Why Germans Supported Hitler to the End and Why Russians May Do the Same with Putin

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 3, 2016) In a recent book review essay in the New York Review of Books, military historian Max Hastings cites a passage from Nicholas Stargardt’s “The German War” (Basic Books, 2015) to explain why Germans continued to “close ranks around Hitler” even after it became obvious that their country was going […]

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Interfax: Putin says he likes Communist ideas echoing Bible’s

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

(Interfax – January 26, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he still likes the ideas of Communism and that he has not ditched his party member ID card. “You know, just like millions of Soviet citizens – 20-odd million people – I was a member of the USSR Communist Party, and not just a Communist Party member, but […]

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Interfax: Putin entitled to personal opinion about Lenin – spokesman

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

(Interfax – January 21, 2016) The Russian president’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov has said Putin is entitled to have a personal opinion about Russian Revolution leader Vladimir Lenin, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 21 January. Peskov was commenting on a statement made by President Putin, who compared Lenin to a nuclear bomb which had destroyed historical Russia. “The […]

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What do today’s Russians think about Lenin?

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

The leader of the revolution has turned into an ordinary historical figure for younger Russians. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – MARINA OBRAZKOVA, RBTH – January 21, 2016) Today’s generation of Russians have rather mixed feelings when it comes to the leader of the Bolshevik Revolution. The issue of burying Lenin’s body, which is still kept in a mausoleum […]

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Putin on Lenin: Planted atomic bomb under building called Russia

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Interfax – January 21, 2016) Vladimir Putin has criticized the ideas and actions of the leader of the Russian revolution, Vladimir Lenin, which he thinks led to the ruin of historical Russia. He was responding to the head of the Kurchatov Institute, Mikhail Kovalchuk, who at a meeting of the presidential council for science and education quoted Boris Pasternak’s poem […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Row over Ukrainian city’s new name” – BBC

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

The BBC covers debates in Ukraine over the jettisoning of names recalling Soviet rule, including the effort to rename Kirovohrad as Inhulsk. Since pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in 2014, Ukraine has been removing all public vestiges of Soviet rule, from statues of Lenin to street names honouring other Communist luminaries. A parliamentary committee recently decided that Kirovohrad, which […]

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USSR collapsed because of oil prices heralding Russia’s future?

Oil Well file photo

(Pravda.ru – January 19, 2016) Pravda.Ru editor-in-chief Inna Novikova sat down with historian Alexander Fursov to speak about Russia’s foreign and domestic policy. “In connection with the collapse of the world prices on oil, many analysts say that the times that we are living now are very similar to the times of the 90s when the Soviet Union broke up.” […]

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After the ban: a short history of Ukraine’s Communist Party

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

You can ban Ukraine’s communists, but you can’t beat them. (opendemocracy.net – Denys Gorbach – January 8, 2016) Denys Gorbach is a leftist activist and researcher working on the Ukrainian labour movement. On 16 December, Kyiv’s district administrative court approved a claim by Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice. It sought to ban the country’s Communist Party (KPU). Ukrainian society has come […]

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What’s behind the new investigation into the murder of the Romanovs

Romanov Family Photo

In September 2015 the Russian Investigative Committee resumed an investigation into the death of the family of the last Russian tsar. Investigators exhumed the remains of the Romanovs, who had been buried in the Peter and Paul Fortress, and took DNA samples from Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna. Official accounts states that the Romanovs were murdered on the night […]

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100 Million Fewer People Speak Russian Now than Did 25 Years Ago

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia Staunton, December 26, 2015) The number of people who speak Russian has declined by 100 million since 1989 or 27 percent, according to Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the Duma committee on compatriots and Eurasian integration. (In 1989, 370 million said they spoke Russian; now, 270 million do.) But instead of seeing this as […]

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Russia’s future under the microscope at Yeltsin Forum

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

Experts analyze the reforms and the mechanisms of the Yeltsin’s times to help creating a system of transformation for the future. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NADEZHDA USTÍNOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – December 17, 2015) Nearly a quarter of a century after the collapse of the Soviet Union and founding of today’s Russia, experts have met to discuss […]

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What is going on in Russia? The views and values of ordinary Russians

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

Subject: What is going on in Russia? The views and values of ordinary Russians Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2015 From: Karen Hewitt <karen.hewitt@conted.ox.ac.uk> I am attaching the talk which I have given (with adaptations) to various groups of non-professionals who are interested in Russia. Some professionals in the audience, sometimes, but it was not intended for them. — What is […]

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NEWSWATCH Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/Eugene Rumer, Paul Stronski: “Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia at Twenty­Five-A Baseline Assessment”

