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Preview: Sean's Russia Blog

Sean's Russia Blog

Russia Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Last Build Date: Wed, 08 Nov 2017 17:20:08 +0000


Daughter of the Cold War

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 17:20:08 +0000

Guest: Grace Kennan Warnecke has had a lifelong personal and professional association with Russia. She’s served on the boards of the National Advisory Council, Harriman Institute, at Columbia University, as well as a member of the Advisory Council of the Kennan Institute. She served as country director for Winrock International in Kyiv, Ukraine, from 1999...

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American History Through Russian Eyes

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 20:22:47 +0000

Guest: Ivan Kurilla is a Professor of History and International Relations at the European University at St. Petersburg. He specializes in the history of the US–Russian relations, especially during American antebellum and Civil War period. He’s the author of Zaokeanskie partnery: Amerika i Rossiya v 1830-1850-e gody (Partners across the Ocean: The United States and...

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Young Communists Under Stalin

Sat, 21 Oct 2017 20:39:54 +0000

Guest: Seth Bernstein is an Assistant professor at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow where he specializes in the history of Soviet politics, culture and society. He’s the author of Raised Under Stalin: Young Communists and the Defense of Socialism published by Cornell University Press and the English translator of Alexander Vatlin’s Agents of...

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Russian LGBTQ and New Left Activism

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:44:30 +0000

Guest: Jessica Mason is a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow and Federal Policy Analyst at the National Partnership for Women & Families and Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research and policy work address vulnerable social groups seeking greater legal protections and social recognition, particularly in relation to gender, sexuality, and...

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Russian and American Internal Colonization

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 16:14:39 +0000

This podcast is the first in my series on US-Russia relationships. Guest: Steven Sabol is an Associate Professor in the History at North Carolina University in Charlotte specializing in the history of Russia and Central Asia, imperialism and colonialism and the American West. He’s the author of “The Touch of Civilization” Comparing American and Russian...

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Antisemitism and the Russian Revolution

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 20:54:14 +0000

Guest: Brendan McGeever is Lecturer in the Sociology of Racialization and Antisemitism in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at the University of London, Birkbeck. He’s the author of several articles exploring antisemitism, racism, revolution and the socialist movements. His most recent article is “The Bolsheviks and Antisemitism” in Jacobin. His book The Bolsheviks and Antisemitism...

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The Politics of Russia’s Apartment Demolition

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 15:37:15 +0000

Guest: Maxim Trudolubov is a Senior Fellow at the Kennan Institute and the Editor-at-Large of Vedomosti, one of Russia’s most important dailies. He was the editorial page editor of Vedomosti between 2003 and 2015 and has been a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times since the fall of 2013. Maxim also writes...

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Feminists in the Maidan

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 01:56:36 +0000

Guest: Emily Channell-Justice is a postdoctoral fellow in the Havighurst Center for Russian and post-Soviet Studies at Miami University. Her research focuses on leftwing and student activism in Ukraine particularly during the Maidan protests of 2013 and 2014. Her most recent article is “We’re Not Just Sandwiches”: Europe, Nation, and Feminist (Im)Possibilities on Ukraine’s Maidan”...

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The Early Modern Russian Empire

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 22:08:31 +0000

Guest: Nancy Kollmann is the William H. Bonsall Professor of History at Stanford University specializing in early modern Russia. She’s the author of several books including Crime and Punishment in Early Modern Russia; By Honor Bound: State and Society in Early Modern Russia; and Kinship and Politics: The Making of the Muscovite Political System, 1345-1547....

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Women, Resistance, and Revolution

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 20:14:50 +0000

Guest: Sheila Rowbotham is known internationally as an historian of feminism and radical social movements. She is the author of the ground-breaking books Women, Resistance and Revolution; Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World; and Hidden from History among several others published by Verso. Music: Bikini Kill, “Rebel Girl,” Pussy Whipped, 1993.

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Retrospective on Stalinism

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 18:23:28 +0000

Guest: Sheila Fitzpatrick is Bernadotte E. Schmitt Distinguished Service Professor Emerita at the University of Chicago and a Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney. She’s the author numerous books and articles on Soviet history including A Spy in the Archives: A Memoir of Cold War Russia; Tear off the Masks! Identity and Imposture in...

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SRB on This is Hell!

