Category Archives: Post-Soviet Russia

Letters to Max

This intriguing 2014 documentary takes place in an obscure part of the former Soviet Union called Abkhazia – a tiny sub-tropical mountainous region on the coast of the Black Sea (“Letters to Max,” https://vimeo.com/89560258). This country of 242,000 residents, most of … Continue reading

Posted in Nationalism and National Identity, Nostalgia and Memory, Post-Soviet Russia, The Collapse of the Soviet Union | Leave a comment

Dear Stephen Cohen: I Love You; I’m Sorry; You’re Wrong

Steve, I hope you don’t mind an expression of affection from an admirer of a certain age. We’ve never met, but I’ve known you my entire professional life. I came into the field as a Stanford undergraduate in 1987, scared … Continue reading

Posted in Post-Soviet Russia, Ukraine, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

History in the Crimea & Ukraine Today

History is being blithely tossed about these days by everyone from Vladimir Putin himself to Sarah Palin and John McCain. What is the real story? Is there a real story? To answer that question, I invited two eminent historians – … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, Crimea, Current events in the Putin Era, Nostalgia and Memory, Post-Soviet Russia, Russia in World History, Russian History in Popular Culture, Teaching Russian History, Transnational History, Ukraine, Uncategorized, World War II | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Amnesties of Tsar Vladimir

It seems obvious that President Vladimir Putin has chosen to issue the recent amnesties of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Maria Alokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and probably the Greenpeace 30 as a way to generate good will on the eve of his great personal … Continue reading

Posted in Current events in the Putin Era, Historiography, Imperial Russia, Post-Soviet Russia, Teaching Russian History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Russia and ‘Homosexual Propaganda’

Over the past couple of months, I have been following with increasing apprehension the news from Russia about its treatment of its gay population. Yesterday, a blogger at Gawker summarized the recent events in a good (but disturbing) entry.  I … Continue reading

Posted in Current events in the Putin Era, Post-Soviet Russia | Leave a comment

Mikhalkov as monarchist and Slavophile – his 2010 Manifesto “Right and Truth” (Право и Правда)

In October 2010 influential filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov published an extensive “Manifesto of Enlightened Conservatism” which was published as “Right and Truth” in polit.ru. (Read in Russian here.) The defense of serfdom attributed to Mikhalkov, which I posted yesterday, may well … Continue reading

Posted in Current events in the Putin Era, Films, Imperial Russia, Nostalgia and Memory, Post-Soviet Russia, Russia in World History, Russian History in Popular Culture, Russian Orthodoxy, Teaching Russian History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov Praises the “Wisdom of Serfdom”

According to a website called “Tsenzor.Net” filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov told a group of journalists that he is preparing to make a film praising serfdom as “the wisdom of the nation.” His comments show a romanticization of history that is pretty … Continue reading

Posted in Current events in the Putin Era, Films, Historiography, Imperial Russia, Nostalgia and Memory, Post-Soviet Russia, Russian History in Popular Culture, Teaching Russian History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Miss Gulag

Our university is holding a Russian documentary film series. We showed one of the films that I reviewed here earlier (http://russianhistoryblog.org/author/andy/page/2/). Our next film is called Miss Gulag, produced in 2007 and directed by Maria Yatskova (for an interview with … Continue reading

Posted in Films, Gender and Sexuality, Nostalgia and Memory, Post-Soviet Russia | 4 Comments

The Nuclear Age: A New Documentary

People often say we live in the “nuclear age,” but what that means is never entirely clear. A new documentary produced by a former ABC newsman captures the spirit, or rather spirits, of that era – from its beginnings in … Continue reading

Posted in Chernobyl, Cold War, Films, Post-Soviet Russia, Russia in World History, Russian Orthodoxy | 2 Comments

Marina Goldovskaya: Chronicler of the Post-Brezhnev Era

My post is about a film festival that was held on my campus on March 18. We screened three documentary films by documentary filmmaker Marina Goldovskaya. I emerged from the event, and also after reading her autobiography, convinced of the … Continue reading

