Russia past and present, from a historian in Cambridge

The Trump-Putin axis

One brilliant publicist salutes another. President Putin declares that presidential candidate Donald Trump is ‘a very bright and talented man’. Nodding at the conventions of international non-endorsement, he adds an … Continue reading

December 23, 2015 · Leave a comment

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

Denis Healey (1917-2015): clever critic of Soviet life

Denis Healey, who died last Saturday, was a twin of the Russian Revolution. Unlike many of his peers, he got the Soviet Union right. Born in 1917, he was a … Continue reading

October 11, 2015 · 2 Comments

Sir Elton, the Donald and Jezza talk about Russia

Elton John. One day he declares that he would like to sit down for a cup of tea with President Putin to discuss gay rights, the next he is duped … Continue reading

October 4, 2015 · Leave a comment

Europe, the KGB, and the Greek crisis

Would you trust a KGB man? Condoleezza Rice was close to Sergei Ivanov when she was National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State during the presidency of George W. Bush. … Continue reading

June 22, 2015 · Leave a comment

What do English children think about Russia’s past?

Any stray Russian readers of this blog will be dismayed — and I put that politely — to learn that small English schoolchildren know little of Yuri Gagarin. When five-year-old pupils in this … Continue reading

May 15, 2015 · Leave a comment

The sleepwalkers

Would you trust a historian to get it right about Ukraine? After all, historians often get lost on the path of current events and fail to make predictions. They disagree confusingly with … Continue reading

February 25, 2015 · Leave a comment