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New Books in Russian and Eurasian Stu...
Interviews with Scholars of Russia and Eurasia about their New Books
Society & Culture
History
1
Larry Holmes, "War, Evacuation, and the Exercis...
Holmes uses the case study of the Pedagogical Institute during the war years to explore power relationships in the institute and between local/ regional power and central power in Moscow...
50 min
2
A. Lakhtikova, A. Brintlinger, and I. Glushchen...
Food plays a pivotal role throughout Russian history, but perhaps no more so than during the Soviet era, when the perennial Russian cycle of feast and famine took on a highly political aspect...
59 min
3
Jeff Sahadeo, "Voices from the Soviet Edge: Sou...
Sahadeo looks at the migrant experiences of peoples from the Caucuses and Central Asia in the late Soviet and early Post-Soviet periods ( 1960s-1990s)...
52 min
4
Tricia Starks, "Smoking Under the Tsars: A Hist...
How and when did Russia become a country of smokers?
56 min
5
Betsy Perabo, "Russian Orthodoxy and the Russo-...
Perabo examines the conflict through the concept of an “interreligious war” between Christian and Buddhist nations...
46 min
6
C. W. Gortner, "The Romanov Empress: A Novel of...
101 years have passed since the murder of the Imperial Family of Russia at Yekaterinburg, but their appeal has not diminished...
67 min
7
Alexandra Popoff, "Vasily Grossman and the Sovi...
Popoff brings the life and work of this often-overlooked writer into brilliant focus...
62 min
8
Jeremy Friedman, "Shadow Cold War: The Sino-Sov...
Taking ideology seriously as a component of socialist foreign policy, Friedman’s new and compelling analysis shows how deep Moscow and Beijing’s disagreements ran...
61 min
9
Sophia Shalmiyev, "Mother Winter: A Memoir" (Si...
For writer Sophia Shalmiyev, the question was never “who is my mother,” but rather, “where has she gone?”
37 min
10
Sergei Zhuk, "Soviet Americana: The Cultural Hi...
Zhuk offers an insightful investigation of the development of American studies in the Soviet Union, with a specific emphasis on Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine...
78 min
11
Caroline Boggis-Rolfe, "The Baltic Story: A Tho...
The story of the littoral nations of the Baltic Sea is like a saga, that genre perfected by those tenacious inhabitants of the rocky shores of this ancient trading corridor...
51 min
12
Adrienne Celt, "Invitation to a Bonfire" (Bloom...
"Invitation to a Bonfire" is inspired by the life of the well-known Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov.
37 min
13
Petra Goedde, "The Politics of Peace: A Global ...
Earlier histories of the Cold War haven’t exactly been charitable toward the peace activists and pacifists who led peace initiatives...
52 min
14
Kristen Ghodsee, "Red Hangover: Legacies of Twe...
In this very personal book with essays and short stories, Ghodsee describes the post-socialist realities of the victims of the greedy neoliberalism that has dismantled their social safety nets and expresses her frustration about the continuing tendency to reduce the twentieth-century East European state socialisms to Stalinism and the Gulags...
73 min
15
Botakoz Kassymbekova, "Despite Cultures: Early ...
Kassymbekova explores technologies of governance used in early Soviet Tajikistan in order to implement Soviet plans for industrialization and collectivization...
62 min
16
Kristen R. Ghodsee, "Second World, Second Sex: ...
Ghodsee addresses a telling gap in the historiography of women rights movements – the contributions of the Second World women rights activists...
67 min
17
Eleonory Gilburd, "To See Paris and Die: The So...
Gilburd looks at the perfect cultural and social storm created by the combination of more liberal politics, foreign culture and the technology to make it accessible to 11 time zones...
84 min
18
Paul Thomas Chamberlin, "The Cold War's Killing...
Chamberlin reminds us that the Cold War was not at all Cold for hundreds of millions of people...
61 min
19
Vahram Ter-Matevosyan, "Turkey, Kemalism and th...
Ter-Matevosyan looks into the origins, evolution, and transformational phases of Kemalism between the 1920s and 1970s...
33 min
20
Mark Galeotti, “The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia”...
"The Vory" traces the development of the Russian underworld
71 min
21
Cathal J. Nolan, "The Allure of Battle: A Histo...
Nolan also challenges the hoary concept of the military "genius," even of the Great Captains--from Alexander to Frederick and Napoleon--mapping instead the decent into total war...
73 min
22
John Etty, "Graphic Satire in the Soviet Union:...
John Etty explains how Krokodil magazine provided a venue in which the state, the the magazine’s editors, and readers all participated in defining what it was permissible to laugh at in the USSR...
41 min
23
Timothy A. Sayle, "Enduring Alliance: A History...
Sayle examines the history of NATO from its founding in the late 1940s through to its expansion in the post-Cold War era...
50 min
24
John J. Curley, "Global Art and the Cold War" (...
A meticulously-researched and accessible monograph, Global Art and the Cold War demonstrates the crucial role of art in the greatest geopolitical conflict of the 20th century...
50 min
25
Jeremy Black, "The World at War, 1914-1945" (Ro...
Black explores the forty-one years from the beginning of the Great War in August 1914 to the surrender of Japan in August 1945....
48 min
26
John Givens, "The Image of Christ in Russian Li...
These texts and others, Givens suggests, portray Christ apophatically: that is, by showing who Christ was not, in order to illuminate who Christ therefore must be...
62 min
27
Houri Berberian, "Roving Revolutionaries: Arme...
Houri Berberian uses a transnational or transimperial approach to examine the interconnectedness of 1905 Russian Revolution, the Iranian Revolution and the Young Turk Revolution and the role that Armenian revolutionaries played in each...
53 min
28
Nikolai Krementsov, "With and Without Galton: V...
Krementsov provides a fascinating analysis of the vicissitudes of Russian attempts to improve the human species...
79 min
29
Henning Pieper, "Fegelein’s Horsemen and Genoci...
The SS Cavalry Brigade was a unit of the Waffen-SS that differed from other German military formations as it developed a dual role: SS cavalrymen both helped to initiate the Holocaust in the Soviet Union and experienced combat at the front...
53 min
30
Kate Brown, "Manuel for Survival: A Chernobyl G...
By digging into recently opened regional archives, conducting dozens of interviews, and visiting sites across Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, Brown sought to understand the extent of the damage from the 1986 explosion of Chernobyl’s reactor No. 4.
44 min
31
Eliot Borenstein, "Plots Against Russia: Conspi...
Borenstein discusses popular conspiracy theories such as the Harvard Project and the Dulles Plan, why and how conspiratorial thinking has flourished in post-Soviet Russia
49 min
32
Federico Varese, "Mafias on the Move: How Organ...
What's the connection between globalization and organized crime?
39 min
33
Rósa Magnúsdóttir, "Enemy Number One: The Unite...
Magnusdottir explores depictions of America in post-war Soviet propaganda. While the 1945 “meeting on the Elbe” marked a high point in United States/Soviet friendship, official relations deteriorated quickly thereafter...
61 min
34
Joan Neuberger, "This Thing of Darkness: Eisens...
What goes into producing a work of historical fiction—especially in a dictatorship where the wrong choice, or even the right choice at the wrong moment, can send the unwitting author to the Gulag?
52 min
35
Keith Gave, "The Russian Five: A Story of Espio...
In the late 1980s, Gave was asked by the Detroit Red Wings to reach behind the Iron Curtain and initiate contact with the team's newest draft picks, two players on the Soviet Union's famed Red Army hockey club...
73 min
36
Discussion of Massive Online Peer Review and Op...
In the information age, knowledge is power. Hence, facilitating the access to knowledge to wider publics empowers citizens and makes societies more democratic...
29 min
37
Andrew Sobanet, "Generation Stalin:  French Wri...
How did Rolland, and other French leftists, come to celebrate and actively promote the authoritarian regime of Joseph Stalin?
54 min
38
Alexandre Kojève, "Atheism," trans by Jeff Love...
