Podcast series of Russian History begins with 65. Black Legend and 66. Gorbachev

I have released two new episodes of The Burning Archive podcast.

Episode 65 The Black Legend of Russian History

We cannot hope to find peace with Russia unless we seek to understand Russian history in all its complexity, its highs and lows, its tragedies and its farces, its inspirations and its horrors. To understand that rich history, we need to confront the Black Legend of Russian History, which tells a story of a benighted people, cursed to poverty, despotism and the dark strivings of the Russian soul. What is the black legend of Russian history?


– Mark B. Smith The Russia Anixiety (2019) – Do buy this book – it is essential to understanding Russia and the world today.

– Leonid Kharitonov and The Russian Red Army Choir – “Song of the Volga Boatmen” (“Yo, Heave Ho!”,  “Ej, Uhnem!”) The concert in Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, 1965 via Youtube

Episode 66 Remembering Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev was one of the most important and the most tragic figures of 20th century history. He has largely been presented in media obituaries as helping end the Cold War. In truth, he sued for peace and a world free of nuclear weapons, while liberating his society to pursue its own forms of democracy. But he was betrayed abroad by the USA, whose leaders were convinced they had ended history, and who engineered the collapse and looting of the Soviet world. That betrayal remains at the heart of the conflict in Ukraine and the difficult birth of a New Russia and the multipolar world. How does the tragedy of Mikhail Gorbachev – a man of peace – help us understand the world crisis today? 

Listen to the end of the show and hear Gorbachev in his own voice, giving his resignation speech on 25 December 1991 (with English translation voiceover).


  • Mikhail Gorbachev, Memoirs (2006)
  • Mikhail Gorbachev, New Russia (2016)
  • William Taubman, Gorbachev: his life and times (2017)
  • Mark B. Smith The Russia Anixiety (2019)
  • Mikhail Gorbachev, Resignation Speech as President of the Soviet Union, 25 December 1991, via YouTube

I have also released this podcast in (still) video format on YouTube on my newly relaunched channel.

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