Rodric Braithwaite, “Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan, 1979-89” (Oxford UP, 2011)
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.… Read More
Jonathan Weiler, “Human Rights in Russia: A Darker Side of Reform” (Lynne Rienner, 2004)
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… Read More
Charles King, “Odessa: Genius and Death in the City of Dreams” (W.W. Norton, 2011)
“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… Read More
Louis Siegelbaum, “Cars for Comrades: The Life of the Soviet Automobile” (Cornell UP, 2008)
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, and for some not necessarily… Read More
Daniel Treisman, “The Return: Russia’s Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev” (Free Press, 2011)
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? Adopting Western values or forever steeped in Asiatic mores?… Read More
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