Posted in Films, Perestroika, Post-Soviet Russia | 1 Comment

Three Songs About Motherland

My university (California State University, Long Beach) is screening a number of documentary films about Russia this semester, including three films from the esteemed documentary film maker Marina Goldovskaya: A Taste of Freedom (1991, 46 min.), A Bitter Taste of Freedom … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, Films, Nostalgia and Memory, Post-Soviet Russia, Soviet Era 1917-1991, Teaching Russian History | 1 Comment

Pussy Riot Arrest and Byzantine Church-State Relations Today

[http://www.1tvnet.ru/images/news_pic_Krasotin%2520sam%2520skoro%2520nauchitsya/735776%20(1).gif] Five members of the feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot have been arrested for a “punk prayer” at the Church of the Savior in Moscow. Two are being held until late April with threats of sentences up to seven … Continue reading

Posted in Current events in the Putin Era, Imperial Russia, Nostalgia and Memory, Post-Soviet Russia, Russian Orthodoxy, Teaching Russian History | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Parodies of the Putin Spectacle

On Friday, I gave a talk called “Putin: Spectacle and Anti-Spectacle” with several clips from some amazing videos.    Here’s a really funny one that RH readers might enjoy:  “I work in United Russia”     It is clearly a spoof on … Continue reading

Posted in Post-Soviet Russia, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Putin, the Russian Protests, and Historical Parallels

My thanks to Elizabeth Wood, who follows up on her blog essay for the Boston Globe, which I referenced in an earlier post, with a pointer to some other interesting articles on the web. So, the remainder of this post … Continue reading

Posted in Post-Soviet Russia | 2 Comments

Russian Airborne veterans against Vladimir Putin

Here is a great item related to the Russian protests making the you tube rounds (I picked this up via facebook from Peter Holquist). Below is a very rough translation provided on the youtube site. For a better translation, see … Continue reading

Posted in Post-Soviet Russia, YouTube in Russian History Classes | Leave a comment

On the (Mis)application of Russian History to an Analysis of the Protests

Many of you no doubt know of the work of MIT’s Elizabeth Wood. She has turned her attention in recent years from Russian revolutionary gender politics and early Soviet propaganda trials to the cult of Putin in contemporary Russia. Wood … Continue reading

Posted in Post-Soviet Russia, Russian History in Popular Culture | 1 Comment

Gagarin Coin

My man Yuri Gagarin gets another Russian coin from the Russian Central Bank in honor of the flight’s 50th anniversary last April. He remains one of the few official Soviet heroes to merit being put on a post-Soviet piece of … Continue reading

Posted in Nostalgia and Memory, Post-Soviet Russia, Soviet and Russian Space Flight | 2 Comments

The Summer of Terror

I just showed a documentary for a group of students here at Long Beach State by Julia Ivanova entitled “Moscow Freestyle.” Completed in 2006, it provides an interesting perspective on the terrifying summer of 2004 in Moscow — and one … Continue reading

Posted in Post-Soviet Russia, Teaching Russian History, Terrorism | 4 Comments

Gagarin as Christ

Adding to the previous thread of comments about Gagarin and religion, perhaps the most striking amendment to the Gagarin legend since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been his re-imagination as a devout Russian Orthodox Christian. I often heard … Continue reading

Posted in Post-Soviet Russia, Russian Orthodoxy, Soviet and Russian Space Flight | 4 Comments

The Russian Concept?

I’ve just seen an engaging 2010 documentary entitled the “Russian Concept” (for a trailer see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-l66s2Fglk). Based on interviews with artists, art collectors and esteemed art historians, the documentary provides a short and entertaining survey of art little known to … Continue reading

Posted in Films, Post-Soviet Russia, Russian and Soviet Art, Soviet Era 1917-1991 | 4 Comments