Joseph Stalin wanted this wartime correspondence published, and one can see why: he comes off best. As the authors comment, ‘the transcript of the Big Three meetings demonstrates Stalin’s careful mastery of the issues and his superior skill as a diplomatist, regularly keeping his silence but then speaking out in a terse and timely manner at key moments’. He is ...
Letters to the Editor: Tony Kevin from Gordon writes on Jeff Sparrow's Trigger Warnings; John Lowe from Ormond on D. H. Lawrence; and some comments on Behrouz Boochani and his poem 'Flight from Manus' ...... (read more)
Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover reviews 'Crime and Punishment' by Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated by Nicolas Pasternak Slater
On its first appearance in Russia, Dostoevsky’s novel 'Crime and Punishment' was the hit of the season. It was serialised throughout 1866 in the journal 'The Russian Messenger'. Nikolai Strakhov, Dostoevsky’s first biographer, described the novel’s effect on the reading public as spectacular: ‘[A]ll that lovers of reading talked ...... (read more)
‘Heroes, hero worship, and the heroic in history’: so did one observer describe the essence of Edmund Wilson’s To the Finland Station (1940). A series of portraits of ‘great men’, the book culminates with Lenin’s arrival on a German train at Petrograd’s Finland Station in April 1917, shortly after the overthrow of Tsar Nicholas ...... (read more)
Sheila Fitzpatrick review 'Red Flag Unfurled: History, historians, and the Russian Revolution' by Ronald Grigor Suny
The centenary of the Russian Revolution has just passed, leaving a rather eerie silence, as Vladimir Putin’s Russia decided not to hold any official commemoration. In the current climate of what has been called a ‘new Cold War’ with Russia, people in the West often forget that the Soviet Union and its communist regime ...... (read more)
Kieran Pender reviews 'The Long Hangover: Putin’s new Russia and the ghosts of the past' by Shaun Walker
Winston Churchill once famously said of Russia: ‘It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.’ The aphorism is still cited regularly today by analysts and commentators confused by the opaque Russian state. Regrettably, the sentences that followed have been largely consigned to history ...... (read more)
It is now widely believed that Russia and its agents interfered with the 2016 US presidential election to help Donald Trump get elected ...... (read more)
Miriam Cosic reviews 'The Unwomanly Face of War' by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
When Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in 2015, the response in the Anglophone world was general bewilderment. Who was she? The response in Russia was the opposite: intense, personal, targeted. Alexievich wasn’t a real writer, detractors said; she had only won the Nobel because the West loves critics of Putin ...... (read more)
Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency has redefined many features of US politics, not the least of which has been the nation’s relationship with its former Cold War nemesis. ‘Wouldn’t it be nice,’ Trump asked while campaigning, ‘if we actually got along with Russia?’... (read more)
Mark Edele reviews 'Stalin and the Scientists: A History of triumph and tragedy 1905–1953' by Simon Ings
The relationship between science and power is central to many struggles of the present. Politics impinges on science when funding is allocated to ‘applied’ or ‘fundamental’ research, when decisions are reached about what should be taught in schools, when governments determine if people can be forced to vaccinate their children, what kinds of interventions in ...