Washington

London

Moscow

Novosibirsk

Vladivostok

Archive for History, Soviet Union

Russian Ruble’s 800-Year History Haunts Current Plunge

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – December 11, 2014) Sergei Sorokoumov has devoted the last quarter of a century to an attempt to raise Russian’s pride in the ruble, the country’s national currency since the 13th century. Recently Sorokoumov’s efforts seem to have become a thankless task. The Russian currency has lost over

Moscow Times: Theory Blaming West for Collapse of Soviet Union Gaining in Popularity, Poll Shows

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 3, 2014) More Russians blame the collapse of the Soviet Union on a “conspiracy” of hostile Western forces than seven years ago, in a sign the wave of anti-Western state media coverage unleashed during the Ukraine crisis is influencing Russians’ view of the past. A report published Monday by

Historian on Spies and ‘Sosedki’ in Soviet 1960s

Stylized Artis Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Aliide Naylor – December 2, 2014) Historian Sheila Fitzpatrick first arrived in Russia as an Oxford student at the end of the 1960s. Before she and other students went, they had a meeting. “We were all summoned to the [British] Foreign Office to have a briefing. … We were taken

De-Stalinization Hasn’t Been Completed in Russia, Lukin Says

Joseph Stalin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 23, 2014) De-Stalinization will have occurred not when everyone denounces Stalin in a chorus at the direction of the state but rather when each person can assess him in his or her own way and have debates about him, Vladimir Lukin says. Unfortunately, Russia has not

Don’t speak, memory: Voice against Stalin’s crimes may soon be silenced

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Oleg Yegorov, special to RBTH – November 21, 2014) Russia’s supreme court is preparing to examine the lawsuit filed by the Ministry of Justice requesting to liquidate Memorial, Russia’s first organization dedicated to preserving the memory of Stalin’s repressions and victims. RBTH reports on who else is telling

The difficulty of “Restoring Names” of the oppressed in today’s Russia

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Julia Reed in Moscow – November 12, 2014) Crimes? What crimes? In 1997, the then prime minister of Sweden, Goran Persson, heard on the radio the results of a survey that Swedish youth knew next to nothing about the Holocaust. Outraged by the finding, he got the support of

Re: Churchill and War with USSR

Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin and Crowd of Military Officers

Subject: Churchill and War with USSR Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2014 From: Jake Kipp <jacobkipp@cs.com> In May 1945 before he knew about the atomic bomb, Churchill asked the British General Staff under Field Marshal Alan Brooke to do a study of a possible war between attacking British, US, German, and Polish forces against the USSR

Putin’s Valdai Speech Echoes Not Churchill’s at Fulton but Hitler’s at Berchtesgaden, Illarionov Says

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 9, 2014) Some Moscow commentators have compared Vladimir Putin’s speech to the Valdai Club meeting in to Winston Churchill’s 1946 “Iron Curtain” speech at Fulton, Missouri, but the Kremlin leader’s remarks in fact are far closer to those delivered by Adolf Hitler to Neville Chamberlain at

Russians Dream of ‘Soviet Empire without Communists,’ Commentators Say

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 8, 2014) What Russians now have in the Russian Federation is a Soviet system without communism and its administrative arrangements, and what they dream of is “a Soviet empire without communists,” an entity not equivalent to the tsarist empire as some think but one that reflects

Interfax: Russians see historic significance of fall of Berlin Wall in Germany’s reunion – poll

Map of Germany

MOSCOW. Nov 10 (Interfax) – An overwhelming majority of Russians (85%) know that the Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago, in November 1989, while 13% learned about the fact from the Public Opinion Foundation during a poll. Thirty-eight percent of the 1,500 respondents polled in 43 regions in November thought that the historic significance of

Russia Reenacts WWII March After Putin Defends Nazi Pact

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – November 7, 2014) Russian troops marched in Red Square to commemorate a World War II parade held under the noses of German invaders in 1941 two days after President Vladimir Putin defended a 1939 non-aggression pact with Hitler. Six thousand soldiers and cadets accompanied by World War II-era

Stalin Invented Hybrid War, Not Vladimir Putin, Archival Record Shows

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 4, 2014) One of the most frequently invoked explanations for the inability of leaders to cope with a challenge is that it is something fundamentally new that they could not have been expected to recognize, understand, and know precisely how to respond. That has been the

Victims of Stalinist repressions remembered at Moscow ceremony

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – October 30, 2014) Every year on October 30, Russia marks the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repression. The day before, on October 29, a day-long demonstration called ‘The Return of the Names’ is held in Moscow, where people gather on Lubyanka

Half of Russians Expect Repeat of Soviet-Era Repression, Poll Says

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – October 30, 2014) Nearly half of all Russians believe that a return to Soviet-era repression is possible within their lifetime, a poll by the state-run Public Opinion Foundation revealed Wednesday. The poll, titled “Mass Repression in the Soviet Union,” examined the public’s perceptions and interpretations of Soviet-era

Red Square Exhibit Sheds New Light on Soviet Cult of Lenin

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Kevin O’Flynn – October 28, 2014) [Photos here themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/leniniana-returns-to-red-square-to-dispel-myth-of-beloved-leader/510079.html] Everyone knew what was in the redbrick 19th-century building by Red Square in Soviet times. It was the Lenin Museum, the home – together with the nearby mausoleum – of the Lenin cult, to which a visit was a rite of

Kremlin-Run Generational Change in Regime Reproducing Soviet-Era Nomenklatura, Pastukhov Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 14, 2014) A revolution is taking place in Russia, but it is not in the streets but in the halls of government where the Putin regime is bringing into positions of power a new generation of officials who are more like the Soviet-era nomenklatura than like

Moscow Times: Ex-Soviet President Gorbachev Says ‘Disunity’ With Russia Weakens Europe

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 16, 2014) Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev has called on Russia and the West to put an end to their war of words and retaliatory sanctions over Ukraine and discuss a practical solution to the crisis. “How can you conduct a dialogue if you ‘punish’ the people in power

Interfax: Europeans may have ancestors in Siberia – Russian Academy of Sciences

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

(Interfax – October 14, 2014) A comparison of genomes of ancient Europeans and people living in contemporary countries has shown that a Siberian tribe is an ancestor of modern Europeans, said Olga Posukh, senior research fellow of the human molecular genetics laboratory of the Cytology and Genetics Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences’ Siberian branch.

Honored Burials, Mass Grave for Theater Greats

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – October 13, 2014) Yury Lyubimov once told me about meeting the great director Vsevolod Meyerhold. This happened in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1987. I paid Lyubimov a visit to talk about his old friend, the playwright Nikolai Erdman, but the conversation, naturally and fortunately, took plenty of detours.

Down with Lenin!

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

As they are toppled one after another in cities across the country, statues of Lenin are becoming an endangered species in Ukraine. But Lenin the political symbol is still alive and kicking. (opendemocracy.net – LEONID RAGOZIN – October 13, 2014) Inside a granite pyramid on Red Square, in front of the Kremlin wall, lies the

Nazi death squad leader: The musical

Map of Latvia and Environs

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – BALTIC BLOG: Mike Collier in Riga – October 9, 2014) If you are constantly battling to try and disprove Russian claims that your state is essentially neo-Nazi, it doesn’t help if an evening of musical entertainment then pops up giving Nazi death squads the razzle-dazzle of a Broadway musical.

RIA Novosti: Former Soviet Leader Gorbachev Out of Hospital, Back at Work

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

MOSCOW, October 10 (RIA Novosti) – Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev told RIA Novosti on Friday that he has left hospital and is back at work. “Now I am out of hospital,” Gorbachev said. Answering a question about how he is feeling, the former Soviet leader stated that “well” would be an overstatement. “If I

Business New Europe: Lenin again! Lenin statue to be re-erected after toppling in Kharkiv

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Business New Europe – October 2, 2014) Kharkiv authorities have said they will re-erect the central square statue of Vladimir Lenin that was toppled by pro-Ukraine activists. Kharkiv deputy head Ihor Terekhov said that “understanding the illegality of the monument’s toppling, the city authorities have ordered scaffolding to be put in place around the pedestal

We have made today’s Frankenstein with our own hands

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Maxim Kantor – September 29, 2014) Maxim Kantor is a painter, novelist and playwright. His latest novel V tu storonu (In that direction), which explores the parallel between the financial crisis and a malignant tumour, will be published in Russia shortly. When communism ended, Russia’s people wanted democracy. Instead, they got the market

Another Lenin Down, but How Many More Remain?

