by Rebecca Johnston On August 18, 1921, Anatoly Lunacharsky, the People’s Commissar of Enlightenment, wrote a letter to Jozef Unszlicht, a founding member of the Cheka, the Bolsheviks’ revolution-era secret police that eventually morphed into the KGB. As Commissar of Enlightenment, Lunacharsky was accountable for the educational, artistic, and creative development of all of Soviet […]
by Charley Binkow How does a nation fight a war of ideas? When the battlefield is popular opinion, how does a state arm itself? In 1949, the United States found its answer. Their weapon: the airwaves. The CIA launched Radio Free Europe in 1949 with the hopes of encouraging Eastern Europeans to defect from the […]
My mother, Rae Straw, and her friend Pam had an odd assignment in 1979 for two travel agents from Houston: selling the Soviet Union to American tourists. For travel agents, such familiarization or “FAM” trips were a regular occurrence, but going to the Soviet Union during the preparations for the 1980 Moscow Olympics was a unique experience.
Four great books and three great documentaries about the history and people of Siberia.
On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the world’s first artificial satellite, into earth’s orbit. Traveling at around 18,000 MPH, the spherical device circled the earth every 93 minutes, transmitting radio pulses from its protruding antennae around the globe.
We are celebrating Women’s History Month this year with recommendations of new books in Women’s History from some of our faculty and graduate students. From third-century North Africa to sixteenth-century Mexico to the twentieth-century in Russia and the US, and more…
On October 19, 1812, 200 years ago today, Napoleon Bonaparte was forced to admit that he had failed to defeat Russia and would have to abandon Moscow. The retreat that followed became the symbol of the suffering and folly of warfare for the rest of the century.
Pussy Riot, the Russian punk band whose members have been sent to prison for performing a protest song in Moscow’s central cathedral, has been wildly successful at focusing international attention on political corruption and repression under President Vladimir Putin.
Acclaimed British historian Antony Beevor’s recently published The Second World War is a masterful account of the worst conflict in human history, when truly the entire world became engulfed in the flames of war. Having written previously on various aspects of the era, Beevor’s work attempts to synthesize his prior research into a detailed narrative of World War II.
Published nearly ten years after the fall of the Soviet Union, this anthology explores the peculiarities of a culture that continues to fluctuate.