Russia

It is all Vladimir Putin's fault. Two years after the crisis in Ukraine erupted, the prevailing view in Europe, the United States, and Australia remains that responsibility for the conflict there – including the shooting down of flight MH17 – lies with Russia's president. This, the argument goes, is all part of Putin's plan to restore Russia's dominance of its r ...

Stalin, Volume I by Stephen Kotkin & Stalin by Oleg V. Khlevniuk and translated by Nora Seligman Favorov

by
November 2015, no. 376

How dissimilar two books on the same topic can be: one expansive and apparently unconstrained by word limits, the other constrained and economical; one following a simple chronological narrative, the other an admirable adaptation of literary techniques of multi-layered story telling. Both are political books, but the politics are as different as the personalities of ...

Who cares any more about Lenin? Time was, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870–1924) was revered, at least in some quarters, as the founding father of the Soviet Union, head of the first revolutionary state, pioneer in building socialism to end capitalist exploitation and create a better world. In the Soviet Union, Stalin overshadowed him for a few decades, while claiming ...

Kicking the Kremlin by Marc Bennetts & Putin and the Oligarch by Richard Sakwa

by
August 2014, no. 363

Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in March was a dramatic sign of Russia’s sense that it had recovered from its post-Soviet weakness. Viewed in the West as an outrage, in Russia the seizure was portrayed as a triumph, the culmination of a national resurgence under Vladimir Putin. It remains to be seen how long this mood of triumph will last. 

... (read more)

In Ernest Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, the hero Robert Jordan, an American fighting on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, receives some advice from Karkov, a Russian ‘journalist’ at the unofficial Soviet headquarters in Madrid.

... (read more)

Conventional wisdom has it that writing comes second to life. Young American journalist Elif Batuman has a different idea. ‘What if,’ she suggests, ‘instead of moving to New York, living in a garret, self-publishing your poetry and having love affairs in order to – some day – write it up as a novel for 21st century America – what if instead you went to Balzac’s house and read every work he ever wrote, dug up every last thing you could find about him – and then started writing?’ In her remarkable and very funny début, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, Batuman has done just that (though not specifically on Balzac) and written a book primarily about her relation to books.

... (read more)

As Meena Blesing explained in an interview on Sixty Minutes, writing an autobiographical account of her life during the Combe-Ivanov Royal Commission was something she needed to do. Writing the book allowed her to discuss the events of 1983 and their consequences in a way that gave expression to and ordered her anger. For the reader, Blesing’s very personal story provides a perspective on the Combe Affair which has not been canvassed in the other published material: media reports, the Hope Report, David Marr’s The Ivanov Trail. That the book concludes on a note of somewhat ironic hope is but one indication of the emotional complexity of the material story, she covers. For, in telling her own story, Blesing also presents us with what can be read as a rare discussion of the impact on private, family life of state actions and policies.

... (read more)
Page 3 of 3