Surprisingly little information is available in English about Russian women and feminism. Valerie Sperling’s book helps correct the deficiency. Fluid in Russian, she interviewed Russian pro- and anti-Putin activists and feminists about their histories and struggles, pointing out that the women’s movement declined since its height in the mid-1990s but is small but active in the Putin era. As someone who writes about youth activism, I know that she is unusual in actually talking to young people in open-ended interviews. The attack on feminism comes from Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church. In Sex, Politics and Putin, Sperling explains in detail how Putin brands himself as macho as a way to build and justify his power and replace communist ideals with conservative ideology. Feminist Maria Mokhova, director of a rape crisis center, explained that the communist values were destroyed but “a new system hasn’t been created.” Another interview finds that while Stalin was portrayed as the father of the people, Putin’s brand as a leader is the fairytale Prince, the lover. Explaining the Putin regime’s anti-feminism and homophobia, Sperling noted, “As masculinity became a more overt legitimation tool for the regime, this required that masculinity be blatantly distinguished from femininity, enabling Putin to clearly enact his macho performance.” Feminist Elena Maksimova said in a nutshell, “It’s easiest to rule the masses by ruling their sexuality.” I recommend this book as an interesting analysis of how gender can be manipulated for political power.