Ranging across Heidegger, Buddhism, Christianity, German idealism, Russian literature, and mathematics, Kojève advances a novel argument about freedom and authority...
75 min
39
Nicholas Breyfogle, "Eurasian Environments: Nat...
The focus of the volume is contextualizing and “de-exceptionalizing” Russia and the USSR by placing Russian and Soviet environmental history in a global context...
42 min
40
Margaret Peacock, "Innocent Weapons: The Soviet...
Margaret Peacock analyzes the various ways in which images of children were put to use, in Soviet and American Cold War propaganda...
61 min
41
Jessica Trisko Darden, Alexis Henshaw, and Ora ...
Darden, Henshaw, and Szekley investigate the mobilization of female fighters, women’s roles in combat, and what happens to women when conflicts end...
51 min
42
David L. Hoffmann, "The Stalin Era" (Cambridge ...
In his new book The Stalinist Era (Cambridge University Press, 2018), David L. Hoffmann focuses on the myriad ways in which Stalinist practices had their origins in World War I (1914-1918) and Russian Civil War era (1918-1920)...
63 min
43
Hassan Malik, "Bankers and Bolsheviks: Internat...
Lumbering late Tsarist Russia and international finance? Is there anything there?  The Bolsheviks and finance? How can there be anything there?
38 min
44
Michael Cotey Morgan, "The Final Act: The Helsi...
Just when you thought that you knew everything and anything pertaining to the Cold War and the ending of it...
92 min
45
Audra J. Wolfe, "Freedom’s Laboratory: The Cold...
Science’s self-concept as politically neutral and dedicated to empirical observation free of bias has often been at odds with its collaboration with the purposes of the Cold War state...
58 min
46
Till Mostowlansky, "Azan on the Moon: Entanglin...
n eastern Tajikistan, the Trans-Pamir Highway flows through the mountains creating a lunar-like landscape...
57 min
47
Judd C. Kinzley, "Natural Resources and the New...
As public knowledge grows of the Chinese state’s subjugation of the central Asian region of Xinjiang, many may find themselves wondering what Beijing’s interest in this distant region is in the first place.
56 min
48
Jinping Wang, "In the Wake of the Mongols: The ...
On the background of widespread portrayals of China as a monolithic geographical and political entity...
72 min
49
Victoria Smolkin, "A Sacred Space Is Never Empt...
The specter of the “Godless” Soviet Union haunted the United States and continental Western Europe throughout the Cold War...
58 min
50
Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan, "Transition Economies: ...
In his book he also discusses the aspect of human transition. I started our conversation asking ‘transition towards what?’
41 min
51
McKenzie Wark, "General Intellects: Twenty-One ...
McKenzie Wark’s new book offers 21 focused studies of thinkers working in a wide range of fields who are worth your attention...
61 min
52
Alun Thomas, “Nomads and Soviet Rule: Central A...
In his new book, Nomads and Soviet Rule: Central Asia under Lenin and Stalin (I.B. Tauris, 2018), Alun Thomas examines the understudied experiences of Kazakh and Kyrgyz nomads in the NEP period. Thomas begins his book by examining enduring problems nom...
54 min
53
Anindita Banerjee, “Russian Science Fiction Lit...
Russian Science Fiction Literature and Cinema: A Critical Reader (Academic Studies Press, 2018) offers a compelling investigation of the genre whose development was significantly reshaped in the second half of the 20th century.
41 min
54
Claudia Sadowski-Smith, “The New Immigrant Whit...
From Dancing with the Stars to the high-profile airport abandonment of seven-year-old Artyom Savelyev by his American adoptive parents in April 2010, popular representations of post-Soviet immigrants in America span the gamut of romantic anti-Communist...
51 min
55
Jenifer Parks, “The Olympic Games, the Soviet S...
Today we are joined by Jenifer Parks, Associate Professor of History at Rocky Mountain College. Parks is the author of The Olympic Games, the Soviet Sport Bureaucracy, and the Cold War: Red Sport, Red Tape (Lexington Books, 2016),
56 min
56
Roland Philipps, “A Spy Named Orphan: the Enigm...
Donald Maclean was one of the most treacherous and productive – for Moscow spies of the Cold War era and a key member of the infamous “Cambridge Five” spy ring, yet the complete extent of this shy, intelligent,
58 min
57
Gill Bennett, “The Zinoviev Letter: The Conspir...
The Zinoviev Affair is a story of one of the most long-lasting and enduring conspiracy theories in modern British politics, an intrigue that still resonates nearly one-hundred years after it was written. Almost certainly a forgery,
51 min
58
Martin Saxer and Juan Zhang, eds., “The Art of ...
China’s growing presence in all of our worlds today is felt most keenly by those living directly on the country’s borders. They, together with the Chinese people who also inhabit the borderlands, are parties to a dazzling array of of China-driven trans...
57 min
59
Ivan Simic, “Soviet Influences on Postwar Yugos...
In his new book Soviet Influences on Postwar Yugoslav Gender Policies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), Ivan Simic explores how Yugoslav communists learned, adapted, and applied Soviet gender policies in their efforts to build their own egalitarian society a...
49 min
60
Elizabeth McGuire, “Red at Heart: How Chinese C...
If Sino-Russian relations today sometimes seem bluntly pragmatic, things were not always so, and as imperial dynasties in both countries crumbled one hundred years ago many interactions between these two Eurasian land empires had a decidedly romantic h...
69 min
61
Jonathan Waterlow, “It’s Only a Joke, Comrade! ...
Jonathan Waterlow’s new book It’s Only a Joke, Comrade! Humour, Trust and Everyday Life Under Stalin (1928-1941) (CreateSpace, 2018) delves into the previously understudied realm of humor in the Stalinist period,
61 min
62
Svetlana Stephenson, “Gangs of Russia: From the...
The title of Svetlana Stephenson’s book Gangs of Russia: From the Streets to the Corridors of Power (Cornell UP, 2015) invites a number of questions: How do criminal and legal spheres conflate? Is the cooperation of criminal organizations and legal ins...
35 min
63
Rebecca Reich, “State of Madness: Psychiatry, L...
In her new book, State of Madness: Psychiatry, Literature and Dissent After Stalin (Northern Illinois University Press, 2018), Rebecca Reich argues that Soviet dissident writers used literary narratives to counter state-sanctioned psychiatric diagnoses...
52 min
64
R.W. Davies, et al., “The Industrialisation of ...
The publication of the seventh book of the Industrialisation of Soviet Russia series represents the culmination of a 70-year project that can be traced back to Edward Hallett Carr’s classic series The History of Soviet Russia. In this final volume,
63 min
65
Olga Velikanova, “Mass Political Culture Under ...
In her new book, Mass Political Culture Under Stalinism: Popular Discussion of the Soviet Constitution of 1936 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), Olga Velikanova uses a variety of sources, from NKVD reports, reports sent to the Central Committee from various ...
54 min
66
Rachel Morley, “Performing Femininity: Woman as...
In studying the pre-Revolutionary films of Evgenii Bauer, Dr. Rachel Morley (Lecturer in Russian Cinema and Culture at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London) discovered the ubiquity of the female performer as a cha...
48 min
67
Eren Tasar, “Soviet and Muslim: The Institution...
How was the Soviet Union able to avoid issues of religious and national conflict with its large and diverse Islamic population? In his new book, Soviet and Muslim: The Institutionalization of Islam in Central Asia (Oxford University Press, 2017),
53 min
68
John Bushnell, “Russian Peasant Women Who Refus...
In the course of investigating marriage patterns among Russian peasants in the 18th and 19th century, Northwestern University history professor John Bushnell discovered an unusually high rate of unmarried women in particular parishes and villages with ...
72 min
69
Lynne Viola, “Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial: ...
What happened inside NKVD interrogation rooms during the Great Terror? How did the perpetrators feel when the Soviet state turned on them in 1938 during “the purge of the purgers?” In her newest book, Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial: Scenes from the Gr...
