NEWSLINK: “Putin says he wishes the Soviet Union had not collapsed. Many Russians agree.” – Washington Post/Adam Taylor

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

“A day after unveiling dramatic new weapons – including a nuclear-powered cruise missile – that sparked talk of a return to Cold War tensions … Putin suggested that he’d reverse the collapse of the Soviet Union if he could. Putin’s comments on the 1991 fall of the U.S.S.R. – which bound Russia and many of its neighbors while exerting influence […]

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NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “The Long Hangover – Putin’s Russia and the Ghosts of the Past” – NYU Jordan Center/Ben Dalton

Large Mother Russia Statue Near Volgograd

“In late 1999, as … Putin began his long rule over Russia, the new president faced a slew of economic and political problems, but also an existential one. While post-Soviet countries like Belarus and Estonia had apparently settled into new national narratives (continuity with the past for Belarus, rupture and independence for Estonia and the other Baltic states), Russia remained […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Supporters’ Election Pitch: Remember Stalingrad; Video made at memorial to WWII victory is part of patriotic wave ahead of Russia’s March election” – Wall Street Journal/James Marson

Large Mother Russia Statue Near Volgograd

“… the video has also been chided for taking things too far, including on state television, underscoring the tension around the Kremlin’s efforts to drum up support despite a stagnant economy and a fall in living standards in recent years. * * *  Putin has made commemoration of the World War II [Stalingrad] victory a centerpiece of his rule, portraying […]

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IN MEMORIAM [Link]: “Donald Barry Obituary” – Legacy.com

Lit Candle with Reflection and Dark Background

“Donald D. Barry, 83 of Bethlehem, died January 31, 2018 at home surround by his family. Born in East Cleveland, Ohio, he was the son of the late Ruth May Barry and John L. Barry. Don was educated at Ohio University and Syracuse University. During his time in graduate school he spent a year at Moscow University in the early […]

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NEWSLINK: “STALIN, PADDINGTON, AND THE PRESS” – irrussianality/Paul Robinson

File Photo of Reel of Film

“What do Josef Stalin and Paddington Bear have in common? Answer: The Russian Ministry of Culture has tried to ‘ban’ films about them – or at least that what recent headlines would have you believe. The truth is a bit more complex. …”

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NEWSLINK: “The KGB Playbook for Infiltrating the Middle East; In 1988, the Soviet intelligence service, the KGB, looked at its mistakes in the Middle East, where the CIA often had the upper hand. Putin has worked to change that” – Daily Beast/ Michael Weiss

FSB Building file photo

“This is the second article in a three-part series based on never-before-published training manuals for the KGB, the Soviet intelligence organization that Vladimir Putin served as an operative, and that shaped his view of the world.”

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NEWSLINK: “Revealed: The Secret KGB Manual for Recruiting Spies” – Daily Beast/ Michael Weiss

FSB Building file photo

“This is the first of a three-part series based on never-before-published training manuals for the KGB, the Soviet intelligence organization that Vladimir Putin served as an operative, and that shaped his view of the world. Its veterans still make up an important part of now-Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power base. All were trained in the same dark arts, and these […]

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Arseny Roginsky: Giving Russia its history back; On 18 December, Arseny Roginsky, historian, dissident and one of the founders of Russia’s Memorial society, passed away. He will be sorely missed.

Lit Candle with Reflection and Dark Background

(opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Kaluzhsky – December 20, 2017) Mikhail Kaluzhsky is Lead Russian-Language Editor at oDR. “For me, the archive (and I mean, of course, only literary and historical archives) is the natural continuation of the library. And unpublished archival documents are in no way different from published documents, you can treat them as accidentally unpublished or as-yet-unpublished. I believe […]

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‘Russian Lessons for Reagan’ Launch at Gorbachev Foundation Reunites Old Friends; Author Suzanne Massie meets with old friends and fellow optimists

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Justin Lifflander – December 13, 2017) Tuesday’s event at the Gorbachev Foundation was supposed to be a typically mundane book launch. But the presentation of the Russian language version of Suzanne Massie’s “Trust But Verify: Russian Lessons for Reagan” turned out to be an unofficial meeting of the multi-generational club of peace-makers and optimists. Ronald […]

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NEWSLINK: “ORDER FROM CHAOS; U.S.-Russia arms control was possible once – is it possible still?” – Brookings/ Strobe Talbott

“Thirty years ago last week, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, resulting in the elimination of some 2,700 U.S. and Soviet ground-launched intermediate-range missiles. …”

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How did 1917 change the west? Failed utopias lead to the death of idealism, and the likes of Putin and Trump are symbols of this process. As we watch Russia struggle with history, the U.S. and U.K. cannot afford to pretend that this history doesn’t affect us too.

