To most Americans, Russia remains as enigmatic today as it was during the Iron Curtain era. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country had an opportunity to confront its tortured past. Here, author Brent asks why this didn't happen. Why are archivists under surveillance and phones still tapped? Why does Stalin, responsible for the deaths of millions of his own people, remain popular enough to appear on boxes of chocolate? Brent draws on fifteen years of access to high-level Soviet archives to answer these questions. He shows us a Russia where, in 1992, used toothbrushes were sold on the sidewalks, while now shops are filled with luxury goods. Stalin's specter hovers throughout, and in the dictator's personal papers we find an unnerving prophecy of the world to come. Both cultural history and personal memoir, this is a deeply felt and vivid portrait of Russia in the 21st century.--From publisher description.