Where did all the time go? Thirty years ago this week the Berlin Wall fell. Then Soviet chairman Mikhail Gorbachev freed the Baltic states and allowed divided Germany to reunite. It was a geopolitical earthquake of historic proportions – and a major miracle of our times. The once mighty Soviet Union had become exhausted by... Read More
Last month, on the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II, the European Parliament voted on a
Jeeves, the excellent valet of Mr Wooster, had an ace up his sleeve: if going was tough, he had used his access to the records of the
Hitler’s Declaration of War Against the USSR - Two Historic Documents
As dawn was breaking on Sunday morning, June 22, 1941, military forces of Germany, Finland and Romania suddenly struck against the Soviet Union along a broad front stretching hundreds of miles from the Arctic Circle in the far north to the Black Sea in the south. Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, and Croatia quickly joined the campaign... Read More
History is told by Walls and Roads which have marked significant turning points in the relation between peoples and states. We will discuss the story behind two walls and one road and the circumstances which surround them and their consequences. The Berlin Wall In the aftermath of World War II, Europe was divided between East... Read More
International “Reading Solzhenitsyn” Conference in Lyndon, Vermont, September 7-8, 2018
No, Solzhenitsyn did not imagine himself as a god. He is another kind of artist, the one, he says, who “recognizes above himself a higher power and joyfully works as a humble apprentice under God’s heaven, though graver and more demanding still is his responsibility for all he writes or paints—and for the souls which... Read More
Defending the Bolsheviks and Soviet Communism
This is a discussion of some issues raised in a previous article by
"History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce," a saying attributed to Karl Marx, comes to mind in this time of Trump. To those of us raised in the Truman era, when the Red Army was imposing its bloody Bolshevik rule on half of Europe, and NATO was needed to keep Stalin's armies from... Read More
Although my main academic focus was theoretical physics, I always had a very strong interest in history as well, especially that of the Classical Era. Trying to extract the true pattern of events from a collection of source material that was often fragmentary, unreliable, and contradictory was a challenging intellectual exercise, testing my analytical ability.... Read More
I have recently had the pleasure of watching a short presentation by Professor Stephen F. Cohen entitled “Rethinking Putin” which he delivered on the annual Nation cruise on December 2, 2017 (see here for the original
At a time when the United States is convulsed by anti-Russian hysteria and demonization of Vladimir Putin, a trove of recently declassified Cold War documents reveals the astounding extent of the lies, duplicity and double-dealing engaged in by the western powers with the collapsing Soviet Union in 1990. I was covering Moscow in those days... Read More
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 marked the end of the longest experiment in Communism in recent history. Many saw this event as the proof that Communism (or Marxism-Leninism, I use these interchangeably here) was not a viable ideology. After all, if in Russia Communism was formally ended in 1991, the Chinese quietly... Read More
The “crooked mile” from the Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes (There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile etc) is Fleet Street, which is well known to London journalists. So I was told when I joined the BBC at Bush House, at the very end of Fleet Street. Not only is the street... Read More
A journalist who witnessed the events of 1989 from a Soviet perspective looks back on a surreal period when attempts at...
I went to Moscow as a correspondent in 1984, just as the Brezhnev generation of leaders was beginning to die off or be replaced. There was nothing to suggest that Soviet control of Eastern Europe had only another five years to run and that the Soviet Union itself would disintegrate a few years later. In... Read More
Twenty years later, questions endure about how and why the nation abruptly dissolved.
This essay is an expanded version of an article that appeared in The Nation on the fifteenth anniversary of the end of the Soviet Union. Asked to evaluate the French Revolution nearly 200 years later, the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai was famously reported to have replied, “Too early to say.” Though apocryphal, the long perspective... Read More
The collapse of the Soviet Union was far from inevitable: A historic opportunity to democratize and marketize Russia by...
The most consequential event of the second half of the twentieth century took place surreptitiously fifteen years ago at a secluded hunting lodge in the Belovezh Forest near Minsk. On December 8, 1991, heads of three of the Soviet Union’s fifteen republics, led by Boris Yeltsin of Russia, met there to sign documents abolishing that... Read More