NEWSWATCH: “In defence of the Romanovs: the centenary of the February Revolution” – The Spectator (Australia)/Matthew Dal Santo

Romanov Family Photo

“A century ago today, as the Imperial Train sat impounded at a provincial station 180 miles from Petrograd, Russia’s last Tsar, Nicholas II (1868-1918), signed an act of abdication. The Russian Revolution was formally in motion. Slightly more than eight months later, the liberal republic that succeeded the Romanov autocracy had given way to seven decades of Communist dictatorship. … most […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Study Russian History?” – American Historical Association Blog/E. Thomas Ewing and Virginia Tech Students enrolled in HIST 3604: Russia to Peter the Great

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

“… we often took examples from current news or recent history and established connections to the historical period covered . … Russian history from its founding in the ninth century until the beginning of the era of Peter the Great in the late 17th century illustrates how this emerging nation-state navigated complex processes such as building a national political order, sustaining […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russia Revolution, A Century On” – The Interpreter (Lowy Institute for International Policy-Australia)/Matthew Dal Santo

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

“A century ago today, Emperor Nicholas II, ‘Tsar and Autocrat of all the Russias’, pencilled his name to a document renouncing a throne three hundred years in his family’s possession, not only for himself but also his son and chronically ill heir, Alexis. The date, according to the old Russian calendar, was 3 March 1917. So definitively began, after days […]

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Hitler’s Anschluss and Putin’s – Similarities and Differences

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 13, 2017) Seventy-nine years ago today, Adolf Hitler issued the law on the unification of Austria and Germany, an event subsequently known as the Anschluss, and one that both resembles and differs from what Vladimir Putin did in the case of Ukraine’s Crimea, according to two Ukrainian experts. Yuri Shapovalov, a […]

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NEWSLINK: “From Russia with love – lessons for today from a revolution 100 years ago” – Ottawa Citizen/Paul Robinson

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

“One hundred years ago this week, a protest about food shortages in the Russian capital, Petrograd, turned into the violent revolution that overthrew Czar Nicholas II and brought the Romanov dynasty to an end. The liberal-minded provisional government that assumed power did not last long, succumbing to another revolution eight months later, which inaugurated 70 years of Communist rule. It […]

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NEWSLINK: “Chrystia Freeland and the complexities of history [re: Ukraine]

“On March 8, the Globe and Mail reported that ‘Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has known for more than two decades that her maternal Ukrainian grandfather was the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper in Nazi-occupied Poland.’ … Her grandfather, Michael Chomiak, was a Nazi propagandist for Krakivski Visti (Crakow News), supervised by German intelligence officer Emil Gassert. Its printing […]

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NEWSWATCH: “CHARISMATIC LEGITIMACY” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

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

“In pre-revolutionary China, the Emperor’s legitimacy was said to derive from the ‘mandate of heaven’. On the one hand, proof that an Emperor had such a mandate came from his success. On the other hand, if the Emperor was unsuccessful, that was evidence that he did not have a mandate from heaven, in which case rebellion against him was justifiable. … […]

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Yavlinsky Says 1917 ‘Detour’ Led Russia Into 100-Year ‘Dead End’

Grigoriy Yavlinskiy file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – March 5, 2017) “The past isn’t dead,” goes American novelist William Faulkner’s famous aphorism. “It isn’t even past.” As Russia looks back on the fateful events of a century ago, when a pair of revolutions overthrew a tsar and installed Bolsheviks, liberal politician and Yabloko party candidate for the 2018 presidential election Grigory […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Opposition Struggles 2 Years After Nemtsov Killing” – AP

Boris Nemtsov file photo

Two years after he was killed near the Kremlin, Boris Nemtsov can still attract crowds of supporters. But his death left in tatters Russia’s opposition movement, which is struggling with infighting and seems unable to rally behind one unifying figure. In the largest Russian opposition protest in months, thousands marched Sunday across Moscow to commemorate Nemtsov’s life, demand a thorough […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Estrangement from history: 100 years since Russia’s February Revolution; In February 1917, the reign of the Romanov czars came to an end. This event was a precursor to the October Revolution later that year. In Russia, what went on in February is not widely known.” – Deutsche Welle/Volker Wagener

Romanov Family Photo

“It’s a date that cannot be ignored: February 23, according to the Julian calendar (March 8 in the Gregorian calendar). It is a date that forces Russian society to confront a part of its history that for many is difficult to reckon with. A 100-year anniversary usually involves state-organized events. But that’s not so for the February Revolution in Russia […]

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Putin Orders Demolition of Moscow’s Iconic Post-War Apartment Blocks

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Katie Davies – February 21, 2017) Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the complete demolition of Moscow’s post-war Khrushchevkas: Soviet housing blocks which once offered hope to millions of families after World War II. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced on Tuesday that 1.6 million Muscovites were still living in the buildings, many of which were […]

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NEWSLINK: “Could Russia have avoided revolution in 1917? A century on from Nicholas II’s abdication, Dominic Lieven asks whether democracy was ever likely to take root.” – Financial Times

Romanov Family Photo

“When I began my academic career in the 1970s, the shadow of the 1917 Revolution loomed over the whole of Russian history. Historians of late imperial and early Soviet Russia, in particular, worked at the epicentre of the ideological conflict between democratic capitalism and communism that raged in the cold war era. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “After 100 years, his tsar is in the ascendant. A century after the Russian Revolution, Vladimir Putin is taking inspiration from opposing legacies – imperial authority and Soviet military might – to project his power.” – The Sunday Times (UK)/Robert Service