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 15:35:20 +0000

About two weeks ago I had the pleasure of being on This is Hell!, one of my favorite leftwing podcasts to talk about Russia, Navalny, protest, and Putin. Chuck and his crew were kind enough to let me re-purpose the interview as part of the SRB Podcast. Enjoy!

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Navalny and the Left

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 16:25:15 +0000

Yesterday, Jacobin published an article Ilya Budriatskis, Ilya Matveev, and I wrote on where the Russian left should stand in regard to Alexey Navalny. The Jacobin asked that I write it after reading my criticism of Alexey Sakhnin and Per Leander’s article “Russia’s Trump.” I approached Budraitskis and Matveev if they wanted to collaborate since the...

Stalin’s Last Days

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 17:46:38 +0000

Guest: Joshua Rubenstein is an associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. He was also an organizer and regional director for Amnesty International USA for thirty-seven years. He’s the author of many books including Leon Trotsky: A Revolutionary’s Life, Tangled Loyalties: The Life and Times of Ilya Ehrenburg, and...

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Russia and Its Near Abroad

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:41:58 +0000

Guest: Gerard Toal is a Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. He writes about US foreign policy, geopolitics, and territorial conflicts. He’s co-author with Carl Dahlman of Bosnia Remade: Ethnic Cleansing and Its Reversal and editor of several books on critical geopolitics. Gerard’s newest book is Near Abroad: Putin,...

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Protest in Putin’s Russia

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 19:44:23 +0000

Guest: Mischa Gabowitsch is member of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam Germany and a sociologist and contemporary historian specializing in the study of protest and social movements in Russia as well as Soviet war memorials. He is the author of Protest in Putin’s Russia published by Polity. Music: Rage Against the Machine, “Guerrilla Radio,” The...

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International Communism and the Spanish Civil War

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 17:34:32 +0000

Guest: Lisa Kirschenbaum is a professor of History at West Chester University. Her research explores how people come to represent and understand their life stories as part of history, focusing on the linkages between individual, private lives and the momentous, often traumatic events of Russia’s twentieth century. She is the author of three books: Small...

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Russian Peasants in Revolution

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 20:07:25 +0000

Guest: Aaron Retish is an associate professor of history at Wayne State University where he specializes in late Imperial and Soviet history with a focus on the social, cultural, and political history of the countryside. He is the author of Russia’s Peasants in Revolution and Civil War: Citizenship, Identity, and the Creation of the Soviet...

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The Crimean Nexus

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:36:45 +0000

Guest: Constantine Pleshakov teaches at the Five-College Consortium in Massachusetts. In 2012, The Princeton Review named him one of the 300 best college professors in the United States. He’s the author of many books, including There Is No Freedom Without Bread!: 1989 and the Civil War That Brought Down Communism, Stalin’s Folly: The Tragic First...

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Early Soviet Rule in Tajikistan

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 13:43:57 +0000

Guest: Botakoz Kassymbekova is a research associate in the History Department in Humboldt University in Berlin and author of Despite Cultures: Early Soviet Rule in Tajikistan published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Music: Non-Prophets, “Any Port,” Hope, 2003.

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The Force of Custom in Kyrgyzstan

Wed, 31 May 2017 21:44:07 +0000

Guest: Judith Beyer is professor of anthropology at the University of Konstanz, Germany where she focuses on the anthropology of the state, legal pluralism, and theories of social order in Central Asia and Southeast Asia. She’s the author of The Force of Custom: Law and the Ordering of Everyday Life in Kyrgyzstan published by Pittsburgh...

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Patronalism in Eurasia

Thu, 25 May 2017 14:03:42 +0000

Guest: Henry Hale is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs in the Eliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and Co-Director of the Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia or PONARS Eurasia. He’s the author of many articles and books on post-Soviet politics. His most recent book is...

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A Life with the Russian Revolution

Wed, 17 May 2017 15:40:44 +0000

Guest: Alexander Rabinowitch is Professor Emeritus of History and Indiana University, where he taught from 1968 until 1999, and an Affiliated Research Scholar at the St. Petersburg Institute of History, Russian Academy of Sciences since 2013. He’s the author of several studies on the Russian Revolutionary era, including Prelude to Revolution: The Petrograd Bolsheviks and...

