Another gem I’d recommend as background reading to demystify Russia is Less Than One, a collection of essays by Joseph Brodski.
Did I say “demystifying”? Hmm.. Not sure it is doable. There is an opinion out there, and I probably/largely subscribe to it, that mystery is at the coreof the definition of Russia, and thus can’t be removed like you can’t get rid of “three” in the definition of triangle.
You may want to check out the review of Less than One by Nicholas Lezard of The Guardian.
I have two copies of Less than One and can spare one.