My latest podcast takes a look at the influence of the Mongol Empire on Russian history, and indeed on world history.
Podcast 75 & 76 – Ivan the Terrible – Parts One and Two
In this 8th podcast episode in the 'Black Legend of Russian History' the myths about Ivan the Terrible are outlined, and then the stranger stories of his life are told.
Podcast 74. Russia’s First Civil War – the Time of Troubles and Two Murder Mysteries
In the early 1600s Russia suffered a traumatic civil war, political instability and social chaos - the Time of Troubles. Find out more on my latest podcast.
The Burning Archive Podcast 73. Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and the Russian Enlightenment
As part of the continuing series of telling Russian History backwards and debunking the 'Black Legend of Russian History, Jeff Rich tells the tale of Russia's 18th century when there was one great Emperor and four remarkable Empresses.
New Acquisitions in the Burning Archive
Over the last few weeks I have collected a fair swag of Russian world history and literature.
Three historical notes on Putin’s 2022 Victory Day Parade Speech
Vladimir Putin's Victory Day speech tells stories of how Russia has responded to threats by embracing multi-ethnic, multi-national traditions.
The Irony of Chekhov
Something tells me Chekhov and the innovations in drama he bequeathed to us may appear in my podcast series on the gifts of Russian culture.
How Lenin on the Train began a 100 Years War
Catherine Merridale, Lenin on the Train (2016), which I finished reading last night, is a very fine book. It is a gem, and perhaps ought to be recommended as among the very best introductions to the history of the Russian Revolution.
A relic of another time
The Russians with Attitude podcast released to their subscribers a feature this week on the Russian writer and mystic, Mikhail Bulgakov. Bulgakov made his way from a medical student in Kiev through the Civil War in Russia and Ukraine to a difficult life as a writer for newspapers, theatre and novels in the 1920s and 1930s. He wrote a great account of the Civil War in The White Guard, and of course the masterpiece for which he earned posthumous fame, The Master and Margarita. [Read more]....
The World Crisis, 2022, A Personal Record
"Everyone was dreaming, ruminating, full of foreboding, feeling his way." (Nikolai Sukhanov on February 1917 Russian Revolution). Does this not feel a lot like us today? Do we all not feel the world is unfolding in surprising directions, and among our more difficult tasks is to feel our own way through these events?
Colour Revolution on a Chaise-Longue
I took to reading Catherine Merridale, Lenin on the Train (2016) this morning while reclining on a scarlet chaise-longue and bathing in autumnal sunshine. The cat was on my lap, but my attention kept slipping.... [Read More]
Flowers of the Mind 24
So much of the history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is the tragic encounters of the elites of empires and ethno-linguistic national identities. We are seeing a new version of this struggle between confected social media national identities, concealing troubled and exclusive ethno-lingusitic reasoning, and collapsing imperial orders.