49 min
70
Marc Ambinder, “The Brink: President Reagan and...
The Brink: President Reagan and the Nuclear War Scare of 1983 (Simon & Schuster, 2018), by Marc Ambinder, is a history of US-Soviet Relations under Ronald Reagan and an exploration of nuclear command and control operations.
55 min
71
Cynthia A. Ruder, “Building Stalinism: The Mosc...
In Building Stalinism: The Moscow Canal and the Creation of Soviet Space (I. B. Tauris, 2018), Cynthia Ruder explores how the building of the Moscow canal reflected the values of Stalinism and how it was used to create distinctly Soviet space,
57 min
72
Odd Arne Westad, “The Cold War: A World History...
There have been many histories and treatments of the Cold War, few however have the breath, range and definitiveness of Harvard Professor Odd Arne Westad’s new take on the subject: The Cold War: A World History (Basic Books, 2017).
65 min
73
Artemy M. Kalinovsky, “Laboratory of Socialist ...
Artemy Kalinovsky’s new book Laboratory of Socialist Development: Cold War Politics and Decolonization in Soviet Tajikistan (Cornell University Press, 2018) examines post war Soviet Tajikistan, situating Soviet industrial, educational,
54 min
74
A. James McAdams, “Vanguard of the Revolution: ...
Is there a difference between the Communist Party as an idea and the Communist Party in practice? A. James McAdams thinks so and takes the global approach to history to write a political and intellectual history of the Communist party.
44 min
75
Anika Walke, “Pioneers and Partisans: An Oral H...
How did Soviet Jews respond to the Holocaust and the devastating transformations that accompanied persecution? How was the Holocaust experienced, survived, and remembered by Jewish youth living in Soviet territory? Anika Walke,
61 min
76
Laurence Bogoslaw, “Russians on Trump: Coverage...
For all the American media coverage of President Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia, what’s rarely heard are the voices of Russians themselves. Russians on Trump: Coverage and Commentary (East View Press, 2018), edited by Laurence Bogoslaw,
52 min
77
Steven J. Zipperstein, “Pogrom: Kishinev and th...
In what has become perhaps the most infamous example of modern anti-Jewish violence prior to the Holocaust, the Kishinev pogrom should have been a small story lost to us along with scores of other similar tragedies. Instead,
48 min
78
Erik Scott, “Familiar Strangers: The Georgian D...
From Stalin’s inner circle to Soviet dinner menus, the small nation of Georgia had a remarkable influence on the politics and culture of the USSR. Erik Scott, author of Familiar Strangers: The Georgian Diaspora and the Evolution of Soviet Empire (Oxfor...
65 min
79
Kimberly A. Francis, “Teaching Stravinsky: Nadi...
Pedagogue, composer, and conductor Nadia Boulanger was a central figure in Igor Stravinsky’s life during the middle part of his career, providing him with support, advice, and a discerning analytical and editorial voice when he was writing some of his ...
68 min
80
Jonathan Daly, “Crime and Punishment in Russia:...
Jonathan Daly is a professor of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His newest book Crime and Punishment in Russia: A Comparative History from Peter the Great to Vladimir Putin (Bloomsbury, 2018),
73 min
81
Natalia Roudakova, “Losing Pravda: Ethics and t...
Natalia Roudakova’s book Losing Pravda: Ethics and the Press in Post-Truth Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2017) explores changes in the world of journalism in Russia in the last fifty years. Drawing from more than a decade of research of various e...
47 min
82
Amelia Glaser, “Stories of Khmelnytsky: Competi...
The cover of Amelia Glaser‘s new edited volume, Stories of Khmelnytsky: Competing Literary Legacies of the 1648 Ukrainian Cossack Uprising (Stanford University Press, 2015), bears a portrait of the formidable Cossack leader by that name.
29 min
83
Valerie Kivelson and Ronald Suny, “Russia’s Emp...
Names can be deceiving. Americans call the area where Moscow’s writ runs “Russia.” But the official name of this place is the “Russian Federation.” Federation of what, you ask? Well, there are a lot of people who live in “Russia” who are in important s...
74 min
84
Tatyana V. Bakhmetyeva, “Mother of the Church” ...
In Mother of the Church: Sofia Svechina, the Salon, and the Politics of Catholicism in Nineteenth-Century Russia and France (Northern Illinois University Press, 2016), Tatyana V. Bakhmetyeva explores an influential figure in the history of Russian Cath...
51 min
85
Christine E. Evans, “Between Truth and Time: A ...
In Between Truth and Time: A History of Soviet Central Television (Yale University Press, 2016), Christine E. Evans reveals that Soviet television in the Brezhnev era was anything but boring. Whether producing music shows such as Little Blue Flame,
57 min
86
Dan Healey, “Russian Homophobia from Stalin to ...
In 2013, when the Russian State Duma passed a law banning the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships to minors, some rushed to boycott Russian vodka. In Russian Homophobia from Stalin to Sochi (Bloomsbury, 2017),
55 min
87
Christopher J. Lee, “Soviet Journey: A Critical...
Kimberly speaks with Dr. Christopher J. Lee about his newest book A Soviet Journey: A Critical Annotated Edition (Lexington Books, 2017). A Soviet Journey was a travel memoir written by South African writer and anti-apartheid activist, Alex La Guma.
56 min
88
Mikhail Epstein, “The Irony of the Ideal: Parad...
In The Irony of the Ideal: Paradoxes of Russian Literature (Academic Studies Press, 2018), Mikhail Epstein offers strategies on how to engage with texts in the current continuum. Based on the subversion of linearity as a principle component of chronolo...
63 min
89
Laura Engelstein, “Russia in Flames: War, Revol...
Russia in Flames: War, Revolution, Civil War, 1914-1921 (Oxford University Press, 2017) is a masterful account of the Russian revolutionary era by Laura Engelstein, Professor Emerita at Yale University. Spanning the pre-revolutionary period immediately...
63 min
90
Andy Bruno, “The Nature of Soviet Power: An Arc...
What can be learned about the Soviet Union by viewing it through an environmental lens? What would an environmental history teach us about power in the Soviet system? What lessons can be drawn from the environmental experience of Soviet communism?
55 min
91
Kevin Bartig, “Sergei Prokofiev’s Alexander Nev...
Kevin Bartig’s new book Sergei Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky (Oxford University Press, 2017) explores multiple facets of one of the most famous film scores of the twentieth century, as well as the cantata Prokofiev adapted from the original music.
53 min
92
Susan Smith-Peter, “Imagining Russian Regions: ...
In Imagining Russian Regions: Subnational Identity and Civil Society in Nineteenth-Century Russia (Brill, 2017), Susan Smith Peter discusses the origins of the creation of distinct provincial identities in European Russia and how this process was encou...
57 min
93
Samantha Lomb, “Stalin’s Constitution” (Routled...
If any place (outside contemporary North Korea) can be called “Totalitarian,” it would be Stalinist Russia. Under the “Greatest Genius of All Time,” Soviet “citizens” enjoyed no free speech, no free press, and no free assembly.
55 min
94
Sarah D. Phillips, “Disability and Mobile Citiz...
In Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Postsocialist Ukraine (Indiana University Press, 2010), Sarah D. Phillips offers a compelling investigation of disability policies and movements in Ukraine after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
45 min
95
Joshua Rubenstein, “The Last Days of Stalin” (Y...
On March 4, 1953, Soviet citizens woke up to an unthinkable announcement: Joseph Stalin, the country’s all-powerful leader, had died of a stroke. In The Last Days of Stalin (Yale University Press, 2016), Joshua Rubenstein recounts the events surroundin...
46 min
96
Yuri Slezkine, “The House of Government: A Saga...
Before the revolution that—very unexpectedly—brought them to power, the Bolsheviks lived nomadic lives. They were always on the run from the authorities. That the authorities were always after them is not really a mystery,
44 min
97
Stephen F. Williams, “The Reformer: How One Lib...
