Russian history and culture, 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

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

Why today’s diplomats should read about the Cultural Cold War

Know your enemy. So inveighed Richard Pipes, the great historian of Russia, in a mid-1970s warning to American policymakers about the dangers of détente. This was how he put it: … Continue reading

November 18, 2014 · Leave a comment

Spend, spend, spend — Communist-style

Historians who possess souls want to see, touch, and hear the past. They share an instinct with most of their fellow-citizens to imagine what came before: how their families lived, … Continue reading

November 4, 2014 · Leave a comment