BEYOND THE KREMLIN

Russia past and present, from a historian in Cambridge

‘Our adversary’: Hillary, Trump, Russia

‘Our adversary.’ This is how Hillary Clinton described Russia in the second presidential debate on Sunday night. So routine has distrust and recrimination between the two countries become that nobody … Continue reading

October 14, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Nazi-Soviet pact: a moral problem

‘Historians often dislike what happened or wish that it had happened differently,’ wrote AJP Taylor, the great British historian-provocateur of the last century. He concluded: ‘There is nothing they can … Continue reading

January 19, 2016 · Leave a comment

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

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