‘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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Talk of restoring monarchy in Russia premature – Maria Romanova

Romanov Family Photo

MOSCOW. Nov 16 (Interfax) – Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Romanova, the head of the Russian Imperial Family, said she hopes to move to Russia soon and believes that it is “not yet the time” for the restoration of monarchy. “I really hope for that [move to Russia]. I am often asked [about the fact] that I live in Spain, but […]

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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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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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NEWSWATCH: “The most controversial, anticipated film in years is coming soon to Russia. What’s it actually about? [Re: ‘Matilda’]” – Meduza/ Anton Dolin/ translation Kevin Rothrock

File Photo of Reel of Film

“When it comes to cultural scandals in contemporary Russia, it’s hard to find anything so controversial as “Matilda,” a new film by Alexey Uchitel about the love affair between Nicholas Romanov, when he was still heir to the tsarist empire, and Matilda Kshesinskaya, a celebrated ballerina …. A campaign against the movie has raged for almost a year … * * […]

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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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‘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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Russia’s wild decade: how memories of the 1990s are changing; A time of freedom and survival, memories of Russia’s first post-Soviet decade have come to divide people. The editors of a new collection on the 1990s share their thoughts.

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(opendemocracy.net – Thomas Rowley – September 15, 2017) Tom Rowley is Lead Editor at oDR. He is currently finishing a PhD on Soviet dissent at the University of Cambridge. Check out the latest in our Unlikely Media series, which profiles independent (and independently-minded) publications from across the post-Soviet space. As part of this series, we interview editors who are trying […]

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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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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Celebrations of Moscow’s 870th anniversary” – KremlinRu

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 9, 2017) Vladimir Putin congratulated Moscow residents on the city’s 870th anniversary. The President attended a concert in Red Square and congratulated Moscow residents and guests on the 870th anniversary of the city’s founding. Speech at gala concert in Red Square marking Moscow’s 870th anniversary. Russian President Vladimir Putin: Muscovites, visitors to the city, Mr Prime Minister, […]

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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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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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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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Americans in the USSR: Changing Hearts and Minds in the Midst of the Cold War (excerpt)

Stylized Russian and U.S. Flags, 200, 1807-2007

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Izabella Tabarovsky, Senior Associate, Manager for Regional Engagement at The Kennan Institute – July 24, 2017) This blog is a short version of a Wilson Quarterly article Walking in Each Other’s Shoes: wilsonquarterly.com/quarterly/the-lasting-legacy-of-the-cold-war/walking-in-each-others-shoes-through-the-iron-curtain-and-back/ For interview excerpts with the guides, please see and “A Tribe of the Exhibit People: American Guides Recall Soviet Journey”: wilsonquarterly.com/quarterly/the-lasting-legacy-of-the-cold-war/a-tribe-of-exhibit-people-american-guides-recall-soviet-journey/ In my […]

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For the Chekists, Navalny is the Yeltsin of 1987, Portnikov says

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – July 22, 2017) Many have forgotten that in May 1987, Boris Yeltsin, then head of the Moscow city committee of the CPSU, received representatives of the chauvinist and anti-Semitic Pamyat organization, thus sending a signal that he was someone the KGB and its allies could count on to defend their interests, Vitaly Portnikov […]

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Interfax: Distortion of history always used as anti-Russian weapon – Putin

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

GUBKIN, Belgorod region. July 14 (Interfax) – The distortion of history as a way of fighting Russia has been used always, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “As for the distortion of our history – that, as you know, has existed almost always. Throughout our whole history,” Putin said at a meeting with workers at the Lebedinsky GOK iron ore mining […]

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Putin Offers Revisionist Spin on Ivan the Terrible

File Image of Ivan the Terrible Etching, adapted from image at loc.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 17, 2017) Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced support for an alternative version of the history of Ivan the Terrible, last week, in which the first Russian tsar did not kill his son. At a meeting with workers of the Lebedinsky Mining and Processing Company, Putin said the version in which first Russian tsar killed […]

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Could Putin Be Ousted the Way Khrushchev Was – and for the Same Reason?

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 11, 2017) Most Russians today associate Nikita Khrushchev with the thaw, de-Stalinization, and the opening of more comfortable five-story apartment blocks; but they did to forget that he was removed from power by his colleagues because he ran the country in a hands on way, intervening in some of the smallest […]

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NEWSLINK: “EDELSTEIN IN MOSCOW” – Jerusalem Post

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“… Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein made history in Moscow yesterday. For one of the former USSR’s most famous refuseniks – Prisoners of Zion – to address Russia’s parliament 30 years after his release from the Siberian gulag is nothing less than another Russian Revolution vis-a-vis world Jewry. …”

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NEWSLINK: “The Remains of the Romanovs; Nearly a century after Czar Nicholas and his family were murdered, their fate still haunts Russia” – New York Times/ Anastasia Edel

Romanov Family Photo

“On July 17, 1918, as the White Army advanced toward Red-held territory around Yekaterinburg in Siberia, 12 armed Bolsheviks ushered a group of 11 exiles into a basement of a merchant’s mansion once known as Ipatiev House, now the House of Special Purpose. The youngest in the party, a sickly 13-year-old named Aleksei, had to be carried by his father, […]

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World War II Continues to Have Demographic Impact on Russia, Vishnevsky Says

Battle of Stalingrad file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 4, 2017) The periodic increases and current decrease in the number of births in Russia reflects the third echo of World War II, Anatoly Vishnevsky says, with the low number of births in 1943 leading to demographic declines approximately every 25 years thereafter. The current decline is almost precisely 75 years […]

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Moscow Media Report that West Wants to Dismember Russia Dismissed by Russian Experts

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 26, 2017) On Saturday, a Russian television program featured a claim by an unnamed Russian intelligence officer that NATO viewed the destruction of the USSR as “only the first step” and then planned “to create a Middle Volga Republic” in order to reduce “all of Russia to the size and power […]

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Summer 2017 reading on Russia: 5 must-read books for those who seek to understand the country’s past and its present

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

By Pavel Koshkin (pkoshkin.russia.direct@gmail.com). Pavel Koshkin is a contributor for Forbes-Russia magazine and the deputy editor of International Desk at RBC Daily, a Russian independent newspaper. He is the former editor-in-chief of Russia Direct, an English-language analytical media outlet that suspended its activity due to various challenges. With Russia celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Revolution, here are five […]

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Not ‘Constrained by Communism’ – Why Putin is a Greater Threat than Brezhnev Ever Was

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 3, 2017) Some years ago, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who later became president of Estonia, suggested that “if the Russians were to come back to Estonia again, they would not be constrained by communism.” That is, they would pursue an even more repressive Russian nationalist agenda there than had the Soviet Union […]

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Bridging the Red-White Divide Is a Home Run for Putin

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

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – May 30, 2017) Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti, has been following Russian economy and politics since the late 1990s. He has served as an opinion page editor for Vedomosti and editor and correspondent for the newspaper Kapita In an event infused with historical and moral […]

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A Message to Putin From 42 Million Dead; The Soviet Union’s World War II losses may far exceed the official count.

Battle of Stalingrad file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 10, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. According to official data, more than 800,000 people in Moscow alone, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, took part in Tuesday’s march to commemorate their ancestors’ participation […]

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