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Sam Greene – November 22, 2017) Samuel A. Greene is Reader in Russian Politics and Director of the Russia Institute at King’s College London Revolutions – and their centenaries – are best dealt with in the first person. That, of course, creates a certain awkwardness for an academic, whose stock in trade is meant to be distance from […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Celebrates an Uncomfortable Centennial” – Stratfor.com

File photo of Czar Nicholas II in Military Uniform Outdoors with Soldiers in Background, adapted from image at defense.gov

“The centennial anniversary of the launch of the Russian Revolution on Nov. 7 will serve as a haunting reminder for Russia’s current leaders that their power is finite. … a year after Russia observed the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, a similarly unsettling marker for the [Putin] government … facing opposition from within its own ranks and on […]

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Pavel Koshkin: “The Review on Zygar’s Book — The Empire Must Die”

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

Subject: the review on Zygar’s book — The Empire Must Die Date: Thu, 9 Nov 2017 From: Pavel Koshkin <pkoshkin.russia.direct@gmail.com> The Empire Must Die: Understanding Russia’s political theater between 1917 and 2017 The main goal of Mikhail Zygar’s new book is to prove that every member of society can contribute to the development of a country’s history and make difference. […]

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On Revolution Centenary, Perplexed Russians Ask, ‘Who Am I To Judge?’

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth, Robert Coalson – ST. PETERSBURG/MOSCOW – Nov. 5, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/anniversary-bolshevik-revolution-100-lenin-assessment/28836011.html) The small museum in St. Petersburg located in the apartment where Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin lived in the months before the October 1917 Bolshevik coup was inexplicably closed one recent weekday afternoon. A small, […]

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‘Russians to This Day Remain Soviet People,’ Moscow Psychologist Says

Artist's Rendition of Head and Brain, adapted from .gov image at lbl.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 31, 2017) Russians remain “Soviet people,” Aleksandr Asmolov says, not in terms of the specific ideological program pushed by the communist regime but rather according to three deep structures which informed that program, ensured its widespread acceptance, and guarantee its continuing vitality. Asmolov, a professor of psychology at Moscow State University, […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the global themed conference titled 100 Years of the Russian Revolution: Unity for the Future – Moscow, October 31, 2017” – Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov » Read more

RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Opening of Wall of Sorrow memorial to victims of political repression” – KremlinRu

Russia Map

(Kremlin.ru – October 30, 2017) Following the meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, Vladimir Putin and the Council members attended the opening of the Wall of Sorrow memorial to victims of political repression on Akademika Sakharova Prospekt. The opening was also attended by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. President […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Vladimir Putin and Mikhail Fedotov at] Meeting of Council for Civil Society and Human Rights” – KremlinRu

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Kremlin.ru – October 30, 2017) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights at the Kremlin. The focus of the meeting was on measures to implement the State Policy Concept on immortalising the memory of victims of political repression. The agenda also included issues related to the Council’s activities on ensuring citizens’ environmental rights, […]

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Russian Liberals Attack Current Regime but Defend Foundation of Regime as Such, Birna Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 27, 2017) One of the fundamental weaknesses of liberal Russian thought and behavior, Irina Birna says, is Russian liberals are always ready to criticize the current regime but defend the basis of that regime as such, refusing to see the links between the two and thus manifesting “a latent imperialism.” They […]

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Interfax: Don’t forget saddest lessons of Russian history – Volodin in connection with day memorializing victims of repression

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 30 (Interfax) – Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that the events associated with political repression in the 20th century should be remembered so that the past can unite society, not divide it. “The Day of Remembrance of Victims of Political Repressions is one of the hardest memorial dates in our country’s calendar. In the year of […]

