A non-fiction that reads like a thriller? Yep, that’s Red Notice. Before the book begins, the term is explained: “An Interpol Red Notice is the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today.” Any country can issue a red notice, which then goes into the electronic system that is used to verify travelers as they go from one country to another. Almost always, unless the person checking passports is not following procedure, that person is shipped straight to the country they probably want to escape. It’s rare that Interpol fails to comply—which was why some Jews trying to escape Hitler’s Germany were returned. There are other such instances as well.
Bill Browder, the author of Red Notice was speaking in Norway when Russia issued the first one on him. Born in the United States, he lived in London with his Russian wife and his children. But, by then he was no longer running Hermitage Capital Management, the largest foreign investor in Russia. By then, some crooked cops and others had stolen his Russian business he’d downsized in favor of diversification. He survived many legal business deals that were unpopular with Putin. He thought, since he was not Russian, that he was safe. However, he was only safe while his activities were in Putin’s best interest.
I could go on, tell you more of this engrossing, true story, but I don’t want to ruin it for any reader. It’s great as a story. It’s even better as a warning. One of the author’s Russian lawyers was tortured to death because he refused to lie and accuse Browder of trumped up charges. Two of Browder’s lawyers were older. They remembered the Russian mindset and barely managed to escape. The younger lawyer knew he’d done nothing wrong. He knew Russia had no legal reason to arrest him. But, of course, to Putin, legal had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Do read this chilling tale. Then watch the news. You won’t get most of it—the media is too involved in various flashy stories. However, recently I read in The Week Magazine something I saw nowhere else. One night a month or so ago, Russia moved all the boundary signs a mile into Georgia territory. The homeowners now in Russia were upset. A pipeline was now in Russia. Nothing was, or could be done.