Russian history and culture, from a historian in Cambridge

Three edges of Europe: Russia, Turkey, Britain

Turkey and Russia share aspects of the past. In the middle ages, Ottomans and Muscovites alike depended on cultural inheritances from Byzantium. Over several centuries, the Ottoman and Russian Empires both … Continue reading

January 22, 2015 · Leave a comment

Victory Day: tanks on Red Square, Putin in Crimea

May 9, 2014: Victory Day, the annual celebration of the triumph against Nazi Germany. Powerful army formations and weapons of mass destruction parade across Red Square. President Putin receives the … Continue reading

May 9, 2014 · Leave a comment

Russian patriotism in Crimea: Tsar, Stalin, Putin

A nation is easier to imagine if it has a human face. Since George Washington, the American president has been a physical embodiment of the United States. The Queen’s Diamond … Continue reading

April 11, 2014 · Leave a comment

Fun for rich kids and poor kids: Crimea under Khrushchev

‘Are you ready?’ ‘I’m always ready!’ So went the refrain of the Pioneers, members of the state organization for children in the Soviet Union. Set up in 1922, the Pioneers … Continue reading

March 17, 2014 · Leave a comment

The Olympic Games and the welfare state

Imagine a midnight flit from the Balkans to southern Russia, for the sake of a lucrative job on an Olympic building site that never pays anything at all. Unpaid wages, … Continue reading

February 19, 2014 · Leave a comment