been a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a visiting professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Post Soviet Russia
In the 1990s, David Satter wrote extensively about post-Soviet Russia. In an article in The Wall Street Journal Europe, April 2, 1997, he wrote: “When the Soviet Union fell… the moral impulse motivating the democratic movement had to become the basis of Russia’s political practices. The tragedy of the present situation is that Russian gangsters are cutting off this development before it has a chance to take root.”
David Satter is the author of three non-fiction books about Russia, It Was a Long Time Ago and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past (2011), Age of Delirium: the Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union (1996) and Darkness at Dawn: the Rise of the Russian Criminal State (2003).
Jack Matlock, the former U.S. ambassador in Moscow, writing in The Washington Post, said that Age of Delirium was “spellbinding” and gave “a visceral sense of what it felt like to be trapped in the communist system.” The Virginia Quarterly Review wrote, “The brilliance of this book lies in its eccentricity and in the author’s profound knowledge of and sympathy for the suffering of the Russian people under communism.”
Martin Sieff, writing in the Canadian National Post, wrote that Darkness at Dawn was “Vivid, impeccably researched and truly frightening.” Angus Macqueen, writing in the Guardian, compared Darkness at Dawn to Putin’s Russia by Anna Politkovskaya. He wrote: “Both of these books underline the moral vacuum that the destruction of the Soviet Union has left.”
The Russian apartment bombings
In his book, Darkness at Dawn, Satter charged that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) was responsible for the bombings of Russian apartment buildings in 1999 that claimed 300 lives and provided the justification for a second Chechen War. He argued that this was part of a conspiracy to bring Putin to power. During testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives, Satter stated:
“With Yeltsin and his family facing possible criminal prosecution… a plan was put into motion to put in place a successor who would guarantee that Yeltsin and his family would be safe from prosecution and the criminal division of property in the country would not be subject to reexamination. For ‘Operation Successor’ to succeed, however, it was necessary to have a massive provocation. In my view, this provocation was the bombing in September, 1999 of the apartment buildings in Moscow, Buinaksk and Volgodonsk. In the aftermath of these attacks, which claimed 300 lives, a new war was launched against Chechnya, Putin, the newly appointed prime minister who was put in charge of that war achieved overnight popularity. Yeltsin resigned early. Putin was elected president and his first act was to guarantee Yeltsin immunity from prosecution.”
A documentary film about the fall of the Soviet Union based on David Satter's book Age of Delirium was completed in 2011. David Satter also appears in the documentary "Disbelief"  about the Russian apartment bombings made by director Andrei Nekrasov in 2004.
- David Satter. Age of Delirium: The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union, Yale University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-300-08705-5
- David Satter. Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State. Yale University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-300-09892-8
- David Satter. It Was a Long Time Ago and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past. Yale University Press, 2007, ISBN 0-300-11145-2
- David Satter Biography, Hudson Institute, USA.
- Jack F. Matlock, “The God That Deserved to Fail,” review of Age of Delirium: the Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union by David Satter, The Washington Post Book World, June 9, 1996
- Notes on Current Books, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Winter, 1997.
- Martin Sieff, Russia’s darkness is rising, The National Post.
- Angus Macqueen, Nothing left but theft, The Guardian, 18 December 2004.
- Satter House Testimony, 2007.
- Disbelief. The record in IMDB.
- Google Video