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1815: The Holy Alliance
September 01, 2015

1815: The Holy Alliance

By Tamara Eidelman

The idea of a Holy Alliance was dear to Alexander’s religious heart. He believed that God would protect legitimate rulers. The Holy Alliance did not quite work out that way.

Nobel Passions
September 01, 2015

Nobel Passions

By Tamara Eidelman

For the people of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, or the Russian Federation, it has always been exceptionally important who among their fellow citizens was awarded a Nobel Prize and who was not. We look back at 100 years of awards.

Did Stakhanov Act Alone?
August 30, 2015

Did Stakhanov Act Alone?

By Eugenia Sokolskaya

Alexei Stakhanov mined 102 tons of coal in under 6 hours, sparking the Stakhanovite movement. But did he really do it all by himself, by his own initiative? The son of a miner from Blagoveshchensk recalls evidence of unnamed assistants and fishy bureaucratic orders.
 

Caught in the Crossfire: The Annexation of Estonia
August 09, 2015

Caught in the Crossfire: The Annexation of Estonia

By Eugenia Sokolskaya

After just 22 years of independence, in 1940 Estonia was overrun by Soviet troops. The Estonian Socialist Republic was set up in the wake of th Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in violation of nearly all existing legislation. And Stalinism's evils had the Estonians, just a year later, greeting German invaders with open arms. But trading one totalitarian dictator for another didn't solve the problem.
 

The Tower of (Isaac) Babel
July 13, 2015

The Tower of (Isaac) Babel

July 13 is the anniversary of Isaac Babel's birth. Now celebrated as one of teh great writers of the twentieth century, he had a very difficult time gaining acceptance during his lifetime, and repeatedly suffered from antisemitism, official and otherwise.

War and Peace: 7 Fun Facts
July 01, 2015

War and Peace: 7 Fun Facts

By Eugenia Sokolskaya

How many characters are in Tolstoy's War and Peace? Could it have been any shorter? Did Tolstoy himself love it or hate it? Find out the answers to these – and more! – questions in this quick list of little-known War and Peace facts.

Trotsky's End
July 01, 2015

Trotsky's End

By Levi Bridges

Seventy-five years ago this August, Leon Trotsky was brutally murdered while living in exile in Mexico. Levi Bridges visited the scene of the crime, now a veritable shrine to the Bolshevik leader.

Between Two Worlds
July 01, 2015

Between Two Worlds

By Nicky Gardner

During the tsarist era, Russians’ perceptions of themselves were powerfully shaped by travelogues about the world that lay beyond the empire’s borders.

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