The Reformer: How One Liberal Fought to Preempt the Russian Revolution (Encounter Books, 2017), written by legal scholar Stephen F. Williams, uses a biographic account of the life and career of Vasily Maklakov to explore issues of legality and rule of ...
57 min
98
How Many Revolutions Did Russia Have in 1917?
In the fourth podcast of Arguing History, Mark D. Steinberg and Michael David-Fox discuss the factors driving the Russian Revolutions of 1917. They consider how what is often remembered as two distinct events was in fact a multitude of different revolu...
51 min
99
Michael Flier and Andrea Graziosi, eds. “The Ba...
Language is one of the complex systems facilitating communication; language is a system producing the inside and the outside of the individual’s awareness of self and other. However, language is also a tool for and of ideological battles,
37 min
100
Eric Lee, “The Experiment: Georgia’s Forgotten ...
Eric Lee‘s The Experiment: Georgia’s Forgotten Revolution, 1918-1921 (Zed Books, 2017) is about the Georgian Social Democratic/ Menshevik Revolution that took place in 1918. As the world celebrates the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution,
49 min
101
Rebecca Mitchell, “Nietzsche’s Orphans: Music, ...
At the close of the nineteenth century, Europe was teeming with apocalyptic dreams of destruction and renewal. In Nietzsche’s Orphans: Music, Metaphysics, and the Twilight of the Russian Empire (Yale University Press, 2015),
68 min
102
Robert W. Cherny, “Victor Arnautoff and the Pol...
Best remembered today for his work as a muralist, the Russian-American artist Victor Arnautoff lived a life worthy of Hollywood. In Victor Arnautoff and the Politics of Art (University of Illinois Press, 2017),
54 min
103
Mykola Soroka, “Faces of Displacement: The Writ...
Mykola Soroka’s Faces of Displacement: The Writings of Volodymyr Vynnychenko (McGill-Queens University Press, 2012) is a compelling investigation of the oeuvre of one of the Ukrainian writers whose dramatic literary career offers insights not only into...
49 min
104
Julia Mickenberg, “American Girls in Red Russia...
In American Girls in Red Russia: Chasing the American Dream (University of Chicago Press, 2017), Julia Mickenberg tells the story of women both famous and unknown, committed radicals and adventure seekers who went to the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1...
75 min
105
Adriana Helbig, “Hip Hop Ukraine: Music, Race, ...
In 2004, during the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, Adriana Helbig saw African musicians rapping in Ukrainian and wearing embroidered Ukrainian ethnic costumes. Her curiosity about how these musicians came to be performing during the protests led to her ...
46 min
106
Jacob Emery, “Alternative Kinships: Economy and...
In Alternative Kinships: Economy and Family in Russian Modernism (Northern Illinois University Press, 2017), Jacob Emery presents literary texts as intersections of aesthetic, social, and economic phenomena.
47 min
107
Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez, “The Soviet-Is...
The title of Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez‘s The Soviet-Israeli War, 1967-1973: The USSR’s Intervention in the Egyptian-Israeli Conflict (Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2017), tells you that this is a revisionist history,
58 min
108
Franz Nicolay, “The Humorless Ladies of Border ...
What is the punk music scene like in Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, or Mongolia? Who listens to punk in Eastern Europe and in the Balkans? What kind of venues host punk shows? Punk musician and writer Franz Nicolay explores these questions ...
42 min
109
Steven Seegel, “Mapping Europe’s Borderlands: R...
Since the publication of this book five years ago, Steven Seegel has become a leading authority on map-making in the Russian Empire with particular expertise on the western borderlands.Mapping Europe’s Borderlands: Russian Cartography in the Age of Emp...
57 min
110
Andrew Sloin, “The Jewish Revolution in Belorus...
In The Jewish Revolution in Belorussia: Economy, Race, and Bolshevik Power (Indian University Press, 2017), Andrew Sloin, Assistant Professor of History at Baruch College of the City University of New York,
59 min
111
Jonathan Schlesinger, “A World Trimmed with Fur...
Jonathan Schlesinger‘s new book makes a compelling case for the significance of Manchu and Mongolian sources and archival sources in particular in telling the story of the Qing empire and the invention of nature in its borderlands.
65 min
112
James Heinzen, “The Art of the Bribe: Corruptio...
The Soviet Union under Stalin was very repressive. You could get sent to a GULAG (if not shot) for casually telling an “anti-Soviet” joke or pilfering ubiquitous “state property.” But, as James Heinzen points out in his excellent book The Art of the Br...
62 min
113
William D. Prigge, “Bearslayers: The Rise and F...
In 1959, approximately 2,000 members of the the Latvian Communist Party were purged for “nationalist tendencies.” However, the causes of their rise and their fall reached all the way to the Soviet Politburo in Moscow.
94 min
114
Rebecca Gould, “Writers and Rebels: Literature ...
Rebecca Gould‘s Writers and Rebels: Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus (Yale University Press, 2016) is the first existing comparative study of Chechen, Dagestani and Georgian literatures and a major contribution to the study of the cultures of t...
64 min
115
Eugene Raikhel, “Governing Habits: Treating Alc...
Alcoholism is a strange thing. That it exists, no one seriously doubts. But it’s not entirely clear (diagnostically speaking) what it is, who has it, how they get it, or how to treat it. The answers to these questions depend, apparently,
57 min
116
Melissa Chakars, “The Socialist Way of Life in ...
In The Socialist Way of Life in Siberia: Transformation in Buryatia (Central European University Press, 2014), Melissa Chakars reveals not only how Soviet policies disrupted traditional Buryat ways of life,
44 min
117
Gleb Tsipursky, “Socialist Fun: Youth, Consumpt...
Socialist Fun: Youth, Consumption, and State-Sponsored Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1945-1970 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016) offers a compelling investigation of Soviet leisure culture. Gleb Tsipursky undertakes an unexpected approach t...
54 min
118
Julia Alekseyeva, “Soviet Daughter: A Graphic R...
Julia Alekseyeva’s graphic novel Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution was published by Microcosm Publishing in 2017. This is the intertwining story of two women: Lola, who was born in a Jewish family in Kiev in 1910,
51 min
119
Maria G. Rewakowicz, “Literature, Exile, Alteri...
In Literature, Exile, Alterity: The New York Group of Ukrainian Poets (Academic Studies Press, 2014), Maria G. Rewakowicz explores a unique collaboration of the poets residing in the United States and writing poetry in the Ukrainian language.
61 min
120
Julie Wilhelmsen “Russia’s Securitization of Ch...
In Russia’s Securitization of Chechnya: How War Became Acceptable (Routledge, 2017), a study of the transformations of the image of Chechnya in the Russian public sphere, Julie Wilhelmsen performs a post-structuralist revision of the Copenhagen schools...
49 min
121
Ellie Schainker, “Confessions of the Shtetl: Co...
In Confessions of the Shtetl: Converts from Judaism in Imperial Russia, 1817-1906 (Stanford University Press, 2016), Ellie Schainker, the Arthur Blank Family Foundation Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Emory University,
38 min
122
Laura J. Olson and Svetlana Adonyeva, “The Worl...
The Worlds of Russian Village Women: Tradition, Transgression, Compromise (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013) by Laura J. Olson and Svetlana Adonyeva casts a new look at the traditional representation of Russian women and village life in scholarship....
48 min
123
Edward Cohn, “The High Title of a Communist: Po...
Edward Cohn analyzes changes in Communist Party discipline in the Soviet Union from the Eighteenth Party Congress in 1939 through the 1960s in The High Title of a Communist: Postwar Party Discipline and the Values of the Soviet Regime published by Nort...
57 min
124
Violeta Davoliute, “The Making and Breaking of ...
In The Making and Breaking of Soviet Lithuania: Memory and Modernity in the Wake of War, published by Routledge, Violeta Davoliute calls Lithuania an improbably successful and paradoxically representative case study of 20th century modernization and na...
61 min
125
Chris Miller, “The Struggle to Save the Soviet ...
