Red Notice by Bill Browder

Um. Whoa.

Can that be a sufficient summary for this book review?

“Red Notice” is Bill Browder’s autobiography, yes, but it’s also his personal testament and accusation against his murderers.

Photo by Etty Fidele on Unsplash

Wait, what?

Yeah. It’s that crazy. Bill Browder is still touring the world in 2019, making global change, and very much alive. But he’s pretty sure he already knows if he’s found with a bullet in his head exactly who will have given the kill-order: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, or another high-ranking Russian oligarch in the Putin regime. So he just wanted to make sure everyone else in the world knows too.

If you’ve seen “Kicking and Screaming” then you can appreciate all the “He’s Dick, and he’s got balls!” jokes.

To put that into perspective, Vladimir Putin might just be one of the wealthiest men in the world ruling the most openly corrupt government in the world. I say “might”, because his net worth apparently is dependent on who you ask (click here to read about speculation of his net worth). Can you imagine the resources at his fingertips? You might after this story.

Now seriously, Bill Browder has some serious guts. His story is incredible, and as a result he’s been called Putin’s No 1 Enemy.

From a cultural history perspective, this story is fascinating, because we see an example of how an American helps create a major cultural shift in Russia. But also, it’s so important to be conscious of how you read generalized statements. There are so many times that Browder says something along the lines of “Russia is….just that way.” In this book, that Russia that he is usually referring to is the government of Russia, but in any book we have to consider exactly what group the author is interacting with and not allow a generalization lead to misinformation or incorrect ideas.

I know a very different version of Russia (I was there 2013-2014 at the very end of this book’s timeline), because I was involved in a religious mission, whereas Browder was invested in finance and politics. And it was interesting to me at the beginning to read some of his generalizations about Russian people being cynical and guarded. So often I met people just the opposite, and there are a lot of reasons to that. I have a very naive view Russia. But, the further into the book that I got, the more I found myself thinking that I would have read so many situations better if I had read a book like this before going to Russia.

He describes one scene in particular that I can relate to wherein a sick man falls into traffic and nobody wants to help him for fear of being falsely accused by the police. I never could understand this when I was in Russia, but I felt that his observations were pretty well-grounded as I read the book, and allowed me to reflect on personal experiences with a whole new meaning.

I’ve waited for this book for 6 months to finally be available from the library and it was worth every second of the wait. As if the book wasn’t good enough, I also searched Youtube for some videos that are vital to the story and was so impressed at what I found. I don’t know what I envisioned when he talked about the Youtube content they created, but these are really really great videos that describe in simple terms major parts of the story and were used in order to protect different people and fight the corruption of Russian government simultaneously.

There are at least 3 in this series that should be listed when you follow this link to Youtube.

I also found a number of TEDtalks given by the man himself – Bill Browder – and this one is another decent summary of events in this story. But still, you have to read the book!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: