Memorial publishes on its site list of almost 40,000 NKVD officials from 1935-1941

Joseph Stalin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 24 (Interfax) – A database of almost 40,000 NKVD officials of the ‘Great Terror’ era was published on the website of the Memorial society, the organization told Interfax. “Access to A. N. Zhukov’s directory ‘Personnel of the State Security Bodies of the USSR. 1935-1939’ has been opened on the Memorial website,” Yan Rachinsky, co-chairman of the human rights […]

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NEWSLINK Irrussianality/Paul Robinson: “A DIRE WARNING” [Re: Tsarist Russia]

Romanov Family Photo

“… In autumn 1916, as the political situation in the Russian Empire worsened, the Chief of Staff of the Russian Army, General M.V. Alekseev, penned a letter to Tsar Nicholas II, in which he wrote: Your Imperial Majesty, I consider the minute has come when I am obliged to report the true state of affairs to You. The whole rear […]

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The roots of Russia’s atomised mourning; Post-Soviet people have spent two decades mourning a society that never existed.

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Kirill Kobrin – November 14, 2016) Kirill Kobrin is a writer, historian and journalist. He is an editor of the Russian intellectual journal Neprikosnovennyi zapas, and is the author of 20 books and numerous publications in the Russian, German and Latvian press. He lives in London. This is the third in a series of essays by Kirill Kobrin […]

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Russia Today Far More Dangerous than USSR Was and West Far Less Ready to Counter It, Analysts Say

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 4, 2016) Russia under Vladimir Putin is far more dangerous to the West than the Soviet Union ever was, two Russian analysts argue; and the West for the moment at least is far less capable of dealing with the challenges and threats the Kremlin leader now poses, according to a third. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin and Patriarch Kirill at] Monument to Vladimir the Great opened in Moscow on Unity Day

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Kremlin.ru – November 4, 2016) Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia opened a monument to the Holy Great Prince Vladimir, Equal of the Apostles, and Christianiser of Russia, on Borovitskaya Square. The monument was erected at the initiative of the Russian Military-Historical Society and the Moscow City Government. It was sculpted by Salavat Shcherbakov, People’s Artist […]

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Putin’s Stalin Envy

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Outdoor Rally with Microphone in Hand and Heavy Coat

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore -October 11, 2016) Vladimir Putin isn’t necessarily afraid of Josef Stalin, but he’s clearly haunted by him. He’s haunted by him because he knows he can never replicate Stalin’s accomplishments. He’s haunted by him because Stalin represents a standard Putin knows he can never live up to. Stalin resurrected the disintegrated Russian Empire in […]

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The Three Kinds of Stalinists in Putin’s Russia Don’t Include Any Real Ones, Malashenko Says

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 10, 2016) Russians may say that they have a positive view of Stalin – according to polls, more than half now do – but, despite the Kremlin’s promotion of the need for “a strong hand,’ there are no real Stalinists among them because both the state and society have changed and […]

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The Ghosts Of Kremlins Past — Lenin

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore- October 10, 2016) Vladimir Vladimirovich is afraid of Vladimir Ilyich. Vladimir Putin is terrified of Vladimir Lenin. He’s afraid of how Lenin came to power. He’s afraid of how he led a street uprising that toppled an empire. And he’s afraid that a 21st-century Lenin could be lurking in the shadows. This isn’t about […]

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Russians’ Incomplete Transition from Rural to Urban Life behind Many of Russia’s Problems, Vishnevsky Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 6, 2016) During the 20th century, large numbers of #Russians moved from villages to the cities, but as of now, many of them have not completed the psychological transition from rural to urban life; and that has given rise to marginal groups who represent a threat to the country, according to […]

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Putin Making the Same Mistake Hitler Did, Piontkovsky Says

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 4, 2016) After meeting with the leaders of Britain and France, Adolf Hitler concluded that he was dealing with non-entities and that he couldn’t possibly lose a war against them, forgetting not only that these countries could and would change leaders but also that the outcome of conflicts reflects not just […]

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Former Prime Minister to Become Putin’s Right-Hand Man

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman – September 29, 2016) Boris Yeltsin reportedly first spotted Sergei Kiriyenko, then a young businessman from Nizhny Novgorod, during a boat trip on the Volga River in July 1994. Nearly four years later, Yeltsin would shock the political establishment by appointing him prime minister. Plucked from relative obscurity at the age of just […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List :: Fred Weir Retrospective 1999-2016 :: Tuesday, 13 September 2016

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

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: Fred Weir Retrospective (Christian Science Monitor) Tuesday, 13 September 2016 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at […]

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Putin’s Iron Grip, Forged in the Fires of Terrorism

Kremlin and River

(Stratfor.com – Lauren Goodrich – September 4, 2016) Sept. 4 marks Russia’s Day of Solidarity, a remembrance of two brutal terrorist incidents: the start of an apartment bombing campaign in 1999 and the bloody end of a siege at a Beslan school in 2004. Much as the 9/11 attacks changed the national psyche of the United States, those events altered […]

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Re: Putin as Complex as he is Predictable

Putin Descending a Staircase

Subject: Re Putin as Complex as he is Predictable Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2016 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> (Andrew Liakhov, a doctor of law, a solicitor of England and Wales, is a retired senior officer in the Russian military intelligence senior … and was a senior member of President Gorbachev’s Administration). I totally agree with Professor Herspring’s assessment of Washington’s […]

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Stories of a Soviet Studier: My Experiences in Russia

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Subject: Stories of a Soviet Studier: My Experiences in Russia Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2016 From: Stephen D. Shenfield <sshenfield@verizon.net> [New Book: Stories of a Soviet Studier: My Experiences in Russia] I recently published an e-book on Amazon Kindle entitled ‘Stories of a Soviet Studier: My Experiences in Russia’: https://www.amazon.com/Stories-Soviet-Studier-Experiences-Studies-ebook/dp/B01EBG3RIA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1460977096&sr=1-1&keywords=shenfield My summary This is a collection of stories about personal […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Chance to Change History” – Stratfor

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Twenty-five years ago, an unsuccessful coup attempt, known as the August Coup, was launched by a group of hawkish Communist Party members and security elites against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, in what was widely seen as one of the key moments that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. * * * A keen student of history, Vladimir Putin […]

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What Happened To The August 1991 Soviet Coup Plotters?

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Ron Synovitz – August 19, 2016) Eleven hard-liners in the Soviet government, military, Communist Party, and #KGB were named in a Russian court as the organizers of the failed August 1991 coup against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. They included the so-called “Gang of Eight” that had placed Gorbachev under house arrest — a short-lived, self-declared provisional […]

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Kremlin Propaganda Exploiting Five American Vulnerabilities, Kirillova Says

Satellite Dishes

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 13, 2016) Lenin said that Marxism was powerful because it was true; his successors in the Kremlin have been as successful with their propaganda as they have been because they carefully tailor their messages and techniques to whatever audiences they hope to influence. One of the most damning indications of this […]

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Lack of Solidarity Among Russian Opposition an Ominous Echo of 1937, Pavlova Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 27, 2016) The reaction of many Russian opposition figures to the arrest of corrupt figures today eerily and ominously echoes the reaction of many ordinary Soviet citizens to the arrest and then execution of many corrupt officials in the late 1930s, according to Irina Pavlova, a US-based Russian historian. And the […]

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Five Rules for Living Through and Looking Beyond the Putin Stagnation

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Those who lived through the Brezhnev stagnation, commentator Dmitry Gubin says, know that “when the chances for change for the better don’t exist, one must particularly carefully filter information and choose one’s strategy of behavior.” Now, Russia is in another such period, and to help them, he offers five […]

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Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest

EU Map

Subject: Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2016 13:27:00 -0400 From: Ira Straus (IRASTRAUS@aol.com) The argumentative thrust of Putin’s Russia is friendly to Brexit. Indeed, it propagandizes for the most extreme parties of the far Right in Europe, coupled with providing financial sponsorship for them and some organizational support. This creates a resemblance to […]

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Russia Might Not Be a Failed State But It is a Failed Country, Shtepa Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Staunton, June 14, 2016) The fact that Russians devote so little attention to their independence day even as they devote so much to Victory Day, Vadim Shtepa says, highlights a fundamental reality: Russia may not be a failed state according to the classic definitions, but it is a failed country, one that has not been able to […]

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VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT: The Baltics Remember, Russia Forgets

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

(RFE/RL – The Daily Vertical: Brian Whitmore – June 15, 2016) [Video further below] Seventy-five years ago this week, an ethnic cleansing campaign began. Seventy-five years ago this week, tens of thousands of people were uprooted from their homes, from their lives, and from their families. Seventy-five years ago this week — when the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were […]

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Russia Remains a Byzantine State and that May Doom It, ‘Gazeta’ Editors Say

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 1, 2016) The photographs of Vladimir Putin sitting on what many falsely supposed was the throne of Byzantine emperors have prompted many to laugh but others to note that “Russia even today in many ways remains an heir of the Byzantine empire,” according to the editors of Moscow’s “Gazeta.” Russians “borrowed […]

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RBTH: The Georgian on their mind: Why Russians still approve of Stalin

Joseph Stalin file photo

Public opinion surveys show that today support for Stalin in Russia is the highest it has been since the fall of the Soviet Union. More than half of Russians believe that he played a positive role in the history of the country and the Communist Party is even planning to use the image of the Soviet leader in the next […]

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Degradation of Russian Elites Underlies Russia’s Decline, Pastukhov Says