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace undertakes an overview of former Soviet states two-and-a-half decades following the USSR’s collapse. For nearly twenty-five years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia, Ukraine, and the rest of the former Soviet lands now collectively referred to as Eurasia defied the best and the worst expectations of students of the region’s history. Unfortunately, […]

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NEWSWATCH The New Yorker/Masha Gessen: “Boris Yeltsin Quietly Challenges Putin”

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

Writing in The New Yorker, Masha Gessen reports on the first three major exhibits at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Centre opening in Yekaterinburg. The core exhibit’s organizational principle is called ‘The Seven Days That Changed Russia,’ and it takes the visitor through a series of rooms that recall the earth-shattering events of the Russian nineteen-nineties. Click here for The New […]

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Museum to Russia’s first president Boris Yeltsin opens to public

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

November 25 saw the official opening in Yekaterinburg of a museum dedicated to Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s first president. Besides documenting Yeltsin’s tenure as leader of the country, the museum also explores the turbulent history of the 1990s. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – MARINA OBRAZKOVA, RBTH – November 27, 2015) A museum to Boris Yeltsin has been unveiled in […]

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Two Anniversaries, Two Countries – Ukraine’s Maidan at Two, Russia’s Foreign Agents Law at Three

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 22, 2015) Anniversaries are occasions for recalling the past and thinking about the future, and they are especially instructive about both when two or more of them occur at the same time. That is the case this weekend when Ukrainians mark the second anniversary of the Maidan and Russians take note […]

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New Museum Stakes Claim to Russia’s Gulag Legacy

File Photo of Gulag Victim Ivan Burylov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – November 5, 2015) [Photos here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/new-museum-stakes-claim-to-russias-gulag-legacy/542211.html] Russia’s largest museum devoted to the horrors of the Soviet gulag has opened, even as many Muscovites remain unwilling to talk about political repression. Moscow’s new Gulag Museum opened Friday even as the country remains polarized by the legacy of its brutal system of Soviet-era prison […]

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Perestroika, Putin-Style

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – November 02, 2015) We picked the wrong metaphor. When Vladimir Putin announced four years ago that he was returning to the Kremlin, the comparisons to Leonid Brezhnev came fast and furious. If he served two more terms, the logic went, Putin would be in power until 2024 and his reign would end up […]

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It’s Time to Recall Kennan’s Long Telegram and Forget His Later Optimism about Change in Russia

Joseph Stalin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – August 6, 2015) Staunton, October 3 – George Kennan’s famous “long telegram” of February 1946 was written to explain to Western leaders something they found difficult to understand: how Moscow could turn from being a wartime ally into an implacable enemy, a problem that some Western leaders are again finding it difficult to […]

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[From 1993:] Russia Mourns Victims of Uprising

File Photo of Parliament Building Billowing Smoke in 1993

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anne Barnard, David Filipov – October 8, 1993) Moscow mourned the human cost of this week’s political bloodshed Thursday, as President Boris Yeltsin suspended the Constitutional Court he has accused of complicity in the violence. Several thousand friends, strangers and comrades in arms filed past the coffins of six policemen killed last Sunday and Monday […]

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Oil money, conflict and the age of diminished expectations in Russia

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Yuval Weber of Moscow’s Higher School of Economics – September 30, 2015) At the mid-June opening of Russia’s “military Disneyland” – officially titled “Patriot Park” – President Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to announce that 40 new intercontinental missiles would be added to Russia’s nuclear forces and that the theme park itself would be […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post/Daniel Treisman: “Searching for the roots of Russia’s aggression”

Balaklava harbour, the cattle pier, Crimea, Ukraine, 1855; adapted from image at loc.gov; Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer;

Writing in The Washington Post, Daniel Treisman of UCLA, and the Russian Political Insight project, considers the roots and contours of Russian aggression.  In part, he draws upon and reviews several new books, by Marvin Kalb, Walter Laqueur and Steven Lee Myers. A generation after the Cold War ended, Russian fighter jets are again probing NATO’s defenses in the skies […]

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Research on tsarist family assassination case goes on actively – senior criminal investigator

Romanov Family Photo

MOSCOW. Sept 25 (Interfax) – The active stage of the new genetic tests in the assassination case of the tsarist family has begun, senior criminal investigator of the Main Criminal Directorate of the Russian Investigative Committee Vladimir Solovyev told Interfax on Friday. “Experts are doing very active work. Everything necessary is being done,” he said. The investigative committee resumed an […]

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Russia’s Last Tsar Exhumed as Murder Case Reopened

Romanov Family Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vasily Kolotilov – September 24, 2015) Russian investigators on Wednesday exhumed the remains of Russia’s last tsar and his wife, who were slaughtered by the Bolsheviks in 1918 together with their children and servants, after reopening the investigation into the century-old murder. The Investigative Committee said in a statement Wednesday it was reopening the probe […]

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Russian Senator Introduces Bill Criminalizing Pro-Stalin Propoganda

File Photo of Joseph Stalin and Sergei Kirov as Part of Group of Five, Next to Bust of Lenin, with Faces of Other Attendees Partially Blurred

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – September 22, 2015) A high-ranking Russian senator has sought to combat the increasing promotion of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in the country by introducing a bill that would criminalize attempts to justify the dictator’s totalitarian regime and political purges, state-run TASS news agency reported Tuesday. The bill introduced in the State Duma […]

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Six ‘must-read’ books on Russia from last 25 years

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – BOOK REVIEW: Chris Weafer in Moscow – September 10, 2015) Chris Weafer is a founding partner of Macro-Advisory, which helps investors cut though the noise & focus on underlying trends, real political risks, & opportunities in Russia/CIS, Eurasia Union, & Mongolia. Follow him on @ChrisWeafer A great many books about Russia are published each […]

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Like Stalin, Putin hasn’t Changed the Rules of the Game; He’s Destroyed Them, Portnikov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 28, 2015) The Anschluss of Crimea and the murder of Boris Nemtsov were not continuations of the rules of the game that had existed before, with the first following the 2008 Russian actions in Georgia and the second that of murders like Galina Starovoitova and Anna Politkovskaya, Vitaly Portnikov says. Instead, […]

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Russia Won’t Suffer the Soviet Union’s Fate

dont-talk-soviet-poster

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – August 25, 2015) If you believe low oil prices killed the Soviet Union, it seems reasonable to wonder whether the current commodities bust will topple President Vladimir Putin or even break up Russia. Cheap oil, however, didn’t destroy the Soviet empire: Communism did. Putin’s Russia is more oil-dependent than its predecessor, but it […]

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How Next Round of Russia’s Disintegration May Begin

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 24, 2015) In his poem, “The Fall of Rome,” W.H. Auden wrote that it could be signaled not by some dramatic event but rather by “a bored official” scribbling a note and leaving his office to go home, a reminder that enormous tectonic shifts often begin with small things that most […]

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New Policy on Commemorating Victims of Repression At Odds With Actions

Joseph Stalin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – August 20, 2015) The government announced a new policy this week condemning attempts to justify mass Soviet repression, a move that appears to directly contradict official rhetoric and state actions during the last few years. The move shows a lack of unity in the Kremlin on the ideological front, or even the […]

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NEWSLINK Kiev Post/Alexei Bayer: “Even if the Russian economy crumbles – as it is likely to do in the near-to-medium term, just as the Russian economy collapsed under Bolshevism – it will not result in any kind of a new beginning. There may be changes, but probably not for the better.”

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

Even if the Russian economy crumbles – as it is likely to do in the near-to-medium term, just as the Russian economy collapsed under Bolshevism – it will not result in any kind of a new beginning. There may be changes, but probably not for the better.

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NEWSLINK Boston Globe book review: “‘The End of Tsarist Russia: The March to World War I and Revolution’ by Dominic Lieven”

Romanov Family Photo

Lieven, a senior research fellow at Trinity College in Cambridge, England, who taught Russian studies at the London School of Economics for a third of a century, has produced what is basically a Russian history of the origins of World War I, though with ample and appropriate recognition of the role of Western Europe in the fighting.

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Fifteen Years on, Russians Less Inclined to Cast Blame for Kursk Submarine Tragedy

Kursk Submarine File Photo, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 12, 2015) Fifteen years after one of the worst disasters in Russian naval history – the sinking of the Kursk submarine in the Barents Sea in which all 118 crew members died – the number of Russians who blame the authorities for not doing enough to rescue the sailors has dropped. […]

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Russians fight to keep derelict church from sinking beneath the waters

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

Volunteers from all over Russia are working in the Vologda Region to save a unique monument of 18th-century architecture – the Church of the Nativity in the village of Krokhino – from destruction. For 50 years, it has been surrounded by water after the village was flooded during the construction of the Volga-Baltic Canal in 1964. (Russia Beyond the Headlines […]

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Propaganda Lessons From an Old – a Very Old – Master

mid-east-holy-land-satellite-photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Michele A. Berdy – August 10, 2015) How can you convince men to go to off and fight a war in another country? What arguments will be most persuasive? What tricks of rhetoric will get them to sign up? If these questions sound very modern, think again. These were some of the problems facing a […]

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Most Russians Like Soviet Symbols But Lack Knowledge about Soviet Past – and That is Dangerous

dont-talk-soviet-poster

(Paul Goble – Staunton, August 7, 2015) A VTsIOM poll shows that the overwhelming majority of Russians have a positive attitude toward Soviet symbols but that a significant share of them do not know what those symbols stand for, a measure of the extent to which the Soviet past is being rapidly transformed for many of them from a harsh […]

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