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Searching for Postcommunist Sincerity

Wed, 10 May 2017 17:18:16 +0000

Guest: Ellen Rutten is a professor of literature and chair of the Slavonic Department at the University of Amsterdam, where she researches post-Soviet and global contemporary culture, literature and art, design, social media and memory. She’s the author of Sincerity after Communism: A Cultural History published by Yale University Press. Music: The Smiths, “Unhappy Birthday,”...

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Reviving Holy Rus

Wed, 03 May 2017 16:56:47 +0000

Guest: John Burgess is the James Henry Snowden Professor of Systematic Theology at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He’s the author of several books on Protestant theology, church life, the place of faith in the modern world in addition to an interest in Russian Orthodoxy. His new book is Holy Rus’: The Rebirth of Orthodoxy in...

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The Tsarist Exile System

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:32:39 +0000

Guest: Daniel Beer is a senior lecturer in the History Department at Royal Holloway, University of London. He’s written widely on 19th century Russia and is the author of Renovating Russia: The Human Sciences and the Fate of Liberal Modernity, 1880–1930, published by Cornell University Press. His new book is The House of the Dead:...

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Russophobia in America: A Genealogy

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:39:30 +0000

This podcast is a talk I gave titled “Russophobia in America: A Genealogy” at Kennan Institute on April 11, 2017. It’s been re-purposed here with the kind permission of the Kennan. I refer to many images in the talk. You can view the accompanying presentation below: Music: Made for TV, “So Afraid of the Russians,” 1983.

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Georgian Diaspora and the Soviet Empire

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 15:07:33 +0000

Guest: Erik Scott is an Associate professor of history at the University of Kansas who specializes in Modern Russia, comparative empires, migration and diasporas. He is the author of several publications on contemporary Russia and Eurasia. His most recent book is Familiar Strangers: The Georgian Diaspora and the Evolution of Soviet Empire published by Oxford...

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The Russian Propaganda Machine

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 20:50:26 +0000

Guest: Alexey Kovalev is a journalist living and working in Russia. He was a senior editor at RIA Novosti, Russia’s largest state news agency, and edited, a website that translates news articles from foreign publications into Russian. He is the founder and editor of, a Russian-language fact-checking and anti-propaganda website. He writes a...

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Experiencing the Russian Revolution

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 17:53:58 +0000

Guest: Mark Steinberg is a professor of Russian History at the University of Illinois. He’s the author of many wonderful books including, Proletarian Imagination: Self, Modernity, and the Sacred in Russia, 1910-1925; Voices of Revolution, 1917; Petersburg Fin de Siecle; and with Nicholas Riasanovsky, A History of Russia, now in its 8th edition. His most...

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The Invisibility of Chernobyl in Belarus

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 19:34:48 +0000

Guest: Olga Kuchinskaya is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Pittsburgh. She specializes in science communication related to health and the environment. She’s the author of The Politics of Invisibility: Public Knowledge about Radiation Health Effects after Chernobyl published by MIT Press. Music: Siouxsie & The Banshees, “Dazzle,” Hyæna,...

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Lenin and the Bolsheviks

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 16:10:15 +0000

Guest: Lars Lih is a scholar who lives in Montreal, Canada. He has written extensively on Russia’s revolutionary history and the early Soviet period. He’s the author of several books including Bread and Authority in Russia, 1914-1921, Lenin Rediscovered: What is to be Done? In Context, and co-editor with Oleg Naumov and Oleg Khlevniuk of...

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Perestroika and the Chinese Model

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 14:41:03 +0000

Guest: Chris Miller is the Associate Director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy at Yale University. He has previously served as a lecturer at the New Economic School in Moscow, a visiting researcher and the Carnegie Moscow Center, and a research associate at the Brookings Institution. He’s the author of The Struggle to Save...

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Searching for Orpheus at the Twilight of the Russian Empire

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 04:34:54 +0000

Guest: Rebecca Mitchell is an Assistant Professor of History at Middlebury College where she specializes in Russian cultural history at the end of the Russian Empire. She teaches a wide range of courses on the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, comparative Communism, and the intersections between music and power in history. She is the...

