Russia past and present, from a historian in Cambridge

The historical origins of Vladimir Putin (2)

‘I have approximately two sons,’ the late Viktor Chernomyrdin (who was Boris Yeltsin’s prime minister for much of the 1990s) is alleged once to have said. In another moment of … Continue reading

November 13, 2014 · Leave a comment

Vladimir Putin meets Neville Chamberlain?

For some people, Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler are never far away. ‘We run the risk of repeating the mistakes made in Munich in 1938,’ David Cameron apparently said (of Ukraine) … Continue reading

September 22, 2014 · Leave a comment

Two votes: 1946 and 2012

What was it like to vote for Stalin? One of the most important elections in Soviet history was the 1946 poll for the Supreme Soviet, the country’s ‘parliament’. Of course … Continue reading

June 9, 2014 · Leave a comment

Prince Charles and President Putin: a view from 1956

In 1867, Walter Bagehot famously argued that the British monarchy’s strength was its mystery, and one can still see the point. But try to explain it to a Russian. However … Continue reading

May 23, 2014 · Leave a comment

Victory Day: tanks on Red Square, Putin in Crimea

May 9, 2014: Victory Day, the annual celebration of the triumph against Nazi Germany. Powerful army formations and weapons of mass destruction parade across Red Square. President Putin receives the … Continue reading

May 9, 2014 · Leave a comment

Russian patriotism in Crimea: Tsar, Stalin, Putin

A nation is easier to imagine if it has a human face. Since George Washington, the American president has been a physical embodiment of the United States. The Queen’s Diamond … Continue reading

April 11, 2014 · Leave a comment

The historical origins of Vladimir Putin (1)

John McCain, the senior US Senator from Arizona, outspoken member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and Barack Obama’s opponent for the presidency in 2008, calls Vladimir Putin ‘an unreconstructed … Continue reading

April 5, 2014 · Leave a comment