One of the most interesting questions of modern history is this: Why is it that Communist China was able to make a successful transition to economic modernity (and with it prosperity) while the Communist Soviet Union was not?
50 min
126
Victor Taki, “Tsar and Sultan: Russian Encounte...
Victor Taki’s Tsar and Sultan: Russian Encounters with the Ottoman Empire (I.B. Taurus, 2016) invites the reader to explore the captivating story of the relationship of the Russian and Ottoman Empires in the 19th century,
60 min
127
Jonathan Brooks Platt, “Greetings, Pushkin! Sta...
Greetings, Pushkin! Stalinist Cultural Politics and the Russian National Bard (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016) by Jonathan Brooks Platt explores the national celebrations around the centennial anniversary of Pushkin’s death in 1937.
61 min
128
Matthew Pauly, “Breaking the Tongue: Language, ...
Matthew Pauly’s Breaking the Tongue: Language, Education, and Power in Soviet Ukraine, 1923-1934 (University of Toronto Press, 2014) offers a detailed investigation of the language policy–officially termed Ukrainization–that was introduced in Ukraine d...
69 min
129
Douglas Rogers, “The Depths of Russia: Oil, Pow...
Ever since the accidental discovery of oil in Perm in 1929, the so-called “Second Baku” has been known to be an industrial hub as well as the home to a GULAG labor camp. In post-Soviet times, however, Perm has become a new cultural center on Russia’s m...
49 min
130
Michael David-Fox, “Crossing Borders: Modernity...
It’s been a quarter century since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This anniversary marks a good occasion to ask a seemingly simple question: “What was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?” Was it Russia in a new wrapper?
56 min
131
McKenzie Wark, “Molecular Red: Theory for the A...
McKenzie Wark’s new book begins and ends with a playful call: “Workings of the world untie! You have a win to world!” Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene (Verso, 2015) creates a conversation between work from two very different Soviet and Americ...
61 min
132
Asif A. Siddiqi, “The Red Rockets’ Glare: Space...
In The Red Rockets’ Glare: Spaceflight and the Soviet Imagination, 1857-1957 (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Asif Siddiqi approaches the history of the Soviet space program as a combination of engineering and imagination,
45 min
133
Mark R. Andryczyk, “The Intellectual as Hero in...
In The Intellectual as Hero in 1990s Ukrainian Fiction (University of Toronto Press, 2012), Mark R. Andryczyk takes his readers to an intriguing territory of dense narratives, arising from a complex network of literary, political,
46 min
134
Neil Kent, “Crimea: A History” (Hurst/Oxford UP...
In 2014 Crimea shaped the headlines much as it did some 160 years ago, when the Crimean War pitted Britain, France and Turkey against Russia. Yet few books have been published on the history of the peninsula. For many readers,
64 min
135
Yanni Kotsonis, “States of Obligation: Taxes an...
I have to admit that I was quite intimidated by a book on taxation in imperial Russia. But States of Obligation: Taxes and Citizenship in the Russian Empire and Early Soviet Republics (U. of Toronto Press, 2014) is an award winning book so I decided to...
57 min
136
Benjamin Peters, “How Not to Network a Nation: ...
Something we might think of as the Soviet internet once existed, according to Benjamin Peters‘ new book, and its failure was neither natural nor inevitable. How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (MIT Press,
62 min
137
David Brophy, “Uyghur Nation: Reform and Revolu...
Bringing together secondary and primary sources in a wide range of languages, David Brophy’s new book is a masterful study of the modern history of the Uyghurs, the Turkic-speaking Muslims of Xinjiang. Uyghur Nation: Reform and Revolution on the Russia...
66 min
138
Per Anders Rudling, “The Rise and Fall of Belar...
I don’t often have a chance to read books that focus solely on Belarus, which is exactly why I was intrigued by The Rise and Fall of Belarusian Nationalism, 1906-1931 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015).
68 min
139
Valerie Sperling, “Sex, Politics and Putin: Pol...
The prevalence of media that reinforces a traditional masculine image of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s leader, is at the core of Valerie Sperling‘s analysis of gender norms and sexualization as a means of political legitimacy. Not surprisingly,
57 min
140
Adeeb Khalid, “Making Uzbekistan: Nation, Empir...
In what promises to become a classic, Adeeb Khalid’s (Professor of History, Carleton College), Making Uzbekistan: Nation, Empire, and Revolution in the Early USSR (Cornell University Press, 2015) examines the interaction of nationalism and religious re...
53 min
141
Timothy Nunan, “Humanitarian Invasion: Global D...
The plight of Afghanistan remains as relevant a question as ever in 2016. Just what did the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the international occupation of this country accomplish? Will an Afghan government ever exercise effective control over its ter...
78 min
142
Eileen M. Kane, “Russian Hajj: Empire and the P...
In her gripping new book Russian Hajj: Empire and the Pilgrimage to Mecca (Cornell University Press, 2015), Eileen M. Kane, Associate Professor of History at Connecticut College, presents a compelling narrative of the Russian empire’s patronage of the ...
33 min
143
Guntis Smidchens, “The Power of Song: Nonviolen...
In the late 1980s, the Baltic Soviet Social Republics seemed to explode into song as Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian national movements challenged Soviet rule. The leaders of each of these movements espoused nonviolent principles,
63 min
144
David E. Hoffman’s “The Billion Dollar Spy: A ...
David E. Hoffman‘s The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal (Doubleday, 2015) was first brought to my attention in a superb interview conducted with the author at The International Spy Museum.
53 min
145
David Frick, “Kith, Kin and Neighbors: Communit...
In 1636, King Wladyslaw IV’s quartermaster surveyed the houses of Wilno in advance of the king’s visit to the city. In Kith, Kin and Neighbors: Communities and Confessions in Seventeenth-Century Wilno (Cornell University Press, 2013),
64 min
146
Alexander Etkind, “Warped Mourning: Stories of ...
Theoretical and historical accounts of postcatastrophic societies often discuss melancholia and trauma at length but leave processes of mourning underexplored. In Warped Mourning: Stories of the Undead in the Land of the Unburied (Stanford UP, 2013),
49 min
147
David R. Stone, “The Russian Army in the Great ...
Readers wanting to learn more about the Great War on the Eastern Front can do no better than David R. Stone‘s new work, The Russian Army in the Great War: The Eastern Front, 1914-1917 (University Press of Kansas, 2015).
43 min
148
John-Paul Himka and Joanna Beata Michlic, “Brin...
I’ll be leaving soon to take students on a European travel course. During the three weeks we’ll be gone, in addition to cathedrals, museums and castles, they’ll visit Auschwitz, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and a variety of other Holocau...
70 min
149
Bilyana Lily, “Russian Foreign Policy toward Mi...
The current conflict in Ukraine has reopened old wounds and brought the complexity of Russia’s relationship with the United States and Europe to the forefront. One of the most important factors in relations between the Kremlin and the West has been the...
34 min
150
Thane Gustafson, “Wheel of Fortune: The Battle ...
24 min
151
Jenny Kaminer, “Women with a Thirst for Destruc...
Jenny Kaminer‘s new book, Women with a Thirst for Destruction: The Bad Mother in Russian Culture (Northwestern University Press, 2014) analyzes Russian myths of motherhood over time and in particular, the evolving myths of the figure of the “bad mother...
50 min
152
Alexander Cooley, “Great Game, Local Rules: The...
Central Asia is one of the least studied and understood regions of the Eurasian landmass, conjuring up images of 19th century Great Power politics, endless steppe, and impenetrable regimes. Alexander Cooley,
45 min
153
Angela Stent, “The Limits of Partnership: U.S.-...
In 2005, the Comedy Central Network aired an episode of “South Park” in which one of the characters asked if any “Third World” countries other than Russia had the ability to fly a whale to the moon. During a press conference that took place two years l...
75 min
154
Oliver Ready (trans.), Vladimir Sharov, “Before...