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Preserving Leningrad During WWII

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 22:05:14 +0000

Guest: Steve Maddox is an Associate Professor of Russian and European history at Canisius College. He’s the author of Saving Stalin’s Imperial City: Historic Preservation in Leningrad, 1930–1950 published by Indiana University Press. Music: Busdriver, “Yawning Zeitgeist Intro,” Fear of a Black Tangent, 2005

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Wading Through RuNet

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 22:02:00 +0000

Guest: Kevin Rothrock is RuNet Echo project editor at Global Voices, a news site that reports on civil society around the world, and web editor at The Moscow Times, Russia’s longest-running English-language independent newspaper. He previously worked as an editor and translator at Meduza and, long before that, a research assistant at the American Enterprise...

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Working Class Life in Anytown Russia

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 21:03:50 +0000

Guest: Jeremy Morris is an Associate Professor in the School of Culture and Society at Aarhus University where he researches and writes about the informal economy, class, precarity and post-socialism. His most recent book is Everyday Postsocialism: Working-class Communities in the Russian Margins published by Palgrave. Jeremy has written up an addendum to this interview...

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Stalin’s Purge of the Red Army

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 16:23:09 +0000

Guest: Peter Whitewood is a Lecturer in History at York St. John University where he specializes in Soviet history, military history, and the aftermath of war. He’s the author of The Red Army and the Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Soviet Military published by University Press of Kansas. Music: Einsturzende Neubauten, “The Willy-Nicky Telegrams,”...

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Russia’s Mass Protests Five Years On

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:03:11 +0000

Guest: Marc Bennetts is a British journalist who has been living in Russia for almost two decades. He writes for Newsweek, The Times (of London), and Politico, as well as other US and British newspapers and magazines. He’s the author of I’m Going to Ruin Their Lives: Inside Putin’s War on Russia’s Opposition published by...

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The Art of the Bribe Under Stalin

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 18:27:37 +0000

Guest: James Heinzen is a professor of History at Rowan University where he specializes in modern Russian History. His new book is The Art of the Bribe: Corruption under Stalin, 1943-1953 published by Yale University Press. Music: Coil, “Tainted Love,” Panic, 1985.

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Most Popular SRB Podcasts of 2016

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 15:04:56 +0000

The SRB Podcast had an amazing year. More amazing than I had anticipated. I managed to put out 43 interviews in 2016 on a wide variety of topics concerning Eurasian politics, culture and history. Feedback on the show’s content and quality has been overwhelmingly positive and criticisms and suggestions have been constructive and helpful. I’ve...

The Perils of Donbas Fatigue

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 19:43:17 +0000

Guest: Brian Milakovsky has been living in Ukraine and Russia since 2009. He has worked on both ecological and humanitarian issues. Today he lives in Luhansk Oblast in the Donbass region, where he works in an aid organization. He occasionally writes about his impressions in the Donbas. His most recent article is “The Church: Caught...

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Adventures in Post-Soviet Ukraine

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 20:27:13 +0000

Guest: Sophie Pinkham is a writer on Russian and Ukrainian culture and politics. Her articles have appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, n+1, the London Review of Books, and Foreign Affairs, among other publications. Her new book is Black Square: Adventures in Post-Soviet Ukraine published by Norton. Listen to the April 2015 interview...

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Rasputin, the Man and the Myth

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 21:15:43 +0000

Guest: Doug Smith is an award-winning historian and translator. He is the author of five books on Russia. His last book Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy won the Pushkin House Russian Prize in 2013. His new book is Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs published by Macmillian. Music:...

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Russian Labor, Class, and Conflict

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 16:48:46 +0000

Guest: Steve Crowley is a Professor of Politics at Oberlin College where he researches transitions to democracy and capitalism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. His current work focuses on how post-Communist unions face the challenges from past institutional and ideological legacies, current political conditions, and the constraints placed by the global economy....

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Stalin, Clans and Terror

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 19:53:37 +0000

Guest: Arch Getty is a Distinguished Professor of History at UCLA where he seeks to understand how the greatest experiment of the 20th century, led by a movement that grew out of rational, enlightened, egalitarian, and democratic traditions resulted in dictatorship and the deaths of millions of its own people. He’s the author of several books...

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Corruption in Kyrgyzstan

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 20:18:03 +0000

Johan Engvall on the buying and selling of state offices in Kyrgyzstan. [powerpress]

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The Soviet Era of Television

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 15:08:01 +0000

Guest: Christine Evans is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research interests include Modern Eurasian mass culture and communications and play, leisure, and consumption. She’s the author of Between Truth and Time: A History of Soviet Central Television published by Yale University Press. Watch some Soviet TV! KVN Final, 1964...

