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On December 2, 1805, the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte achieved his most spectacular victory at the Battle of Austerlitz against an allied army of Russians and Austrians. The battle is remembered for its brilliance and savagery and was immortalized in Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. On the blood-stained slopes of the Pratzen Heights, Prince Andrei Bolkansky—wounded and looking up at…

The following is an interview with Daniel J. Mahoney, the Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship at Assumption College, about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Between Two Millstones: Book 1: Sketches of Exile, 1974-1978 which was published by the University of Notre Dame Press in the fall of 2018.  Professor Mahoney wrote the “Foreword” to the aforementioned work. He has written widely on Solzhenitsyn…

Between Two Milestones. Book I. Sketches of Exile, 1974-1978. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2018.
 
“Away from home in a country far away, even the springtime sun is gray.”
- Russian proverb
 
The first translation into English of Solzhenitsyn’s memoirs of his years in the West, Between Two Milestones covers the years 1974-78 (the second, forthcoming book will…

“Live not by lies,” was the advice that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (born December 11, 1918) gave his compatriots when they asked him how to stand up to the crushing might of the Soviet Union.  He did not seek an open confrontation with the regime.  Neither resistance nor violence could succeed in the face of a remorseless killing machine.  Individuals would simply…

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s final novel, The Brothers Karamazov, has rightly earned its place among the greatest books of all time. It warrants this stature in no small part because it addresses questions and problems that lie at the heart of what it means to be human. Dostoevsky’s political insights of this novel are among his most profound and instructive for people of…

Ukraine and Russian Neo-Imperialism: The Divergent Break. Ostap Kushnir. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2018.
 
Since the end of the Cold War, Ukraine has neither transition to a European-style democracy and economy nor has it become a one-party state and planted firmly in the Russian orbit. After the Cold War Ukraine declared itself a neutral state and then in 1994 formed limited…

Vanguard of the Revolution: The Global Idea of the Communist Party. A. James McAdams. Princeton University Press, 2017.
 
James McAdams has provided a compendious but readable account of communist parties from 1848 until now when he claims communist parties have died or withered away. McAdams, in my opinion rightly, does not consider the dynastic authoritarianism of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and…

March 1917: The Red Wheel. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017.
 
Historians like Eric Hobsbawn had argued that the Russian Revolution was the seminal event of the twentieth century: “for “a mere thirty to forty years after Lenin’s arrival at the Finland Station in Petrograd, one third of humanity found itself living under regimes directly derived from…

March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 1. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017.
 
The Bolshevik coup d’état of October 25 (November 7 according to the Western calendar), 1917, is known the whole world over as the Russian Revolution. It is nearly universally considered to be either a liberating event or a catastrophic one, but one…

Personally, I require a ceiling, although a high one. Yes, I like ceilings, and the high better than the low. In literature I think there are low-ceiling masterpieces—Crime and Punishment, for instance—and high-ceiling masterpieces, Remembrance of Things Past.
—Artur Sammler, in Saul Bellow’s Mr. Sammler’s Planet (1969), 151.
 
No one doubts that Crime and Punishment has a prominent place in the pantheon…