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 29, 2014) The demolition of the statue of Lenin in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv has attracted international attention, with some seeing this as a provocation by one or another side in the war in Ukraine and others viewing it as an indication of the maturation

Re: South shore of the Kola peninsula

Map of Russia

Subject: South shore of the Kola peninsual Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2014 14:09:31 -0500 From: William Brumfield <william.brumfield@gmail.com> David, below is announcement for the latest in my RBTH series. A stunning part of northwest Russia. Regards, William —— My current article for Russia beyond the Headlines is devoted to the south shore of the Kola

When literature came under state control: 80 years since the First Congress of Soviet Writers

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – August 27, 2014) When literature came under state control: 80 years since the First Congress of Soviet Writers When the First Congress of Soviet Writers opened on Aug. 17, 1934 in Moscow, it marked a watershed in Soviet literature. The artistic freedom that had characterized the turbulent 1920s was

Opposition Must Admit Most Russians Were Deceived about What 1991 Meant, Eidman Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 20, 2014) “It is time to acknowledge the responsibility of the successful minority before the 90 percent of [Russian] citizens, whose hopes for a better future were deceived” following the collapse of the Soviet system, and for that minority to make changes “in the interests of

Interfax: Poll: Russians say Aug 1991 events are tragedy, not triumph of democracy

File Photo of Parliament Building Billowing Smoke in 1993

(Interfax – August 19, 2014) A relative majority of Russians (41 percent) see the August 19, 1991, putsch in the former Soviet Union as a tragedy which had harmful implications for the country and its people. The number has grown 14 percent in the past 20 years, from 27 percent in 1994, the Levada Center

The collapse of the Soviet Union: What was it — the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century or simply a major disaster?

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

Subject: The collapse of the Soviet Union: What was it — the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century or simply a major disaster? [Adomeit’s second note] Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2014 From: Hannes Adomeit (hannes.adomeit@t-online.de) The collapse of the Soviet Union: What was it — the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century or

AW: 2014-#166-Johnson’s Russia List [Adomeit’s first note][re: editorial policies, Putin, Soviet collapse, translation]

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Subject: AW: 2014-#166-Johnson’s Russia List [Adomeit’s first note] Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 From: Hannes Adomeit (hannes.adomeit@t-online.de) From a senior German Russia expert: I completely agree with the observation expressed in yesterday’s issue of the senior U.S. official and the senior U.S. academic about JRL’s loss of impartiality. The bias is also amply reflected in

language, again [re: Putin and Soviet collapse, translation]

Vladimir Putin file photo

Subject: language, again Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 From: Harley D. Balzer <balzerh@georgetown.edu> Patrick Armstrong issued a major attack on Aslund’s characterization of Putin’s comment about the destruction of the Soviet Union. He states: So it is now perhaps time to see what it was that Putin actually said. Here it is: first in Russian,

“Krupneyshaya katastrofa” translation

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Subject: “Krupneyshaya katastrofa” translation Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2014 From: Serge Markov <semar1@comcast.net> On the matter of Putin’s 2005 characterization of the fall of the Soviet Union, any educated native Russian speaker will tell you that krupneyshaya katastrofa can be rendered either as “a major” or as “the greatest catastrophe” depending on context. Methinks the

Debate over Putin quote on the Soviet collapse

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

Subject: Debate over Putin quote on the Soviet collapse Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:29:30 -0400 From: Steve Shabad <steve.shabad@verizon.net> As a Russian-English translator for my entire adult life (almost half a century), I feel compelled to weigh in on the debate between Anders Aslund and Patrick Armstrong over the famous Putin quote on the

Moscow Times: How & Why Russia Forgot The Great War

Romanov Family Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – August 1, 2014) Russia lost 3 million people in World War I. But it also provided examples of explosive military strength and economic resilience that would make any nation proud. And yet, though the 100th anniversary of the war – which Russia joined on Aug. 1, 1914

[Patrick Armstrong: re: Putin, Soviet Geopolitical Disaster:] DEADLY QUOTATIONS PART 2

Vladimir Putin file photo

From: Patrick Armstrong (gpa@magma.ca) Sent: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 Subject: DEADLY QUOTATIONS PART 2 A number of people have challenged my (and the official Kremlin translators’) choice of “a major” for “krupneyshey” in Putin’s famous sentence “Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century.” I stand by

[Anders Åslund: re: Putin, Soviet Geopolitical Disaster:] RE: 2014-#166-Johnson’s Russia List/Patrick Armstrong

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

Subject: RE: 2014-#166-Johnson’s Russia List/Patrick Armstrong Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 19:31:4 From: Anders Aslund <AAslund@PIIE.COM> Dear David, Absurdly, Patrick Armstrong attacks me (JRL 166 #6) for translating Putin’s words “крушение Советского Союза было крупнейшей геополитической катастрофой века” with the words “the collapse of the Soviet Union was the biggest geopolitical disaster of the century.”