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The State of Russia

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:58:21 +0000

Guest: Masha Lipman is a frequent commentator on contemporary Russian affairs. She is currently the head editor of the journal Kontrapunkt, a contributor to the New Yorker, and co-editor with Nikolai Petrov of The State of Russia: What Comes Next? published by Palgrave Macmillan. Music: Jawbreaker, “Chesterfield King,” Bivouac, 1992.

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Reforging Roma into New Soviet Gypsies

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 20:19:04 +0000

Guest: Brigid O’Keeffe is an Associate Professor of History at Brooklyn College where she specializes in late imperial Russian and Soviet history. Her research interests include internationalism, Esperanto, selfhood, ethnicity, citizenship and everyday Soviet life. She’s the author of New Soviet Gypsies: Nationality, Performance, and Selfhood in the Early Soviet Union published by University of...

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Labor Conflicts in Russia Almost Double

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 17:34:54 +0000

The Center for Political and Economic Reform has released its report on labor protests for the third quarter of 2016. If you’re not familiar with TsEPR, you should keep your eye on it. It’s one of the two outfits I know of (the other being the Center for Social and Labor Rights) that monitor labor...

Siberian Merchants in Early Modern Russia

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 01:20:12 +0000

Guest: Erika Monahan is an Associate professor in History at the University of New Mexico. She specializes in commerce, corruption, and empire in early modern Eurasia. She’s the author of The Merchants of Siberia: Trade in Early Modern Russia published by Cornell University Press. Music: Tom Waits, “All the World is Green,” Blood Money, 2002.

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Politkovskaya Ten Years On

Fri, 07 Oct 2016 14:08:07 +0000

It’s been ten years since an assassin put four bullets in Anna Politkovskaya—three in her chest, one in her head, the hallmark of a contract hit. And what can be said on this macabre anniversary? We can recall her career and her drive to cover the horrors of Chechnya in ways few would. It was...

Russian Punk Rock

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 17:18:42 +0000

Guest: Alexander Herbert is a graduate student at the University of Chicago working on Modern Russian History. He has been involved with the Russian punk scene extensively for about 4 years and has contributed articles to Razorcake and Maximum Rock ’n’ Roll. Along with his degree work and raising a 1 year old, Alexander has...

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The 1937 Pushkin Jubilee and Stalinist Culture

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 19:16:50 +0000

Guest: Jon Platt is an assistant professor in the Slavic Languages and Literature Department at the University of Pittsburgh where he specializes in Pushkin, literary theory, Soviet culture, and Russian contemporary art and poetry. He recently published Greetings, Pushkin!: Stalinist Cultural Politics and the Russian National Bard (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016). Music: Sebadoh, “Rebound,” 4...

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The American Mission to Save Russia

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 20:03:06 +0000

Guest: David Foglesong is a Professor of History at Rutgers University where he specializes in American-Russian relations. He’s the author of The American Mission and the Evil Empire. His most recent article is “The Perils of Prophecy: American Predictions About Russia’s Future Since 1881.” Read my review of The American Mission from way back in...

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The Origins of the Donbas War From Below

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 18:35:53 +0000

Guest: Serhiy Kudelia is an Assistant Professor of political science at Baylor University where he specializes in state formation, civil war, and political violence in the post-communist world. His most recent article is the “Donbas Rift” first published in Russian in the journal Kontrapunkt and in English in Russian Politics and Law. Music: Skinny Puppy,...

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Mapping Russian Labor Conflict

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 13:39:08 +0000

In July, the Center for Economic and Political Reform, a think tank that monitors and studies social and economic issues in Russia, released a report on labor conflict in the second quarter of 2016. In this period, TsEPR identified 263 incidents in 65 regions in Russia, 34 more than the first quarter. Fifty-six were specifically labor...

Soviet Power and the Destruction of Nature

Fri, 26 Aug 2016 00:04:53 +0000

Guest: Andy Bruno is an Assistant Professor of History at Northern Illinois University where he specializes in the environmental history of modern Russia. He is the author of The Nature of Soviet Power: An Arctic Environmental History. Opening Commentary: I want to draw listeners’ attention to two recent stories in Russia that concern local social...