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Russia To Unveil Monument To Victims Of Political Repression

File Photo of Soviet Gulag at Manzanar, adapted from image at nps.gov

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – October 30, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-stalin-putin-soviet-repression-remembrance-day-moscow/28823208.html) Amid controversy over his own methods of maintaining control over Russia, President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to appear at the unveiling of a memorial dedicated to victims of state repression during the Soviet era. The Wall Of Sorrow will be unveiled on […]

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Interfax: Kremlin had no plans for Russian Revolution centenary celebrations in first place – Peskov

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. Oct 25 (Interfax) – The Kremlin did not plan to celebrate the Russian Revolution’s centenary in the first place, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday. “The Kremlin is not planning any events on this occasion,” Peskov said. “No one is cancelling anything,” he said. The media said that the Kremlin had planned no events celebrating the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “No pomp as Russia revolution centenary nears” – AFP

Kremlin and River

“… Russia strives to strike an odd balance … remembering the uprising that brought about the Soviet Union … stopping short of romanticising regime change. … 1917 saw Tsar Nicholas II abdicate in March and the Bolsheviks … seize power in October. Civil war erupted … followed by the creation in 1922 of the USSR, built on the ruins of the Russian empire. … Russia still […]

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NEWSLINK: “A tale of two revolutions, or ‘decommunisation’, Ukrainian-style; Ukrainian politicians see their country’s Soviet heritage as a major obstacle on the way to abrave new world. It’s a shame they’re using the same revolutionary methods as the communists to deal with it.” – OpenDemocracy/ Sergey Rumyantsev

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion » Read more

NEWSLINK: “CARIBBEAN CRISIS 2.0: ILLUSION OF PERMISSIVENESS” – Valdai/ Maxim Starchak

Map of Cuba and Environs

“… The international security system is collapsing, there is no dialogue. The parties do not consider negotiations, options, but prefer options for developing their military activities. Sooner or later, this may lead to a full-scale crisis similar to Cuba 1962. However, this may not be a bad thing. The Caribbean crisis has taught us to understand that the value of […]

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The Evolution of Homo Sovieticus to Putin’s Man; The tumultuous decades have left their mark on Russians’ inner life

File Photo of Crowd in Russia Including Person Waving Russian Flag with Eagle

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog, Lev Gudkov – October 13, 2017) [Text with charts themoscowtimes.com/articles/the-evolution-of-homo-sovieticus-to-putins-man-59189] Lev Gudkov remembers sitting in his Moscow office as a young sociologist, surrounded by stacks of letters. It was 1989, and for the first time after decades of hushed conversation around kitchen tables, Russians had been asked for their opinions on a range […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘We are nothing, let us be all.’ The century of revolution. The first communist revolution had almost as many consequences for the rest of the world as it did for Russia itself. Its demise has brought about another type of universalism: capitalist globalisation.” – Le Monde Diplomatique/ Serge Halimi

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

“… The ‘end of communism’ seemed to settle the great debate that opposed the main currents of the international left after the Russian Revolution, the defeat of one of the protagonists entailing the victory of the other, social democracy’s revenge on its boisterous sibling. That triumph was short-lived. The centenary of the storming of the Winter Palace is coinciding with […]

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NEWSLINK: “From free info exchange to Kremlin tool; Russia’s homegrown Web; The Soviet Union had a working Internet surprisingly early, and its isolation and highly educated users have kept it separate even in a well-connected world.” – Le Monde Diplomatique/ Kevin Limonier

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“The Ukrainian government blocked access to a number of Russian online services this May, including search engine Yandex and Facebook equivalent VKontakte. Kiev accuses these services, widely used in Ukraine, of sharing data with Russian intelligence, especially the personal data of soldiers fighting separatists in the Donbass region. This measure stopped millions from accessing their favourite sites, and showed the […]

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In Soviet Times, Russian Children were More Like Adults; Now, Russian Adults are More Like Children, Psychologists Say

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 21, 2017) Fifty years ago, Soviet psychologists conducted a major study of Russian children in the fourth and fifth classes; now, Russian psychologists have replicated that study and conclude that in Soviet times, Russian children were more like adults while now Russian adults are more like children. (kp.ru/daily/26734.4/3761099/). The 1967 study […]

