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Archive for the tag “Soviet Union”

How A Great Power Falls Apart

All countries end. Every society has its own rock bottom, obscured by darkness until impact is imminentAlready in the sixth century, Amalrik wrote, goats were grazing in the Roman Forum. As a theorist of his own condition, he was in many ways a fatalist. He believed that the Soviet Union lacked the nimbleness to engage in system-shaking reform and still survive, and he was correct.

Read Here – Foreign Affairs

The Jokes Always Saved Us: Humour In The Time Of Stalin

Stalinism. The word conjures dozens of associations, and ‘funny’ isn’t usually one of them. The ‘S-word’ is now synonymous with brutal and all-encompassing state control that left no room for laughter or any form of dissent. And yet, countless diaries, memoirs and even the state’s own archives reveal that people continued to crack jokes about the often terrible lives they were forced to live in the shadow of the Gulag.

Read Here – Aeon

The Island That Changed History

There was once an uninhabited islet lying close to the Chinese side of the Ussuri River, which marks the border between Russia and China in the Far East. “Was,” because it has since attached itself to the Chinese bank in a defiant act of geographic irony. But during the turbulent spring of 1969 this little islet — called Damansky in Russian and Zhenbao Dao in Chinese — was the stage for a game-changing encounter.

Read Here – The New York Times

How U.S., Soviets, India, Pakistan Vied To Shape A New Afghanistan In Late 1980s

U.S. Ambassadors Dean and Raphel warned Washington unconditional support to Pakistan and fundamentalist factions of mujahedin was destabilising the region. The Reagan administration supported India’s active role in connection with Soviet withdrawal, but changed position when Delhi tried to keep extreme fundamentalists from coming to power. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program was major Indian concern in connection with U.S. aid to Islamabad; New Delhi and Washington consulted closely on arms control, cables show.

Read Here – U.S. National Security Archives

The New Disappeared

From the military juntas that ruled Argentina and Chile in the 1970s and 1980s to Joseph Stalin’s iron-fisted regime in the Soviet Union, dictatorships have a long history of making their detractors “disappear.” Today, this sinister practice seems to be making a comeback.

Read Here – Project Syndicate

Trump’s Soviet Approach To Intelligence

Collecting intelligence for someone who doesn’t want it is at best a waste of money, and at worst a prescription for disaster. Again, the Soviet example is a good one. In the lead-up to the second World War, and repeatedly during the war years, the Soviet Union squandered intelligence from the best spy network ever. Perhaps the biggest geo-strategic blunder in history was the Soviet failure to anticipate Operation Barbarossa, the 1941 Nazi invasion which almost led to the annihilation of the Soviet state.

Read Here – The Atlantic

It’s time India Got Real About Its Ties With Russia

File picture showing Russian President Vladimir Putin with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

There is little indication that Putin views India in sentimental terms, unlike an earlier generation of Russian officials exemplified by former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov or the late Russian envoy Alexander Kadakin. India’s high-profile and sustained outreach to Moscow in 2018 is not a reversion to an imagined past.

Read Here – The Hindustan Times

Russia Struggles To Mourn the Romanovs 100 Years On

The death of Nicholas II and the Romanov family remains a controversial moment in Russia’s history. Tsarism and Bolshevism are — for the most part — not presented as conflicting forces in a battle in which one order defeated another. Rather, tsars, Bolsheviks and later communists, are seen as a succession of “greats.” In Moscow, visitors can admire the glamour and grandeur of the tsars at the Historical Museum in the Red Square before lining up for the Lenin Mausoleum only a few steps away.

Read Here – The Moscow Times

They Saved Hitler’s Skull. Or Did They?

Seventy-three years ago, on Monday, Adolf Hitler killed himself in his Berlin bunker alongside his wife of one day, Eva Braun. With the Red Army closing in, their bodies were hastily burned and buried in a shell crater in the nearby garden. That’s the official story anyway.

Read Here – Slate

A Soviet Nerve Agent Triggers A New Cold War

The poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter earlier this month has significantly worsened already tense relations between Moscow and the West. The crime marks the first chemical weapons attack on Western Europe since the end of World War II. 

Read Here – Der Spiegel

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