The hallmark of a professional historian is to use correct terminology and Edward Lucas' bitterness and hatred of Russia for rejecting the IMF reforms of the 1990s, despite the fact they were imposed by dictatorial means by Yeltsin, is inexhaustible.
For a start throughout The New Cold War , Lucas shows the petty mindedness of a person for whom the "world process" is not going the way it was supposed to in Russia by continually referring to President Putin or PM Putin as "Mr Putin".
This contrasts vividly with Lucas' references to President Yeltsin, the alcoholic and incompetant leader who steered Russia towards "Katastroika" by introducing US style market reforms on a society wholly unsuited to them.
Chapter Two of the New Cold War follows on from the first by personal insults that are as infantile as those who disliked US foreign policy by calling Bush a "chump" ( Harold Pinter ) or a "cowboy" or an "imbecile".
Lucas continues to degrade the level of a sensible discussion by resorting to the abuse that he also promotes when advocating a website called La Russophobe which promotes ethnocentric anti-Russian racism.
It is one thing to criticise Putin's regime. It is another to besmirsch a whole ethnic group by using terms such as "most Russians" were simply defective human material during Yeltsin's "shock therapy" experiment.
The only good real Russians were the bien pensants who supported the elites contempt for the sluggish masses. After all, there is a history of xenophobia even amongst enlightened liberals like Vaclav Havel who in the Power of the Powerless wrote of Russians "blind serf mentality"
In accounting for Putin's rise to power and growing popularity the intense human suffering endured by ordinary Russians is never the fault of the IMF's policies and Market Bolsheviks such as Chubais and Gaidar.
Instead in Chapter One of The New Cold War, Lucas stresses the fact that Putin's origins lay in the KGB and then as the head of the FSB. True, but Litvinenko was also an ex-FSB member who supported Berezovsky. No problem there.
Nearly all those who maintained the levers of power in Russia came from the KGB/FSB and the oligarchs who thieved Russia's resources under Yeltsin became privatised mercenaries with a penchant for contract killing.
Whilst that the process of recreating Russia as a hybrid of hyper modern capitalism and a security state did increase after 2000 with Putin trying to restore Russian pride and dignity, however wooden Putin's manner, Lucas omits any mention of "shock therapy" as such.
Putin is portrayed in schlock-horror terms as a throwback to the Cheka, the Tsarist Okhrana and even Ivan the Terrible's sixteenth century Oprichniki. This is a crude and essentialist version of Russian history.
Putin's regime is a Neo-Soviet threat, a New Tsarism, a hideous amalgam of Russian despotism, tyranny and totalitarian trappings rolled into one. His greatest crime for Lucas, though, is to have defied the West.
For there is no historical context that shows why "most Russians" supported Putin after 2000 and that lies in Lucas' view partly with the Russians as an ethnic group being what they are.
Lucas opines there was nothing wrong with the IMF "reforms" themselves. Their failure was due to inherent Russian failings. Not least their odd fears that terrorist attacks emanating from Dagestan and Chechnya meant they "were under sustained attack".
Well, the story was contemporaneous with the same terror threat in the USA where 9/11 was used by the Bush II administration to push through not only a curtailment of civil liberties, the suspension of Habeus Corpus and the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
What Lucas omits to mention is that the destabilisation of these southern parts of Russia were stimulated by CIA trained squads of the mujahadeen in the early 1990s when Baku was used to get what emerged as Al Qaida as proxy fighters in Azerbaijan to help get Aliev into power.
Aliev himself was ex-KGB but was politically OK as he supported the creation of Azerbaijan as a pro-US client state in preparation for the BTC pipeline that was to run through that state from the Caspian to the Black Sea.
Lucas tries to portray both Putin and his populist appeal as vulgar and crude as the entire race of semi-barbarian hordes he despises, apart from a cocooned elite of pro-reformist "liberals" who are in reality anything but.
When Putin said in 2000, in response to the murder of 94 people when a nine storey Moscow block was blown up by terrorists, that he would "wipe out" the culprits even in "the shit house" this is "gangster slang".
Presumably Lucas has heard the tape scripts of Richard Nixon or Alexander Haig served under successive Presidents and said to Reagan in 1991 in the White House referring to Cuba: “Give me the word and I will turn that island into a fucking parking lot”.
After 9/11, Senator. Orrin Hatch who snarled "We're going to find out who did this and we're going after the bastards". The latter was a public statement but few like Lucas would think the USA was run by gangsters or the mob due to intemperate outbursts.
The bombings could well have been planned long in advance. Men and materiel had fallen into the hands of Islamists long before the Moscow bombings and it was the West's favoured candidate Yeltsin who invaded Chechnya. Not Putin.
Lucas provides no coherent historical evidence on page 31 for why these bomb attacks happened. All he can claim is that it helped Putin to claim that Yeltsin's oligarchs like Berzovsky might have been implicated.
Curiously Litvinenko was pro-Chechen and the clash in Moscow, irrespective of the bomb attacks whose explanation remains murky, between Putin's supporters and those ousted was dirty and brutal.
Yet it is one sided partisan propaganda to single out Putin's brutal rhetoric as portraying him as somehow categorically worse than those crooked oligarchs who were in the Yeltsin circle.
The reality is that Lucas just did not like the way Putin clawed back power to the state from those oligarchs who robbed Russia at the behest and without any disapproval of IMF "reformers" at the time.
Essentially, Yeltsin had carried out a coup in October 1993 when he got the security forces to protect oligarch power and the new class of the super rich. Lucas' own The Economist had called for a Russian Pinochet. So much for "liberal values".