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Russians Mull Movie Ban On British Farce ‘Death Of Stalin’

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW – Sept. 20, 2017 – also appeared at https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-death-stalin-movie-ban-outrage/28747021.html) The Russian Culture Ministry has warned it may ban a British satirical film about Soviet leader Josef Stalin’s death amid an outcry from Communist Party lawmakers who call it the latest example of Western “psychological warfare.” Adapted […]

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‘The Death of Stalin’ Comedy Has Russia’s Culture Ministry Bracing for Communist Backlash

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 18, 2017) The Russian Culture Ministry’s public council should pre-screen a satirical movie on the death of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin to avoid repeating the ongoing controversy over a Tsar Nicholas II biopic, a senior council member told the Govorit Moskva radio station on Monday. Scottish director and writer Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of […]

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NEWSWATCH AUDIO: “An Interview with Jack F. Matlock, Jr.” – Reconsidering Russia Podcast/ Pietro A. Shakarian Interviewer

Jack Matlock file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“In this wide-ranging interview, Ambassador Matlock discusses his life and career. It encompasses discussions of his interest in Russia, his first meeting with his wife Rebecca, his first assignment in Moscow in 1961, his diplomatic work in Africa, his time as Director of Soviet Affairs in the State Department in the 1970s, his work for Presidents Reagan and Bush, Sr. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why Gorbachev likes Putin more than you might expect; When democratic reforms faltered, Russians – including Gorbachev – hungered for authoritarians” – Washington Post/ William Taubman

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

“Mikhail Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin would seem to be polar opposites. … rejecting Gorbachev’s legacy has provided Putin with the main planks of his political platform. ….”

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NEWSLINK: “The Cold War’s Tragic Hero; A definitive biography shows a Soviet leader changing his mind. Max Boot reviews ‘Gorbachev’ by William Taubman.”

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… Perhaps Russia’s dire straits, with an imploding economy overseen by a corrupt oligarchy, could have been avoided if Mr. Gorbachev had engineered a smoother transition from dictatorship to democracy, from communism to capitalism. But the dissolution of every great empire has been a messy, bloody business. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Reconsidering Russia Podcast: An Interview with Alexander Rabinowitch”

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

“… This interview includes discussions with Dr. Rabinowitch on the history and historiography of the Russian Revolution, the forthcoming centenary, his Russian émigré family background, the role of the Russian émigrés in the formation of Russian Studies in the US. and his meetings with Aleksandr Kerensky, Vladimir Nabokov, Irakli Tsereteli, and Boris Nicolaevsky.”

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NEWSLINK: “The Lost Alternatives of Mikhail Gorbachev. Thirty years ago, the last Soviet leader gave the world the possibilities of a democratic Russia and (with Ronald Reagan) an end to Cold War and nuclear arms races. Today, it is as though those historical alternatives never existed.” – The Nation/ Stephen Cohen

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

“… Cohen chose this subject for tonight’s discussion for several reasons. This year marks the 30th anniversary both of Gorbachev’s formal introduction of his democratization policies in the Soviet Union and of the INF Treaty, signed by him and US President Reagan, the first—and still the only—abolition of an entire category of nuclear weapons. In addition, for Cohen, 2017 also […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin, Stalin, Orthodoxy, and Russian Traditionalism” – Russian and Eurasian Studies/ Gordon Hahn

Joseph Stalin file photo

“Much Western media and many observers of Russian politics are fond of playing up an ostensible revival of Stalin – his ‘rehabilitation’ as it were – under Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule. …”

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Interview with Mikhail Zygar — 1917-2017: An ominous anniversary for Russia; Here is why the Kremlin is not eager to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1917 revolution and use it in its political goals.

