Russian history and culture, from a historian in Cambridge

The rule of law and workable paradoxes

Balding, but with a fantastical beard, Sergei Zarudnyi was one of the leading Russian lawyers of the nineteenth century, though he was a mathematics graduate with a taste for literature. … Continue reading

November 28, 2019

War and Peace: did you like it?

What’s your verdict on the BBC’s War and Peace? One of Britain’s leading military historians is emphatic. ‘They’re wearing 1812 pattern shakos in 1805!!’ he tweets, deploying capitals. Tolstoy, himself … Continue reading

January 5, 2016 · 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

Russia in 1914: the welfare state that never was

The great anniversary is approaching. In a few weeks, it will be one hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War. A century on, the catastrophe of 1914-18 … Continue reading

May 20, 2014 · Leave a comment