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Even for people who live in a country as diverse as the United States, it is difficult to fathom the complexity of Russia’s multiethnic, multiconfessional society. Kefeli digs deep into the history of the Tatar people of the Middle Volga region to weave a complex tale of assimilation and conversion.
Exploring the lives of Bulgarian partisans who fought against the German-allied government during World War II, only to help bring Bulgaria under Soviet domination, Ghodsee asks big questions: What ideals drove them under the communist system? And how did they square the good they saw in that system with its excesses?
Franklin Roosevelt’s relationship with Joseph Stalin has been well plumbed by historians, but Butler brings intimacy and texture to the topic. She puts special emphasis on Roosevelt’s near-obsessive commitment to the establishment of the UN and his determination to preserve cooperation with the Soviet Union after the war.
Governments, especially that of the United States, often hold up their involvement in the 2000 Serbian revolution as an example of successful democracy assistance. But Spoerri concludes that outsiders played at best a marginal role in the events, and at times they actually hurt their own cause.
Wilson, one of the most astute students of Ukrainian politics, briskly reviews the drama that has unfolded in Ukraine during the past year, from the Maidan demonstrations to Russian moves into Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
At first blush, there would seem to be a wide gap between a “presidential decree” in the Russian context and an “executive order” issued by a U.S. president. Remington, however, makes precisely that comparison.
The image of Russian civil society as passive and cowed by the Kremlin misses the mark, Greene argues in this subtle and well-substantiated study.
Grynaviski challenges conventional wisdom by arguing that international cooperation is often the product of misunderstandings rather than shared views.
In Hartley's book, Siberia emerges as an intricate, colorful mosaic, not a barren black-and-white photo.
The bulk of the book concerns money—dirty money, in massive quantities—and the marvelously circuitous ways it has been amassed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and those around him.
In Kotkin's masterful biography—the first entry in a planned trilogy—Stalin emerges as a more vivid and complete figure than he does in countless other accounts.
Becirevic walks the reader through the controversy surrounding the concept and definition of “genocide,” then makes an energetic case that the term applies to the war waged by Serbian forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992–95.
Rangelov explores how nationalist excesses undo the rule of law -- and how the rule of law, when properly defended, can tame nationalism.
Although the international communist movement’s abject servility to Joseph Stalin has been well documented, it is still stunning to read about the contortions that communists all over the world undertook to placate the Soviet leader.
Sunderland blends Ungern-Sternberg’s life story with an exquisite portrait of the far-flung reaches of the Russian empire -- the tale of one man encountering historic change in almost incomprehensibly complex surroundings.
In 1939, Hitler and Stalin had concluded a pact promising not to interfere in each other’s aggressive military campaigns. Moorhouse captures the essence of the wretched deal better than anyone has before.
Sakwa uses the story of Khodorkovsky’s spectacular rise and fall to pry open the inner workings of the Russian political system.
Schrad argues that vodka played a central role in shaping Russian history. For centuries, vodka has served as a cynically employed instrument of power, a key to state finance, and a source of Russian society’s backwardness.
Leroux-Martin reflects on the way that, for outside peace makers, the aftermath of a war can pose challenges almost as great as the war itself.
Using recently released documents, Plokhy traces the complex events that led to the Soviet Union’s implosion and profiles the principal actors, revealing that their roles were far more complicated than is generally assumed.
True spy stories are good fun, and this one -- relating the madcap efforts of a small band of British intelligence agents sent into Russia during World War I -- is better than most.
For one shining period, the shtetls of eastern Europe were not the melancholy, ramshackle places familiar from Fiddler on the Roof. On the contrary, until the 1840s, shtetls were economically vibrant, culturally diverse, lively merchant communities.
Wolmar is a historian of railroads, and he recounts the vital role that the Trans-Siberian Express played in saving the Soviet Union during World War II.
The crisis in Ukraine has pushed Moscow and the West into a new Cold War. For both sides, the top priority must now be to contain the conflict, ensuring that it ends up being as short and as shallow as possible.
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