BEYOND THE KREMLIN

Russian history and culture, from a historian in Cambridge

Honesty in Khabarovsk, Minsk, Omsk

On the morning of 20 August — this morning, long ago — Aleksei Navalny, Russia’s leading opposition politician and anti-corruption campaigner, was taken ill on a flight from Tomsk to … Continue reading

August 21, 2020

The Russia Anxiety: UK paperback out now

The UK paperback of The Russia Anxiety, published by Penguin, comes out this week. ‘A brilliant dissection of western prejudices about the Russians… This exciting and provocative book blows apart … Continue reading

July 27, 2020

Most enjoyable Russia book of the year?

Many fine books have been published on Russia this year. But one of them kept me turning the pages more quickly than the others, and not from a dutiful need … Continue reading

December 22, 2017 · Leave a comment

Remembering 1917: the impossible task

As 2017 draws to a close, the centenary of the Russian Revolution — arguably the founding event of the contemporary world — has famously passed off without much fuss. This … Continue reading

December 19, 2017 · Leave a comment

America meets Russia in the Urals

Even during the height of the Cold War, it was for a time fashionable to say that no two peoples were more similar than Americans and Russians. Some of the … Continue reading

July 31, 2017 · Leave a comment

Post-Soviet Eurovision and the singer in the wheelchair

Held in Kiev in May, this year’s Eurovision Song Contest is an international incident waiting to happen. From selecting the Russian and Ukrainian entrants to calibrating the crowd’s response to … Continue reading

March 16, 2017 · Leave a comment

How Soviet maths might yet destroy capitalism

Post-Soviet mathematicians have the world in their hands, and they know all about you. Sergei Brin was born in Moscow in 1973. Six years later, he migrated with his family … Continue reading

May 22, 2016 · Leave a comment

History: a guide to Russia’s 2015?

Historians of Russia like to take a long view. Some of the leading scholars of the Russian past have traced an interpretive line to link many centuries. They cautiously suggest … Continue reading

December 31, 2015 · Leave a comment

Is Vladimir Putin a conservative?

You learn to tell your right hand from your left when you’re little. It’s a lesson that British politics seems to have forgotten, as polling day approaches in the general election. … Continue reading

April 30, 2015 · Leave a comment

Rights against Leviathan?

‘You never had any fucking rights and you never will,’ says a Russian mayor to a local man whose house he wants to steal. It’s late at night, somewhere in the … Continue reading

February 12, 2015 · Leave a comment