Russia Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 24, 2016) “The thinning out of the Russian ‘cultural stratum’ and, as a result, the degradation of elites who have turned out to be incapable of responding to new historical challenges,” Vladimir Pastukhov says, is the underlying cause of the current decline of the country. All other causes, technological, societal and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine defeated Russia – at Eurovision. Here’s why that matters.” – Washington Post/Robert Seely

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

… [the] Russian regime was musically mugged at the Eurovision Song Contest by Susana Jamaladinova — known as Jamala — a Crimean Tatar who won by singing about Moscow’s oppression of her kin. … About 200 million viewers watched Jamala perform “1944,’ an emotional lament that mixes Turkish-style harmonies with a cool, Western beat and tells how the Soviet Union deported Tatars from their […]

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A Euro ‘vision’ of discord: The reaction from Russia and Ukraine

Joseph Stalin file photo

Eurovision, Europe’s most popular song contest, has pitted Russia against Ukraine. The winning song and the results of the jury have prompted considerable commentary in both countries, turning an apolitical show into yet another frontline in an ongoing media war. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – May 17, 2016) The Eurovision 2016 winning […]

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Eurovision meets its Waterloo as Russia-Ukraine rivalry takes center stage

Joseph Stalin file photo

While Russian officials lost no time in lashing out over Ukraine’s Eurovision victory with a song about the Stalinist deportations of the Crimean Tatars, the results of the public vote suggest that Russia-Ukrainian enmity doesn’t extend to the general public. But the overtly political nature of the winning song may mark a watershed for the competition. (Russia Beyond the Headlines […]

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What to tell our children; The head of RBTH’s English desk tries to put into words what for her is important about the May 9 holiday, the legacy of World War II and what it means to future generations.

Battle of Stalingrad file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLGA VLASOVA, RBTH – May 9, 2016) Ever since I became an adult I always spend the morning of May 9 according to the same routine. I wake up early while everyone is still in bed and watch a couple of old Soviet films about how boys and girls lived and died in […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “What does Victory Day mean for Russia after Ukraine and Syria? Today Russians look at Victory Day through the lens of the war in Ukraine and the Kremlin’s Syria military operation. However, it might bring about three negative implications both for Russia and the world.”

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In the Flesh: Russian Scientists Work to Preserve Lenin’s Corpse

Lenin Mausoleum on Red Square, Kremlin Walls

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – May 5, 2016) He lies in a glass sarcophagus. His eyes are closed, reddish beard and mustache trimmed, and his hands rest calmly on his thighs. Dressed in an austere black suit, Vladimir Lenin, the first Soviet leader, looks, on first impressions, to be sleeping. His image is so lifelike that it […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with members of Legislators’ Council

Tauride Palace file photo - adapted from image © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons

(Kremlin.ru – April 29, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Federal Assembly’s Council of Legislators timed for the Day of Russian Parliamentarianism and the 110th anniversary of Russia’s first State Duma. The meeting at the Tauride Palace is attended by Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin and speakers of regional parliaments. President […]

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Atomic energy and political power in Russia

Nuclear Plant File Photo

In Russia, the space for environmental activism and advocacy is changing under increasing state pressure. An interview with one of Russia’s leading ecological organisations about the prospects for anti-nuclear activism today. (opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY RUSSIA, VLADIMIR SLIVYAK, NAILYA IBRAGIMOVA – April 25, 2016) In the coming days, much of the coverage of the Chernobyl disaster in Russia is […]

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Why Ukraine is at risk of forgetting the lessons of Chernobyl

Chernobyl File Photo

Thirty years after the explosion at the nuclear power plant in the Ukrainian city of Chernobyl, one Russian expert argues that, by using American fuel in Soviet-built reactors and pushing the power-producing capabilities of its nuclear plants, Ukraine is putting itself at potential risk of another disaster. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANDREI RETINGER, SPECIAL TO RBTH – […]

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Russians Will Stop Supporting Putin Only When They See His Weakness, Yakovenko Says

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 24, 2016) Given the longstanding servility of the Russian people, Vladimir Putin can be deprived of popular support only by showing how weak he in fact is, according to commentator, something that requires the opposition within Russia to unite and the West to reduce to a minimum any contacts with him. […]

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More Than Half of Russians Want New Soviet State – Poll

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 21, 2016) More than half of Russians would like to see the restoration of the Soviet Union, according to a poll released Tuesday. Although 58 percent of respondents said they would like to see a new socialist system, only 14 percent believed that it was likely to happen, the report by the independent Levada […]

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Interfax: Positive attitude to Lenin in Russia tops 50% – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Interfax – April 20, 2016) The share of Russian citizens who positively assess the historical role of Vladimir Lenin has grown from 40 percent to 53 percent in the past ten years, the Levada Center told Interfax. The opinion was mostly voiced by pensioners (67 percent), Russians older than 55 (66 percent), people with primary education (59 percent), people with […]

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