Once upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs and the Greatest Wealth in History Audiobook [Free Download by Trial]

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Once upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs and the Greatest Wealth in History by Ben Mezrich

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The bestselling author of Bringing Down the House (sixty-three weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and the basis for the hit movie 21) and The Accidental Billionaires (the basis for the Academy Award-winning film The Social Network) delivers an epic drama of wealth, rivalry, and betrayal among mega-wealthy Russian oligarchs-and its international repercussions.Once Upon a Time in Russia is the untold true story of the larger-than-life billionaire oligarchs who surfed the waves of privatization to reap riches after the fall of the Soviet regime: "Godfather of the Kremlin" Boris Berezovsky, a former mathematician whose first entrepreneurial venture was running an automobile reselling business, and Roman Abramovich, his dashing young protégé who built a multi-billion-dollar empire of oil and aluminum. Locked in a complex, uniquely Russian partnership, Berezovsky and Abramovich battled their way through the "Wild East" of Russia with Berezovsky acting as the younger man's krysha-literally, his roof, his protector.Written with the heart-stopping pacing of a thriller-but even more compelling because it is true-this story of amassing obscene wealth and power depicts a rarefied world seldom seen up close. Under Berezovsky's krysha, Abramovich built one of Russia's largest oil companies from the ground up and in exchange made cash deliveries-including 491 million dollars in just one year. But their relationship frayed when Berezovsky attacked President Vladimir Putin in the media-and had to flee to the UK. Abramovich continued to prosper. Dead bodies trailed Berezovsky's footsteps, and threats followed him to London, where an associate of his died painfully and famously of Polonium poisoning. Then Berezovsky himself was later found dead, declared a suicide.Exclusively sourced, capturing a momentous period in recent world history, Once Upon a Time in Russia is at once personal and political, offering an unprecedented look into the wealth, corruption, and power behind what Graydon Carter called "the story of our age."




  • Ben Mezrich never fails to deliver captivating narratives, and "Once upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs and the Greatest Wealth in History" is no different. I strongly suggest picking up this book.
  • After finishing this book, I couldn't help but make a connection between it and the latest James Bond movie. Both are filled with betrayal, suspicion, ruthlessness, and excitement, taking us into a world we usually only experience through films and stories. "Once Upon a Time in Russia" by Ben Mezrich is a gripping account of how a group of oligarchs seized control of Russia's capitalist experiment. Mezrich expertly weaves a tale, starting off with a meeting that sets the tone for the entire book. This gathering of Russia's wealthiest men, who had amassed their fortunes through questionable means and political connections, takes place in a historic dacha located on the outskirts of Moscow. The choice of location carries a powerful message. The oligarchs had summoned Vladimir Putin, the man they had selected to succeed the ailing President Yeltsin, to this meeting. They needed a leader who could tackle Russia's immense challenges while projecting strength and youth. They also wanted someone who would prevent the Communists from regaining power. However, they miscalculated. When Putin enters the room, he makes it clear that the oligarchs can keep their wealth but must stay out of his way. Mezrich then takes us back in time to tell the story of one particular oligarch, Boris Berezovsky, who played a significant role in Russia's transformation. Berezovsky started as a math professor but seized opportunities as Russia opened up. He built a business empire, formed alliances with high-ranking officials, and influenced Boris Yeltsin's re-election. Berezovsky became a mentor to other aspiring oligarchs, notably Roman Abramovich. Through Berezovsky's story, Mezrich unveils the rise of the oligarchs and how Putin now controls Russia through them, as long as they comply. The book reads like a thrilling movie, with conversations and details that may not be completely factual but serve the purpose of telling a captivating story. Mezrich touches on other significant events, such as the murder of Alexander Litvinenko and historical events shaping Russian politics. However, he leaves out certain details, like the Moscow bombings, which some believe were staged. The book concludes with Berezovsky's apparent suicide as his wealth dwindles and his attempts to outsmart Putin prove futile. "Once Upon a Time in Russia" provides a chilling depiction of the real situation in Russia, focusing on the oligarchs. It also offers a revealing portrait of Putin as a brilliant strategist, a meticulous planner, and a master manipulator with an extensive network of agents at his disposal. While the book may not satisfy those seeking an extensively researched account with comprehensive information about all major players, it delivers an engaging narrative filled with intrigue and excitement.