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Soviet Union



  • Look to Russia's Civil War to Explain Current Carnage in Ukraine

    by Adam Hochshild

    The brutality of the Russian war against Ukraine shows few of the linguistic, ethnic, or religious markers that have often accompanied human rights abuses by armies. Thinking of the conflict as a war to maintain empire explains the scope and nature of violence.


  • Russians' Disapproval of Gorbachev Shouldn't Dominate How He is Remembered

    by Walter G. Moss

    The combination of post-Soviet hardship, resurgent nationalism, and the destructiveness of the Ukraine war have led many Americans to embrace Russians' dim view of Mikhail Gorbachev. A historian of Russia says the leader had his faults, but his furtherance of humane values has been underrated. 



  • Gorbachev Became a Hero to the West Through Massive Failure

    by Erik Loomis

    Americans need to evaluate Gorbachev outside of their own nationalist perspective, despite feeling that the end of the Cold War was a good thing. The people he affected most see him as a failure. 



  • Gorbachev Never Understood What He Set in Motion

    by Anne Applebaum

    Sometimes seen as a visionary reformer, Gorbachev may have started the USSR's economic death spiral by restricting the sale of vodka to increase worker productivity. 



  • Gorbachev's Greatness Was in His Failure

    by Tom Nichols

    Gorbachev's personal decency made him the wrong man for his chosen task of saving Soviet Communism from collapse; today his reputation is far higher in the west than in the former USSR. 



  • Gorbachev's Vacuum: His Legacy and Russia's Wars

    by Michael Kimmage

    The last Soviet leader failed to intuit the ultimate consequences of the changes he unleashed, from the collapse of the USSR to the revival of Russian imperialsm. 



  • "We Need New Stories of Post-Soviet Jews"

    A team of historians and Jewish and Russian Studies scholars introduce a project to examine the more recent history of Jews in the former Soviet Union. 


  • Putin is Carrying on Stalin's War on Self-Determination

    by Uriel Abulof

    Before Woodrow Wilson, Lenin advanced the ideal of national self-determination as part of communist revolution. Stalin made the term a cynical tool of Russian imperialism, a move Putin's approach to Ukraine emulates. 



  • A Tale of Two Dictators: Putin's Relationship to Stalin's Legacy

    by Simon Sebag Montefiore

    Despite their ideological incompatibility, Putin's nationalism depends on the cult of fear and repressive apparatus of the Stalinist era, which was never comprehensively demolished after the fall of Communism. 



  • Will Putin Learn from Stalin's Mistakes over Korea?

    by Gregory Mitrovich

    Stalin's support for the North Korean invasion of the south galvanized Western opposition and ensured that the Cold War would be militarized, instead of remaining a diplomatic and economic conflict. In the long run, the Soviets lost. 



  • How Empires Fall

    by Matt Wehmeier

    "Decisive political moments are rarely expected, and even more rarely planned. Governments change all the time. But every once in a while, empires fall."



  • The US Repeated Mistakes of the Past in Afghanistan

    by Ali A. Olomi

    "By flooding Afghanistan with payoffs, bribes and aid, the British created a system of endemic corruption in which local chieftains and favorable bureaucrats would enrich themselves while the rest of the country remained relatively poor."