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Forsyth’s political bestseller

It is 1999 and Russia is on the edge of total implosion. Social and moral order has collapsed and what small semblance of control is there is being imposed by mafia-like criminal gangs.
While public opinion in the West is largely indifferent, the political analysts are less sanguine — Russian meltdown will make the disintegration of the Balkans look like the collapse of a cup-cake. Out of the chaos, however, a single charismatic voice is starting to be heard — that of Igor Komarov, a visionary patriot who claims he can restore Russia’s greatness and bring prosperity to the masses.
Activist Michael Syiem, currently reading Icon by Frederick Forsyth, says, “Forsyth is one of my favourites. Icon is about conspiracy but in the present context it can be linked to fundamentalist and extreme right wing.”
“The book is a well-researched document interwoven with believable fiction,” says Syiem, who loves thrillers.
Komarov even woos Western political leaders with a rather more realistic analysis of the way forward for Russia. Komarov is set to win the next election when an appalling document, known as the Black Manifesto, falls into the hands of British intelligence and comes to the attention of Sir Nigel Irvine, retired head of the SIS.
The document shows Komarov’s secret agenda — his political blueprint is really Mein Kampf, the rebirth of Russia will be as a New Third Reich with Komarov as Fuhrer. But can the document be authenticated? And what can the Western Alliance’s most secret Trilateral Commission do about it if it is? They need to find another voice the masses will listen to and obey rather than Komarov’s.
Once, not that long ago, he was called the Tsar.
Since neither London nor Washington will take action, the knight-errant secures help from a sub-rosa group of elder statesmen to frustrate the would-be dictator’s terrifying aspirations. His main man in this venture is Jason Monk, a former CIA officer, who had quit the agency after his Moscow operatives were betrayed by Aldrich Ames.
Infiltrated into Moscow, Monk plays the centerpiece role in a dramatic scheme to discredit Komarov and rescue Russia from anarchy by establishing a constitutional monarchy with a Romanov heir on the throne.
With assistance from a Chechen Mafia chieftain whose life he once saved, the elusive operative enlists the aid of bankers, upright police commanders, journalists, TV executives, the military and other oddly coupled allies, including the Orthodox Church’s patriarch, in halting the UPF’s electoral juggernaut. His efforts are successful enough for the desperate Komarov to attempt a New Year’s Day coup.
For the West, Russia is a basket case. But for Igor Komarov the chaos is made to order. As he waits in the wings for the presidential election of January 2000, his striking voice rings out over the airwaves offering the roiling masses hope at last — not only for law, order, and prosperity, but for restoring the lost greatness of their land.
“Forsyth’s Icon is very interesting reading. I would like to recommend it to everyone!” says Syiem.

Reading Suggestions for the week:
1. The Girl From Nongrim Hills
by Ankush Saikia
2. A Bowstring Winter
by Dhruba Hazarika

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