Here is a selection of essays, notebooks and portraits by leading writers on Russia’s history, culture and geopolitics.

Ukraine Church

Putin’s war with the Church

You can’t separate the Ukrainian – Russian war from the region’s historical struggles over Orthodox Christianity. The Russian state is using every tool in its arsenal, including aggressively clamping down on those who disagree with its stance on the Church.

ukraine stockholm

Four steps to surviving the Russia crisis

The atrocities committed against Ukrainians and the fear of further invasions is leading many to call for drastic action to contain Russia. However, should the West put its foot on the first rung of the escalation ladder, it must be willing to climb it.

russian ballet

Show’s over: the case against a cultural boycott of Russia

In the rarefied world of classical music, famous Russians who have yet to criticise their country’s invasion of Ukraine have had global invitations withdrawn. But while many have made no bones about supporting Putin in the past, we should think hard about how to fairly treat artists from aggressive and authoritarian regimes.

putin face

Putin’s Poison Pill

The Russian president’s ambition to restore his country’s Soviet-era influence is solely in his own interest – at the expense of the nation’s long-term security and prosperity.

soviet russia ukraine polandwar

The 1920 Battle for Ukraine — a warning from the past

Having practically saved Europe from a communist takeover, Poland’s head of state Joseph Pilsudski’s insistence a century ago on a strong, independent Ukraine, protected by the Western democracies from Russian intimidation and threats, resonates powerfully today.

fall of berlin wall 1989

The Eurasian Century, Part IV: Cold War

An authoritarian, expansionist Soviet Union represented the heartland threat Mackinder had long foreseen. But ironically, his insights birthed a strategy for containing that threat—and building the liberal international order we know today.

Czechoslovaks carry their national flag past a burning Soviet tank in Prague, 1968. The JIC failed to foresee Soviet retaliations to the mass protests.

The Joint Intelligence Committee: Reading the Russian mindset

During the Cold War, the British Joint Intelligence Committee was charged with forecasting the actions of states behind the Iron Curtain and the rest of the world. Its record was patchy – the Brits were repeatedly taken by surprise throughout the 20th century.

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