Russian history and culture, from a historian in Cambridge

The danger of being conventional: from Sergei Sazonov to Syria

Turkish armed forces shoot down a Russian plane on the Syrian border. What could be a more preposterous pretext for starting World War III? But Turkey is a NATO member, … Continue reading

December 6, 2015 · Leave a comment

The Russian Empire in Siberia

Look at the picture, and you’ll see that Ermak was the conqueror of Siberia. Although much of his life is shrouded in mystery, and he became the subject of nationalist myths … Continue reading

January 27, 2015 · Leave a comment

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