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

[Interview conducted, transcribed and adapted by Pavel Koshkin, Former Editor-in-Chief, Russia Direct] Mikhail Zygar, the author of the project “1917.Free History”, talks to Johnson’s Russia List (JRL) about the reasons why the Russian authorities don’t use the 100th anniversary of the 1917 revolution in their political goals. He also discuses the lessons the Kremlin should learn from these dramatic events […]

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A Lesson for Today: August 1991 Coup Failed because KGB Didn’t Support It, Gennady Gudkov Says

File Photo of Gennady Gudkov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 20, 2017) Force structures have invariably played a key role in all revolutions, revolts, or palace coups, either by supporting the incumbent regime or supporting its challengers, Gennady Gudkov says; and August 1991 was no exception because in his view, the attempted coup failed because it did not have the backing […]

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NEWSLINK: “Marshall I. Goldman, Expert on Russian Economy, Dies at 87” – New York Times

Lit Candle with Reflection and Dark Background

“Marshall I. Goldman, who diagnosed deficiencies in Moscow’s economic policies for decades and was among the first Kremlinologists to predict the downfall of Mikhail S. Gorbachev, died on Aug. 2 in Cambridge, Mass. He was 87. …”

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Moscow’s Makeover Swaps Soviet Grit for Urban Sparkle; Smart city apps, historically accurate trees, a working subway. While Washington obsesses over sanctions and hacks, Russia is rebranding its capital as a model of urban planning.

Moscow Aerial View Satellite Image File Photo, adapted from image at jpl.nasa.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Valerie Stivers – August 10, 2017) [Text with photos bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-08-10/moscow-s-makeover-swaps-soviet-grit-for-urban-sparkle] Moscow felt medieval when I first arrived almost 20 years ago, in January 1998, seeking adventure. There were few billboards, advertisements, or shop windows filled with merchandise. The women working at my local producti, or small grocery store, wore shawls, had moles and wens, and weighed […]

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NEWSLINK: Sean’s Russia Blog Podcast: “Retrospective on Stalinism [with Sheila Fitzpatrick, Sean Guillory]”

Joseph Stalin file photo

“… Sheila Fitzpatrick is Bernadotte E. Schmitt Distinguished Service Professor Emerita at the University of Chicago and a Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney. She’s the author numerous books and articles on Soviet history including A Spy in the Archives: A Memoir of Cold War Russia; Tear off the Masks! Identity and Imposture in Twentieth-Century Russia; The Russian Revolution; […]

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NEWSWATCH: “THE LOST ARCHIVE OF MAJOR MARTIN MANHOFF” – Douglas Smith/ Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

File Photo of Reel of Film

“… In early 1952, Martin and Jan moved to the Soviet Union, where he was to serve as assistant military attaché in the US Embassy, then located directly across from the Kremlin on Mokhovaya Street. They remained there for two years when Martin was expelled from the USSR on espionage charges. The couple returned to Washington state …. Martin died […]

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NEWSLINK: “We Need to Stop Using Russia as a Political Football; From Nixon to Trump, there have always been long-term risks in exploiting foreign policy for domestic political gain” – The Nation/ Vadim Nikitin

Leonid Brezhnev and Richard Nixon Sitting and Talking, as Nixon Gestures, with Third Man Standing and Leaning Closely Between Them

“By voting in new sanctions against Russia, Congress torpedoed the White House’s dream of rapprochement with the Kremlin. Yet its real target was not a foreign foe but an unpopular Republican president threatened by impeachment over alleged electoral manipulation. With the commander in chief dogged by perceived softness on Moscow and crippled by plummeting approval ratings, Congress chose foreign policy […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Villages, and Their Way of Life, Are ‘Melting Away'” – New York Times/ NEIL MacFARQUHAR

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“… With Russia’s natural population growth entering an extended period of decline, villages like Baruta are disappearing from across the country’s continental expanse. * * * Russia’s demographic problem dates back at least 100 years, to the upheaval of the 1917 revolution, followed by Stalin’s purges in the 1930s. Both events curbed population growth, foreshadowing the devastating impact of World […]

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NEWSWATCH: “DID RUSSIA KILL A U.S. PRESIDENT? NEW CIA DOCUMENTS REVEAL SPY’S THEORY ABOUT JFK’S DEATH” – Newsweek/ TOM O’CONNOR

John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy and Other Parties in Open-Air Limousine On Street Just Before Assassination, With Crowd in Background, adapted from image at archives.gov

“The U.S. government released Monday a large trove of documents pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, including previously top-secret audio files and transcripts of the CIA interrogating a former Soviet spy who claimed to have intimate knowledge about the killer’s connection to Moscow.  In accordance with the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which mandates that […]

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