Foreign investors ripped off some $300 billion worth of Russian assets under Yeltsin, reduced swathes of the Russian middle class to selling their family valuables on the street. None of that matters to Lucas. They are "unpeople".
Not only that the strategy of turning Russia into a semi-colony was envisaged and encouraged by Zbigniew Brzezinski in The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives ( 1997).
Brzezinski wanted the economic subjugation of the former superpower. His creed is almost the same as that of Mr Lucas.
As the Soviet Union had collapsed,the assets were not only stripped but the currency destabilised meaning that a weakened Russia would have no alternative but to look westward to Europe for economic and political revival, rather than south to Central Asia.
Lucas airbrushes all of that out of history because they are inconvenient facts. He opines,
"Most Russians were ill-placed to judge Yeltsin's policies. The market model was a mystery , and one they had to unravel overnight. Nothing in their past lives had prepared the population for rapid economic change....They retained a lingering Marxist belief that one man's profit is necessarily another man's loss".Actually, many educated Russians were very well placed to assess these policies unlike the well fed and comfortable armchair theorists like Mr Lucas. The fact is they never had time to "reform" in their own way because of the speed and scale of the destruction of Russia's industries and asset stripping.
Nor were "many Russians" in any sense "Marxist". The communalist traditions of mutual aid and association long predated this second attempt following on from Lenin's Bolshevik Revolution, to frogmarch Russia to modernity by militarism.
Staunch conservatives like Solzhenitsyn understood the connection and the nihilism involved in the crude utilitarian notion of treating people as though they were part of an ideological experiment that was based on theoretical abtractions of Harvard Economists.
Nor was Yeltsin going to be 'judged' by Russians as , contrary to Lucas' assertion, Putin gave the legal immunity that Pinochet had from criminal persecution whether it was for facilitating mass corruption or his security forces murdering pro-democracy activists outside the Duma in 1993.
By praising Yeltsin as the man who modernised Russia, in spite of the Russians, Lucas is essentially endorsing mass murder, political repression and warmongering authoritarian rule to allow IMF "reforms" to be imposed.
Whilst the repressive nature of Putin should not be lauded nor rationalised, the absence of historical context or the fact that Putin has not used mass violence to blow up his Parliament or murder protesters makes Lucas a canting hypocrite.
Famine was avoided precisely by the initiative and guile of Russians in growing their own vegetables and co-operating in the face of "shock therapy" as by 1998 80% of Russian farms had gone bankrupt.
Whilst the Soviet Union's collapse was brought on by Communist incompetence, the IMF "reforms" deepened and accelerated the speed and scale of the disaster which is why the Yabloko neoliberals even in 2010 have zero chance of power.
After all, they have consisted of US NGO funded organisations that want to reverse "statism" and "Putinism" and turn the clock back to the 1990s. By any realistic assessment, these "Limousine Liberals" have not got a chance. They are hated.
The statistics ignored by Lucas, who is supposed to be competent at statistics as one who works for the Economist, are plain. In 1989 before shock therapy 2 million people were living in poverty on $4 a day.
By the mid 1990s, after the "painful reforms" and "bitter medicine", some 74 million Russians were, according to the World Banks own reports, living in poverty. "Reform" meant the impoverishment of 74 million people in just 8 years.
Though being overdependent upon oil and gas was not a long term option, under Putin's rule, some improvement in the fight against corruption and a new burgeoning middle class in Moscow and St Petersburg, millions have been pulled out of poverty.
The simple fact is that without the state ensuring minimal protection, the impact of unleashing shock therapy was always going to be chaos and the reaction to that was going to be a longing for stability which Putin has provided.
Blaming the failure of IMF neoliberal "reforms" on the Russians themselves is to blame the victims of this Sadean economic experiment with a people rather than those who literally got away with far more murder than Putin.
Lucas is only obsessed with a geopolitical grudge match with Russia as well as blinkered by neoliberal ideology. Russian dissident economist Boris Kagarlitsky writes,
'Globalisation does not mean the impotence of the state, but the rejection by the state of its social functions, in favour of repressive ones, and the ending of democratic freedoms.Kagarlitsky is half right. Globalisation has actually benefited Russia as it simply means the continuation of its integration into 'the global economy. What he means is that the neoliberal model was a deliberate and flawed Utopian experiment to make Russia like the USA. It was never going to happen.
Under neoliberalism Lucas so admires, alcoholism doubled, drug use went up 900% between 1994 and 2004 and led to an AIDS epidemic, mass prostitution, the sale of Russian women as brides for the pleasure of inadequate Western men.
The suicide rate had doubled by 1994 under Yeltsin and pathological crime and murder went up under neoliberalism more than 4 times. As Vladimir Gusek, an academic at Moscow University stated "the years of criminal capitalism killed off 10% of our population".
Mass demographic collapse was the result and is gloated over by websites that Mr Lucas links too such as La Russophobe which laughs at little children smoking with titles such as "Russian barbarians smoke themselves into the grave". How humane.
Instead of concentrate on that, Lucas is simply not interested in what was done to Russian people and his support for human rights an expedient fraud as he supports The Other Russia, a motley coalition including explicit Fascists such as Eduard Limanov.
Instead of condemning Limanov, whose National Bolsheviks or "Natzbols" once condemned Putin for not defending ethnic Russians from the discriminatory retaliation suffered in the Baltic States, he fails to condemn them. Thus condemning himself as an immoral fraud.
To be concluded and added to tomorrow