BEYOND THE KREMLIN

Russian history and culture, from a historian in Cambridge

Coronavirus and mental health: reading Oblomov

Coronavirus is a mental health disaster zone. Some people fear a shortened life. Others have lost trust in the future. Many have uneasy feelings about people and places currently closed … Continue reading

April 14, 2020

Old enemies and absent friends

On holiday, keen to avoid anything to do with my day job, I came across a copy of The President is Missing, a thriller authored by Bill Clinton and James … Continue reading

September 8, 2019

James Bond’s Russia question

James Bond is faced with a unique Russia question in Ian Fleming’s fifth 007 novel, From Russia With Love, published in 1957. Does Tatyana Romanova really want to defect from … Continue reading

August 18, 2018 · Leave a comment

John le Carré, Russianist?

Russia runs like a red thread through the novels of John le Carré. Often it’s there as a proxy — the secret police chief, the guards outside the embassy, or … Continue reading

December 25, 2016 · Leave a comment

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