Romanov Family Photo

“Over the next few months, Russia will be marking the centenary of its revolution, and the country’s president,Vladimir Putin, will be explaining its meaning to his people. … a task … Communist rulers used to undertake on an annual basis. They stood in a grim line in Red Square and took the salute from a parade of troops, Communist Party […]

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President Trump’s Boris Yeltsin Moment

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – February 15, 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. President Donald Trump is irritated about the media furor surrounding the departure of his national security adviser. “The real scandal here is that classified information is […]

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Re: The Gathering Storm

Eurasia Map

Subject: The Gathering Storm Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2017 From: David Law <davidmurraylaw@gmail.com> The Gathering Storm By David Law Senior Associate, Security Governance Group; former Head of NATO Policy Planning and Speechwriting Unit With Donald Trump now sworn in as the American President and Commander-in-Chief, here are some thoughts on where the world may be headed. In 1948, Winston Churchill […]

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Re: Findings of Bipartisan Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Subject: Findings of Bipartisan Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2017 From: Andrew S. Weiss <RussiaEurasiaProgram@carnegieendowment.org> http://carnegieendowment.org/specialprojects/TaskForceonUSPolicyToward RussiaUkraineandEurasia/ Dear Colleague, The breakdown in U.S.-Russia relations in the wake of the Ukraine crisis threatens the entire post-Cold War transatlantic security order. As the new administration prepares to reengage with Moscow, what principles should […]

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NEWSWATCH: “LIFE UNDER ALTERNATIVE FACTS” – The New Yorker/Mikhail Iossel

There was no real cognitive dissonance existing in the minds of most people in the Soviet Union of the nineteen-seventies and eighties. Everyone knew that everything said on the radio or on television, everything (with the exception of weather reports or sports results) was a blatant lie, spoken pro forma …. no one was duped into thinking this was actually […]

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Russia, the Catalyst of Change

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

(The Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – MAXIM TRUDOLYUBOV – January 30, 2017) Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti Regardless of what one can prove in the complicated story of Russian hackers meddling in the institutions of the United States, there is still a story to tell about Russian influence on the West. It has […]

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NEWSLINK: “He dared to speak the truth: Alexey Yablokov, scientific hero of Chernobyl” – The Ecologist (UK)/Chris Busby

Chernobyl File Photo

“Alexey V. Yablokov (1933-2017) was a scientific giant of the post-Chernobyl age, writes Chris Busby. It was he who brought together the work of dissident Soviet scientists and revealed to the world, in English language, the true health impacts of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. ….”

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NEWSWATCH: “Twenty years ago, Russians loved the US. Where did it all go wrong? In the immediate post-Soviet era, Russians held the US in high esteem. But that started to change amid economic woes and Western adventurism in the Balkans and Middle East.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

“… Time magazine’s July 15, 1996, cover. … depicts Russian President Boris Yeltsin, recently reelected … grinning and clutching an American flag under the headline ‘Yanks to the Rescue!’ The story tells of a group of high-powered US political consultants who were secretly brought to Russia amid the hard-fought presidential elections of 1996, in which a beleaguered Mr. Yeltsin was […]

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From Post-Soviet to Neo-Soviet

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(The Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – EDWARD C. HOLLAND – January 4, 2017) Edward C. Holland is Assistant Professor of Geography in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arkansas. His research interests range across a variety of topics, including political violence, religion, and critical geopolitics, and are generally focused on the Russian Federation. He has recently published on […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Why has a Moscow restaurant been named after Stalin’s secret service?”

Moscow Night Lights Satellite Image

“In December 2016, a restaurant in central Moscow changed its name to NKVD, an abbreviation closely associated with the bloody period of Stalin’s Terror of the 1930s. Human rights activists are outraged, Stalin supporters are rejoicing, while experts point out that the proprietors have just come up with a cynical way of making money through provocation.”

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Putin’s Authoritarianism Simply a Response to Archaic Localism of 1990s, Russian Analyst Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 28, 2016) Pavel Pryanikov, the editor of the Tolkovatel portal, argues that the current upsurge in authoritarianism in Russia is a response to the archaic localism separate from the state that emerged after the collapse of Soviet power in 1991, the latest turn of a cycle described by Russian philosopher Aleksandr […]

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Putin still sees USSR break-up as catastrophe – spokesman

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

(RIA Novosti – December 21, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin still believes that the break-up of the Soviet Union was a catastrophe, his press secretary has said. Dmitry Peskov said while the break-up could not be reversed there was no alternative to “new integration” in post-Soviet space. “Putin still thinks that it was a catastrophe for all the peoples that […]

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Sarah Lindemann-Komarova: “A Holiday recommendation for your readers; The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming: Holiday Film Recommendation and 50th Anniversary Tribute … Deja vous all over again”

File Photo of Reel of Film

Subject: A Holiday recommendation for your readers. Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2016 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming: Holiday Film Recommendation and 50th Anniversary Tribute … Deja vous all over again By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the hub for the first civil […]

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Sharing The Foreign Service Journal’s Focus on the new #Russia at 25

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

Subject: Sharing The Foreign Service Journal’s Focus on the new #Russia at 25 Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2016 From: Shawn Dorman <dorman@afsa.org> This is Shawn Dorman, editor of The Foreign Service Journal, the foreign affairs and diplomacy magazine published by the American Foreign Service Association 10 times a year. One of our authors this month, retired FSO Louie Sell, suggested […]

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Real Arrangements of Russian Power under #Putin Increasingly like Those in #Stalin’s Times, Pavlova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 6, 2016) One of the most typical characteristics of #Russian political power is that it is unlimited because it has little relationship to the public face of the state and is not formalized. That is the case with Vladimir #Putin’s regime now, Irina Pavlova says; and it is one of “the […]

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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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