Historical fiction, by definition, supplements the verifiable documentary record with elements of the imagination. Otherwise, it is not fiction but history. These elements often include invented characters, made-up dialogue,
56 min
155
Willard Sunderland, “The Baron’s Cloak: A Histo...
The Russian Empire once extended from the Baltic Sea to the Sea of Japan and contained a myriad of different ethnicities and nationalities. Dr. Willard Sunderland‘s The Baron’s Cloak: A History of the Russian Empire in War and Revolution (Cornell Unive...
66 min
156
Katherine Pickering Antonova, “An Ordinary Marr...
Katherine Pickering Antonova‘s An Ordinary Marriage: The World of a Gentry Family in Provincial Russia (Oxford University Press, 2012) investigates the Chikhachevs, members of the middling nobility in the pre-emancipation era.
55 min
157
Ivo Mijnssen, “The Quest for an Ideal Youth in ...
The Soviet Union once boasted of its unparalleled political participation among youth. Belonging to outwardly political organizations, these Octobrists, Pioneers, and Komsomoltsy often represented the spirit of Soviet youth. They were engaged,
45 min
158
Edmund Levin, “A Child of Christian Blood: Murd...
There is a lot of nasty mythology about Jews, but surely the most heinous and ridiculous is the bizarre notion that “they” (as if Jews were all the same) have long been in the habit of murdering Christian children, draining them of blood,
65 min
159
Filip Slaveski, “The Soviet Occupation of Germa...
For over three years, from June 1941 to late 1944, the German Army and related Nazi forces (the SS, occupation troops, administrative organizations) conducted a Vernichtungskrieg–a war of annihilation–against the Soviet Union on Soviet soil.
68 min
160
Sener Akturk, “Regimes of Ethnicity and Nationh...
What processes must take place in order for countries to radically redefine who is a citizen? Why was Russia able to finally remove ethnicity from internal passports after failing to do so during seven decades of Soviet rule?
63 min
161
Anne Gorsuch, “All This is Your World: Soviet T...
Thirty years after a trip to the GDR, Soviet cardiologist V.I. Metelitsa still remembered mistakenly trying to buy a dress for a ten-year-old daughter in a maternity shop: ‘In our country I couldn’t even imagine that such a specialized shop could exist...
42 min
162
Anna Fishzon, “Fandom, Authenticity, and Opera:...
Pretty much everyone understands what is called the “Cult of Celebrity,” particularly as it manifests itself in the arts. It’s a mentality that privileges the actor over the act, the singer over the song, the painter over the painting, and so on.
54 min
163
Olga Gershenson, “The Phantom Holocaust: Soviet...
Fifty years of Holocaust screenplays and films -largely unknown, killed by censors, and buried in dusty archives – come to life in Olga Gershenson‘s The Phantom Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe (Rutgers University Press, 2013).
71 min
164
Waitman Beorn, “Marching into Darkness: The Weh...
The question of Wehrmacht complicity in the Holocaust is an old one. What might be called the “received view” until recently was that while a small number of German army units took part in anti-Jewish atrocities,
76 min
165
Denis Kozlov, “Novyi Mir: Coming to Terms with ...
In Russia’s collective memory, the Stalin terror is often remembered and referred to by its most grueling year: “1937.” Following Stalin’s death and the shocking revelations about his regime exposed by his successor Nikita Khrushchev,
40 min
166
Peter Savodnik, “The Interloper: Lee Harvey Osw...
For many people, the most important questions about the Kennedy assassination are “Who killed Kennedy?” and, if Lee Harvey Oswald did, “Was Oswald part of a conspiracy?” This is strange, because we know the answers to both questions: Oswald killed Kenn...
54 min
167
Steven Usitalo, “The Invention of Mikhail Lomon...
Mikhail Lomonosov is a well known Russian figure. As poet, geographer, and physicist, Lomonosov enjoyed access to the best resources that 18th century Russia had to offer. As a result, his contributions to Russian arts and sciences were immeasurable.
58 min
168
Robert Gellately, “Stalin’s Curse: Battling for...
It takes two to tango, right? Indeed it does. But it’s also true that someone has got to ask someone else to dance before any tangoing is done. Beginning in the 1960s, the American intellectual elite argued–and seemed to really believe–that the United ...
75 min
169
Kate Brown, “Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic...
Kate Brown‘s Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2013) is a tale of two atomic cities–one in the US (Richland, Washington) and one in the Soviet Union (Ozersk,
54 min
170
Kees Boterbloem, “Moderniser of Russia: Andrei ...
As you can read in any Russian history textbook, a series of seventeenth-century tsars culminating in Peter the Great attempted to “modernize” Russia. This is not false: the Romanovs did initiate a great wave of “Europeanizing” reforms.
62 min
171
Wendy Z. Goldman, “Inventing the Enemy: Denunci...
A period of mass repression and terror swept through the Soviet Union between the years of 1936-39. Following the shocking Kirov assassination and show trials of alleged factory saboteurs, paranoia gripped the nation and culminated in the execution and...
52 min
172
Donald J. Raleigh, “Soviet Baby Boomers: An Ora...
The Cold War was experienced by millions around the world. For many, Soviets were the enemies, and nuclear war the threat. For millions more, however, the Cold War enemies and threats were different. In Soviet Baby Boomers: An Oral History of Russia’s ...
45 min
173
John Earl Haynes, et al., “Spies: The Rise and ...
For decades, the American Right and Left argued about the degree to which the KGB infiltrated the U.S. political and scientific establishment. The Right said “A lot”; the Left said “Much less than you think.
60 min
174
Ben Judah, “Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In ...
Debates about the nature of Putin’s rule abound. Is Putin a hard fisted authoritarian? Is he the master of the power vertical? An arbiter of competing clans? Or something else? In his Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In and Out of Love with Vladimir Put...
54 min
175
Barbara Engel, “Breaking the Ties that Bound: T...
Divorce was virtually impossible in Imperial Russia. The Russian Orthodox Church monopolized matrimony, and it rarely granted divorce except in extraordinary cases of adultery, abandonment, sexual impotence, or exile.
58 min
176
Vladimir Alexandrov, “The Black Russian” (Atlan...
Vladimir Alexandrov‘s new book The Black Russian (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013) tells the epic and often tragic story of Fredrick Bruce Thomas, an African American born to recently freed slaves, who would go on to make a fortune in Russia as a club own...
54 min
177
Eric Lohr, “Russian Citizenship: From Empire to...
Russians have a reputation for xenophobia, that is, it’s said they don’t much like foreigners. According to Eric Lohr‘s new book, Russian Citizenship: From Empire to Soviet Union (Harvard University Press, 2012),
58 min
178
Louis Menashe, “Moscow Believes in Tears: Russi...
Did you see one of Eisenstein’s masterpieces “The Battleship Potemkin” and “Alexander Nevsky” in a Russian or Soviet history class? Were you captivated by Tarkovsky’s brooding long shots in movies such as “Solaris” and “Stalker“?
67 min
179
William Risch, “The Ukrainian West: Culture and...
During the Cold War few Westerners gave much thought to Western Ukraine, and its main city, Lviv. It was what happened in Moscow and St. Petersburg that really mattered, and so if one looked on a map one found city as Lvov,
61 min
180
Meredith Roman, “Opposing Jim Crow: African Ame...
In December 1958, US Senator Hubert H. Humphery recalled that at some point during an eight hour meeting with Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Premier “tore off on a whole long lecture” that the Senator wished he could remember because it was “the best sp...
53 min
181
Michael Gordin, “The Pseudoscience Wars: Imman...
When I agreed to host New Books and Science Fiction and Fantasy there were a number of authors I hoped to interview, including Michael Gordin. This might come as a surprise to listeners, because Michael is neither a science-fiction nor a fantasy author...
60 min
182
Frank Ellis, “The Damned and the Dead: The East...
Frank Ellis’ The Damned and the Dead: The Eastern Front through the Eyes of Soviet and Russian Novelists (University Press of Kansas, 2011) introduces to English-language readers the riches of Soviet war literature and argues that much of that literatu...
