We have a wide range of interviews recommending books on the history, politics and culture of Russia.
Andrei Maylunas chooses his best books on pre-Revolutionary Russia. Roland Chambers chooses his best books on the Russian Revolution and Thomas Keneally chooses his best books on Revolutionary Russia. Both recommend A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution by Orlando Figes Francis Spufford chooses his best books on the country in the 20th -century and Robert Conquest chooses his best books on Communism. Stephen Lucas chooses his best books on Soviet Law and Lyubov Vinogradova chooses her best books from the KGB Archives. Robert Service chooses his best books on totalitarian Russia. Anna Reid chooses her best books on the Siege of Leningrad.
Turning to the more recent history and politics of the country, Simon Pirani chooses his best books on Putin’s Russia and Martin Sixsmith looks at why Russia isn’t a democracy. Thomas de Waal looks at conflict in the Caucasus. A number of other interviews also deal with Russia’s relationship with its periphery. Vanora Bennett chooses her best books on Chechnya and the poet, Nigan Hasan-Zadeh, chooses her best books on Azerbaijan.
On more cultural and literary themes, Michael Nicholson chooses his best books on Solzhenitsyn and Maxim D Shrayer his best books on Vladimir Nabokov and on Vasily Grossman. Rosamund Bartlett chooses the best Russian short stories.
The Russian revolution was the beginning of the modern age, says award-winning author Roland Chambers. He tells us what Solzhenitsyn imagined Lenin was like, and about the children’s author who led a double life as a spy in Bolshevik Russia.
Russia at War
by Alexander Werth
A Writer At War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945
by Vasily Grossman, translated by Antony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova
Reflections on the Russian Soul
by Dmitry Likhachov
Less Than One
by Joseph Brodsky
Conversations with Stalin
by Milovan Djilas
Robert Chandler, one of the best known translators of Russian literature, recommends some of his favourite tales of Soviet Russia. There’s the one about a dog in space and the one about the Soviet café which stocked nothing but champagne and Mars bars…
Reading about Russia’s 20th century is like finding another vision of how the world might have been. Francis Spufford, author of Red Plenty, recommends books that tell the story of Russia in the last century — from Soviet science fiction set in capitalist wastelands to Khrushchev as raconteur.
Robert Service, Professor of Russian Studies at Oxford, when forced to choose between Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin, says Stalin was definitely the worst of the lot. He takes a look at the dynamics of totalitarian Russia, gleaning insights from Thucydides to Orwell.
Best-selling author Thomas Keneally explains that the Cold War biographies couldn’t afford to say that Stalin was attractive, or that Lenin was magnetic, but they were, because otherwise people wouldn’t have followed them. He picks some great introductions to Revolutionary Russia.