Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Breaking News: Author’s 12 years of research turns into alternate history novel about Vladimir Putin

New York writer Jennifer Ciotta has a unique fascination with Russian President Vladimir Putin. She has researched and studied him for over 12 years, including the completion of a Master’s degree in Russian studies and creative writing from NYU.

Her new book, titled I, Putin, is a captivating story about human interaction, compassion and tough decisions set against the real-life tragedy which occurred in the year 2000 when the Kursk, a Russian submarine, exploded with 118 sailors aboard. Newly elected President Vladimir Putin was at the helm of this crisis and chose unorthodox ways (unorthodox to a Westerner at least) to react. This was one of his first major activities as president.

Ciotta says, “History can be very instructive, even when set to fiction. People have forgotten what happened when the Kursk submarine exploded and sank into the abyss. This is when Putin took total control of the Russian media. His experience with the Kursk tragedy turned him into the leader he is today—it changed him forever. Putin wavered on his decision to rescue the sailors. This response was seen as very Soviet since Gorbachev waited 18 days to address Chernobyl. The Russian media vilified Putin and Russians voiced their anger, but he ended up seizing control.”

Her story offers very credible, timely and important insights into how Putin makes decisions and exercises iron-handed control even today.


What happens when Vladimir Putin is faced with a decision so harrowing, it changes him forever? 118 submariners spiraling into the abyss, a country in chaos and a president who seems not to care. Through the eyes of a first person Vladimir Putin, and his personal aide Gosha, discover what motivates the man behind Russia. Is he the cold, ruthless Vladimir Putin we know, or is he … human?

About the Author

Jennifer Ciotta spent 12 years writing and researching I, Putin. She received a Master’s degree in Russian studies (with a focus on Putin) and creative writing from New York University. While at NYU, she studied with the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies and completed a thesis on Putin’s KGB Mentality. On the writing side, her short stories have appeared in Del Sol Review and New Voices in Fiction. She was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Estonia—a main setting for the book —from 2000-2002. She was the Editorial Director of Literary Traveler magazine for five years, and currently, she is a book manuscript editor at Pencey X Pages and an advisory editor at Author Salon. She lives in New York.

What People Are Saying

A wonderful blend of fact and fiction from beginning to end. I found myself totally involved with the disaster as it evolved. It had me reading late into the night wanting to know if perhaps the outcome had been changed. More than that, it sent me on a search to read more about Putin especially since he has been in the news so much recently.

Sara Costello, Amazon reviewer

Despite the complex topic, the novel is an easy yet captivating read containing both high quality content and a psychological approach to Putin's persona. The book also focuses around the personal tragedy of the family of the submarine lieutenant who was destined to die in the sunken Kursk. It's impressive Ciotta was able to intertwine Putin's life with the personal stories of other characters portrayed in the book. I, Putin is one of the books you will remember long after reading.

Tatyana Mucci, Amazon reviewer

Editor's Note

Jennifer has been kind enough to send me a review copy, so expect a review of I, Putin in the near future. In the meantime you can check out the novel if you have a Kindle or Kindle app, or wait until April 2012 when it comes out in paperback.  Those wishing to contact Jennifer about the book can reach her at jennifer.ciotta@gmail.com.

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