52 min
183
Sanjay Subrahmanyam, “Courtly Encounters: Trans...
Sanjay Subrahmanyam‘s new book explores translations across texts, images, and cultural practices in the early modern world. Courtly Encounters: Translating Courtliness and Violence in Early Modern Eurasia (Harvard University Press,
62 min
184
Russell Martin, “A Bride for the Tsar: Bride-Sh...
You probably know the story about the king who issues a call for the most beautiful girls in the land to be presented to him as potential brides in a kind of “bride-show.” And you might think this is just a myth. But actually it’s not.
66 min
185
Dan Healey, “Bolshevik Sexual Forensics: Diagno...
I have long been an admirer of Dan Healey‘s work. His research has opened the world of homosexual desire and the establishment of the gay community in revolutionary Russia and has made an important contribution our understanding of the history of homos...
82 min
186
Douglas Smith, “Former People: The Final Days o...
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Russian nobility numbered about 1.9 million people, or 1.5 percent of the population. The 1917 Revolution and the Russian Civil War would all but obliterate this class, as many nobles were dispossessed,
51 min
187
David Brandenberger, “Propaganda State in Crisi...
Though most people would rightly consider capitalists to be the founders and masters of the science of “marketing,” communists had to try their hands at it as well. In the Soviet Union, they had a particularly “hard sell.” The Party promised freedom,
57 min
188
Mark Steinberg, “St. Petersburg: Fin de Siecle”...
Public discourse in the final decade of Imperial Russia was dominated by images of darkness and dread. Discussions of “these times” and “times of trouble” captured the sense that Russians were living on the “edge of abyss” from which there was “no exit...
60 min
189
Matthew Lenoe, “The Kirov Murder and Soviet His...
On 1 December 1934, Leonid Nikolaev, a disgruntled Bolshevik Party member, shot Sergei Kirov in the back of the head as the Leningrad Party boss approached his office in Smolny. The murder sent shockwaves throughout the Soviet leadership,
83 min
190
Stephen Collier, “Post-Soviet Social: Neolibera...
Pipes matter. That’s right: pipes. Anyone who has spent time in Russia knows that the hulkish cylinders that snake throughout its cities are the lifeblood of urban space, linking apartment block after apartment block into a centralized network.
75 min
191
Richard Sakwa, “The Crisis of Russian Democracy...
Richard Sakwa‘s new book, The Crisis of Russian Democracy: The Dual State, Factionalism, and the Medvedev Succession (Cambridge University Press, 2011), comes at a moment in Russian political history when uncertainty is once again in the headlines and ...
59 min
192
Melissa Caldwell, “Dacha Idylls: Living Organic...
Russians’ dachas are regularly mentioned in a sentence or two in newspaper articles about life in Russia, and many of who have visited the lands of the former Soviet Union have visited dachas. Yet, just as Russians themselves treat dachas as an escape,...
58 min
193
Anna Krylova, “Soviet Women in Combat: A Histor...
We’re all familiar with the film cliche of the little band of soldiers who in ordinary life never would have had met, but who learn to appreciate each other in the battles of World War II. All white, of course: African Americans would have to wait till...
83 min
194
Karen Petrone, “The Great War in Russian Memory...
Historical studies on the European memory of World War I are, to put it mildly, voluminous. There are too many monographs to count on a myriad of subjects addressing the acts of remembrance and commemoration of the so-called war to end all wars.
53 min
195
Stephen White, “Understanding Russian Politics”...
Stephen White‘s Understanding Russian Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2011) begins simply enough: “Russia is no longer the Soviet Union.” While this is a well-known fact, the details of Russia’s postcommunist transition — the emergence of a party...
65 min
196
Francis Spufford, “Red Plenty: Industry! Progre...
Historians are not supposed to make stuff up. If it happened, and can be proved to have happened, then it’s in; if it didn’t, or can’t be documented, then it’s out. This way of going about writing history is fine as far as it goes. It does, however,
63 min
197
Jan Plamper, “The Stalin Cult: A Study in the A...
Jan Plamper begins in his book, The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power (Yale University Press, 2012), with two illuminating anecdotes that demonstrate the power and scope of Stalin’s personality cult. The first comes from Sergei Kavtaradze,
57 min
198
Jeffrey Mankoff, “Russian Foreign Policy: The R...
In this episode, I spoke with Jeffrey Mankoff, an adjunct fellow with the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, and a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York.
58 min
199
Jeff Sahadeo, “Russian Colonial Society in Tash...
Konstantin von Kaufmann, Governor-General of Russian Turkestan from 1867 until his death in 1882, wanted to be buried in Tashkent if he died in office; so that, he said, ‘all may know that here is true Russian soil,
66 min
200
Michael David-Fox, “Showcasing the Great Experi...
People who care about other places (and that’s not everyone) have always thought of Russia as a strange place. It doesn’t seem to “fit.” A good part of Russia is in Europe, but it’s not exactly “European.” Russia has natural resources galore,
69 min
201
Artemy Kalinovsky, “A Long Goodbye: The Soviet ...
It’s been twenty years since the Soviet Union collapsed, and scholars still joust over its long- and short-term causes. Amid the myriad factors–stagnating economy, reform spun out of control, globalization,
64 min
202
Jarrod Tanny, “City of Rogues and Schnorrers: R...
“Ah, nostalgia is such an illness, and what a beautiful illness. There is no medicine for it! And thank God there isn’t.” This was how one of the Soviet Union’s most famous jazz singers and actors, Leonid Utyosov, concluded his memoirs.
59 min
203
Frank Wcislo, “Tales of Imperial Russia: The Li...
When it comes to Russia’s great reformers of the nineteenth century, Count Sergei Witte looms large. As a minster to both Alexander III and Nicholas II, Witte presided over some of the most important economic and political developments in the Old Regim...
81 min
204
Rosamund Bartlett, “Tolstoy: A Russia Life” (Ho...
I vividly recall a time in my life–especially my late teens and early twenties–when I thought I could be anyone but had no idea which anyone to be. For this I blame (or credit) my liberal arts education, which convinced me that there was really nothing...
82 min
205
Andrew Gentes, “Exile, Murder, and Madness in S...
The Russian practice of exiling criminals, dissidents, and other marginal people to the remote corners of Siberia began in the 16th century as the Russian state conquered new lands in the east. Exile to Siberia continued in the Tsarist period and the S...
64 min
206
Vera Tolz, “Russia’s Own Orient: The Politics o...
Everyone knows that the late nineteenth-century Russian Empire was the largest land based empire around, and that it was growing yet- at fifty-five square miles a day, no less. But how did Moscow and St. Petersberg go about making the bewildering array...
66 min
207
Steven Barnes, “Death and Redemption: The Gulag...
Most Westerners know about the Gulag (aka “Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps and Colonies”) thanks to Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s eloquent, heart-wrenching Gulag Archipelago. Since the publication of that book in 1973 (and largely thanks to i...
72 min
208
Rodric Braithwaite, “Afgantsy: The Russians in ...
I was still in high school the year the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, 1979. I remember reading about it in Time magazine and watching President Carter denounce it on TV. The Soviets, everyone said, were bent on ruling the world.
64 min
209
Jonathan Weiler, “Human Rights in Russia: A Dar...
A new documentary by Robin Hessman “My Presteroika” portrays the lives of five individuals who, as children, were raised in the Soviet Union but who now live in post-Soviet society. The documentary describes the challenges they faced as they tried to s...
60 min
210
Charles King, “Odessa: Genius and Death in the ...
“Look up the street or down the street, this way or that way, we only saw America,” wrote Mark Twain to capture his visit to Odessa in 1867. In a way, it’s not too farfetched that Twain saw his homeland in the Black Sea port city. Odessa was very much...
56 min
211
Louis Siegelbaum, “Cars for Comrades: The Life ...
A recent editorial in the Moscow Times declared that in Moscow “the car is king.” Indeed, one word Muscovites constantly mutter is probka (traffic jam). The boom in car ownership is transforming Russian life itself,
60 min
212
Daniel Treisman, “The Return: Russia’s Journey ...