Putin’s ‘Russian Spring’ Idea was Invented by Russian Fascists in 1920s

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 30, 2014) Commentators in Moscow and the West ever more frequently draw parallels between Vladimir Putin’s ideas and actions and those of fascist regimes in the first part of the 20th century, but few have focused on the fact that one of the Kremlin leader’s most-cherished

Interfax: Most Russians don’t hate WWII foes of Soviet Union – poll

Battle of Stalingrad file photo

MOSCOW. June 20 (Interfax) – Most Russians know WWII foes of the former Soviet Union but do not hate them. Yet a half blames the enemies for the deaths of millions of people, Levada Center told Interfax. The top five WWII allies of the Soviet Union mentioned by respondents in 130 populated localities in 45

Russia To Test Migrant Workers On Country’s History

Migrant Workers file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Farangis Najibullah and Umid Bobomatov – June 13, 2014) So you want to work in Russia? You may be a skilled bricklayer — but do you know when Ivan the Terrible reined in the boyars? Or when the Polish-Lithuanian forces were expelled from Muscovy? When Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg? No? Well

Oligarchic Capitalism Blamed for Loss of Russia’s Position in Former Soviet Republics

Map of Former Soviet Union

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 12, 2014) The Russian Federation, by focusing on the construction of “oligarchic capitalism,” essentially “threw all the union republics” to their own fates, and as a result, the governments and peoples have turned away from Moscow and ethnic Russians are fleeing back to Russia, thus further

As Putin Pursues Imperial Goals, Fewer Russians Regret End of USSR

Map of Former Soviet Union

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 11, 2014) Even as Vladimir Putin pursues what many see as an effort to restore an empire centered on Moscow, polls show that ever fewer Russians regret the end of the Soviet Union – something the Kremlin leader has said was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of

D-Day at 70: Russia’s role in opening up the Western front

D-Day Cemetery file photos

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – John Naughton, special to RBTH – June 5, 2014) By weakening the German army and keeping it occupied on the Eastern Front, Soviet Russia prepared for the way for the Allied success of D-Day in the West. The retired Royal Navy cruiser the HMS Belfast fired its six-round

‘Donkey Heart’ Shows Soviet Past Behind Family Turmoil

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Elizabeth Kaplunov – May 27, 2014) As the Soviet Union fades from the memories of the youngest generations of Russians, it still underpins the consciousness of their parents. The play “Donkey Heart,” written by Moses Raine and directed by his sister Nina Raine, focuses on the psychological setup of a

The collapse of the USSR and the illusion of progress

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

(opendemocracy.net – John Weeks – May 26, 2014) John Weeks is Professor Emeritus, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, and author of ‘Economics of the 1%: How mainstream economics serves the rich, obscures reality and distorts policy’, Anthem Press, published earlier this year. The collapse of the USSR was the occasion for

Interfax: Russians get ready to celebrate Victory Day – poll

Battle of Stalingrad file photo

MOSCOW. May 7 (Interfax) – Victory Day is one of the most significant holidays for Russian citizens, which is widely supported by people, Levada Center sociologists said citing the results of many years of polls provided to Interfax. According to the information of sociologists, in the past years the majority of Russian citizens, 70-72%, celebrate

Mass Grave in Moscow Suburbs is Among Russia’s Holiest Sites

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Annin – May 7, 2014) On May 10, the Russian Orthodox Church will hold its annual special service in the Church of New Martyrs and Confessors in Butovo, a little-known site that is home to Russia’s largest collection of holy relics. In the forest near old Butovo, about 5

The abuse of history in the Ukrainian crisis

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(opendemocracy.net – Marco Siddi – May 5, 2014) Marco Siddi is a DAAD fellow and research associate at the Institute for European Politics in Berlin. Previously, he held a Marie Curie Fellowship at the universities of Edinburgh and Cologne, where he is completing his doctoral dissertation. His research focuses on relations between Russia, the European

Creative Unions Seen to Back Kremlin Views

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov – April 28, 2014) Last week, the State Duma gave its final approval to a bill introducing criminal penalties for “spreading lies” about the Soviet Union’s role in World War II. The legislation, under which offenders face up to five years in prison, has prompted renewed allegations that

Apparatchik Apartments: Behind the facades of the House on the Embankment

Back side of House on Embankment (central part), view from Patriarshy Bridge pedestrian walkway, from Wikimedia Commons, user NVO, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moscow,_House_on_Embankment_back_side.jpg

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dmitriy Romendik, RBTH – April 16, 2014) This huge apartment block across the river from the Kremlin is one of the enduring symbols of the Stalin era. In the 1930s the apartments inside were allocated only to senior officials and the Soviet elite, but when many of them

Switch to mobile version