Beyond the Kremlin

Russia past and present, from a historian in Cambridge

Bruce Chatwin: through the Iron Curtain

How iron was the Iron Curtain? Every ‘through the curtain’ experience tells us something about the division of Europe during the Cold War. It adds evidence to any view of … Continue reading

August 5, 2016 · Leave a comment

Brexit: the view from the Soviet Union

On March 17 1991, the people of the Soviet Union voted in a referendum to resolve the greatest question of the time: should the USSR remain a single country, composed … Continue reading

July 10, 2016 · Leave a comment

Stalin and Hiroshima

In Hiroshima today, President Obama avoided a politically toxic and morally doubtful apology for the atomic bombing of Japan. Instead he faced up to the dangers of war. ‘We have … Continue reading

May 28, 2016 · Leave a comment

How Soviet maths might yet destroy capitalism

Post-Soviet mathematicians have the world in their hands, and they know all about you. Sergei Brin was born in Moscow in 1973. Six years later, he migrated with his family … Continue reading

May 22, 2016 · Leave a comment

The iron curtain first lady

Laughed at, unable to answer back, constrained in private life but derided for political involvement: the modern political spouse can’t do right for doing wrong. Was it the same behind … Continue reading

May 17, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Panama Papers: Soviet history lessons?

Are you any the wiser, or did you know it already? The massive leak of documents from the law firm Mossack Fonseca reveals — pause — that David Cameron inherited … Continue reading

April 17, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Nazi-Soviet pact: a moral problem

‘Historians often dislike what happened or wish that it had happened differently,’ wrote AJP Taylor, the great British historian-provocateur of the last century. He concluded: ‘There is nothing they can … Continue reading

January 19, 2016 · Leave a comment