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, journalists, academics, and policymakers have sought to make sense of post-Soviet Russia. Is Russia an emerging or retrograde democracy? A free-market or crony capitalism?
67 min
213
Maria Yatskova, “Miss Gulag” (Neihausen-Yatskov...
In this episode of NBRES, we’re doing something a bit out of the ordinary. Instead of interviewing an author about his or her new book, we are going to talk to filmarkerMaria Yatskova about her documentary film,
39 min
214
Charles Emmerson, “The Future History of the Ar...
I don’t know how many young boys develop a fascination with the world from having a map of the world hung above their beds, but this certainly fits in with the experiences of both Charles Emmerson and myself.
54 min
215
Douglas Rogers, “The Old Faith and the Russian ...
What are ethics? What are morals? How are they constituted, practiced, and regulated? How do they change over time? My own research is informed by these question; so is Douglas Rogers‘. So it was only natural that I would be drawn to Rogers’ new book T...
63 min
216
Laurie Manchester, “Holy Fathers, Secular Sons:...
The lives, let alone the fates, of Imperial Russia’s priesthood have garnered little attention among historians. I think the reason is partially because the research of most Russian historians has been focused on explaining the country’s torturous mode...
53 min
217
Michael A. Reynolds, “Shattering Empires: The C...
Most of us live in a world of nations. If you were born and live in the Republic of X, then you probably speak X-ian, are a citizen of X, and would gladly fight and die for your X-ian brothers and sisters. If, however, you were born and live in...
66 min
218
Christopher Ward, “Brezhnev’s Folly: The Buildi...
At the Seventeenth Komsomol Congress in 1974, Leonid Brezhnev announced the construction of the Baikal-Amur Mainline Railway, or BAM. This “Path to the Future” would prove to be the Soviet Union’s last flirt with socialist gigantism. The cost,
58 min
219
Thomas de Waal, “The Caucasus: An Introduction”...
On August 8, 2008 many Americans learned that Russia had gone to war with a mysterious country called Georgia over an even stranger territory called South Ossetia. Both Georgia and South Ossetia were located not on the southeastern seaboard of the Unit...
46 min
220
Miriam Dobson, “Khrushchev’s Cold Summer: Gulag...
Examinations of the Soviet gulag are a cottage industry in Russian studies. Since 1991, a torrent of books have been published examining the gulag’s construction, management, memory, and legacy. Few scholars, however,
51 min
221
Kenneth Moss, “Jewish Renaissance in the Russia...
For us, every “nation” has and has always had a “culture,” meaning a defining set of folkways, customs, and styles that is different from every other. But like the modern understanding of the word “nation,” this idea of “culture” or “a culture” is not ...
74 min
222
Claudia Verhoeven, “The Odd Man Karakozov: Impe...
Scan the historical literature of the Russian revolutionary movement and you’ll find that Dmitrii Vladimirovich Karakozov occupies no more than a footnote. After all, Karakozov was no great theorist. He led no political organization.
54 min
223
J. Arch Getty, “Ezhov: The Rise of Stalin’s Iro...
When you think of the Great Terror, Stalin immediately comes to mind, and rightly so.But what of Nikolai Ezhov, the man who as head of the NKVD prosecuted Stalin reign of terror? We’ve learned a lot about Ezhov’s involvement in the Terror since the ope...
44 min
224
David Shearer, “Policing Stalin’s Socialism: Re...
The question as to why the leaders of the Soviet Union murdered hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens during the Great Purges is one of the most important of modern history, primarily because it shapes what we are likely to think about communism.
65 min
225
Deborah Kaple, “Gulag Boss: A Soviet Memoir” (O...
Here’s something remarkable: at some point in the future, something you believe to be just fine will be utterly disdained by the greater part of humanity. For instance, it is at least imaginable that one day everyone will believe that zoos were [NB] pr...
59 min
226
Abbott Gleason, “A Liberal Education” (TidePool...
I fear that most people think that “history” is “the past” and that the one and the other live in books. But it just ain’t so. History is a story we tell about the past, or rather some small portion of it. The past itself is gone and cannot, outside...
80 min
227
David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, “Russian Or...
There’s a saying, sometimes attributed to Napoleon, “Scratch a Russian and you find a Tatar.” I’ve scratched a Russian (I won’t say anything more about that) and I can tell you that the saying is false: all I found was more Russian. It’s true,
59 min
228
Norman Naimark, “Stalin’s Genocides” (Princeton...
Absolutely no one doubts that Stalin murdered millions of people in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. His ruthless campaign of “dekulakization,” his pitiless deportation of “unreliable” ethnic groups, his senseless starvation of Ukrainian peasants,
71 min
229
John Steinberg, “All the Tsar’s Men: Russia’s G...
The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 was the most important political event of the twentieth century (no Revolution; no Nazis; no Nazis, no World War II; no World War II, no Cold War). It’s little wonder, then,
69 min
230
Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, “The Anti-Imperial Ch...
I’ve got a name for you: Robert Zimmerman (aka Shabtai Zisel ben Avraham). You’ve heard of him. He was a Jewish kid from Hibbing, Minnesota. But he didn’t (as the stereotype would suggest) become a doctor, lawyer, professor or businessman. Nope,
62 min
231
Charles King, “The Ghost of Freedom: A History ...
There’s a concept I find myself coming back to again and again–“speciation.” It’s drawn from the vocabulary of evolutionary biology and means, roughly, the process by which new species arise. Speciation occurs when a species must adapt to new circumsta...
69 min
232
Rebecca Manley, “To the Tashkent Station: Evacu...
By the time the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the Bolshevik Party had already amassed a considerable amount of expertise in moving masses of people around. Large population transfers (to put it mildly) were part and parcel of buildin...
67 min
233
Kees Boterbloem, “The Fiction and Reality of Ja...
When we speak of the “Age of Discovery,” we usually mean the later fifteenth and sixteenth century. You know, Columbus, Magellan and all that. But the “Age of Discovery” continued well into the seventeenth century as Europeans continued to travel the g...
74 min
234
Simon Morrison, “The People’s Artist: Prokofiev...
In the Soviet Union, artists lived lives that were at once charmed and cursed. Though relatively poor, the USSR poured resources into the arts. The Party created a large, well-funded cultural elite of which only two things were expected. First,
63 min
235
Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, “Jews in the Russian ...
Every Jew knows the story. The evil tsarist authorities ride into the Shtetl. They demand a levy of young men for the army. Mothers’ weep. Fathers’ sigh. The community mourns the loss of its young. It’s a good story, and some of it’s even true.
77 min
236
Andrew Gentes, “Exile to Siberia, 1590-1822” (P...
Being “sent to Siberia” is practically a synonym for exile even in English-speaking countries. Why is this? In his fascinating new book Exile to Siberia, 1590-1822 (Palgrave, 2008), Andrew Gentes explains. And it’s quite a story indeed.
63 min
237
Alex Rabinowitch, “Prelude to Revolution: The P...
It’s hard to know what to think about the Russian Revolution of 1917. Was it a military coup led by a band of ideological fanatics bent on the seizure of power? Was it a popular uprising led by an iron-willed party against a bankrupt political order?
71 min
238
Katy Turton, “Forgotten Lives: The Role of Leni...
A number of years ago I read Robert Service’s excellent biography of Lenin and came away thinking “We don’t really know enough about the women who surrounded Lenin throughout his life.” Katy Turton, a lecturer in modern European history at Queen’s Univ...
63 min
239
John Randolph, “The House in the Garden: The Ba...
John Randolph, assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is our guest on the show this week. His book The House in the Garden: The Bakunin Family and the Romance of Russian Idealism (Cornell University Press,
64 min
240
Robert Gellately, “Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: T...
Today we’re pleased to feature an interview with Robert Gellately of Florida State University. Professor Gellately is a distinguished and widely read historian of Germany, with a particular focus on the Nazi period.
70 min