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Ossified Putinism

Sat, 13 Aug 2016 21:28:43 +0000

Guest: Mark Galeotti is an expert on Russia’s security services and a prolific commentator on current Russian domestic and international affairs. He is the principal director of the Mayak Intelligence consultancy in Prague and senior researcher at the Czech Institute for International Relations. He blogs on Russian security affairs at In Moscow’s Shadows. Music: The Pixies,...

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Lev Gumilev’s Eurasianism

Sun, 07 Aug 2016 18:14:44 +0000

Guest: Mark Bassin is a professor in the School of Historical and Contemporary Studies at Sodertorn University in Stockholm. His most recent book is The Gumilev Mystique: Biopolitics, Eurasiansism, and the Construction of Community in Modern Russia. Music: My Bloody Valentine, “Only Shallow,” Loveless, 1991.

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Soviet Humanitarian Invasion in Afghanistan

Sun, 31 Jul 2016 18:01:49 +0000

Guest: Tim Nunan is a scholar of international and global history. His work focuses on the history of Russia and Eurasia–Central Asia, Iran, and Afghanistan–in an international context. He is the Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies and author of Humanitarian Invasion: Global Development in Cold War Afghanistan. Music: Ramones,...

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Soviet Nostalgia in the South Caucasus

Fri, 22 Jul 2016 20:03:16 +0000

Guest: Maxim Edwards is Commissioning Editor at Open Democracy Russia. He writes on nationalism, migration, minorities and memory, with a focus on post-Soviet countries. His most recent articles are “Armenia to House World’s Largest Yazidi Temple” for Eurasianet and co-authored with Thomas Rowley “In Ukraine, Not Only Heroes Deserve Justice” on Open Democracy. Ilya Budraitskis, “Neither...

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Russia’s New Anti-Terror Laws

Fri, 15 Jul 2016 17:55:59 +0000

Guest: Gleb Bogush is an associate professor in the Department of Criminal law and Criminology in Moscow State University’s Faculty of Law and counsel for Threefold Legal Advisers. He’s the author of over 6o articles on Russian and International Criminal law. His most recent commentary is “Killing Russian Criminal Law” for the Carnegie Moscow Center.

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The US Pledge on NATO Expansion

Wed, 29 Jun 2016 18:44:40 +0000

Guest: Josh Shifrinson is an assistant professor at Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. His most recent articles are “Deal or No Deal? The End of the Cold War and the U.S. Offer to Limit NATO Expansion,” published in the Spring 2016 issue of International Security and “Russia’s got a...

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From Great Fear to the Great Terror

Wed, 22 Jun 2016 19:35:40 +0000

Guest: James Harris is a Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at Leeds University where he specializes in the history of Stalinism. James has published several books and articles on the Stalin period. His most recent book is The Great Fear: Stalin’s Terror in the 1930s.

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The Stillbirth of the Soviet Internet

Wed, 15 Jun 2016 19:42:03 +0000

Guest: Ben Peters is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Tulsa and affiliated faculty at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. He is the author of How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet. Music: Kraftwerk, “Computer World,” Computer World, 1984.

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A Journey into Putin’s Country

Wed, 08 Jun 2016 20:15:12 +0000

Guest: Anne Garrels is a former foreign correspondent for National Public Radio and the author of Naked in Baghdad which chronicled the events surrounding the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. Her most recent book is Putin’s Country: A Journey into the Real Russia. Music: Aesop Rock, “No Regrets,” Labor Days, 2001.

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SRB Weekly Dispatch #7

Tue, 07 Jun 2016 16:55:44 +0000

The SRB Weekly Dispatch #7, the newsletter that rewinds the week in Russia, is out. You can access the newsletter here. You can read newsletters #1-6 here. Subscribe to the SRB Weekly Dispatch! * indicates required Email Address * First Name Last Name Country Email Format html text View previous campaigns.

The Paradoxes of Lviv

Wed, 01 Jun 2016 18:10:52 +0000

Guest: Tarik Cyril Amar is an Associate Professor of History at Columbia University specializing in the Soviet Union, Russia, and Ukraine. He’s the author of The Paradox of Ukrainian Lviv. A Borderland City between Nazis, Stalinists, and Nationalists. Music: Danger Doom, “Space Ho’s,” The Mouse and the Mask, 2005.

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Support the SRB Podcast!

Mon, 30 May 2016 13:55:55 +0000

  Since 2005, I’ve provided critical commentary on Russia’s past and present on this blog. These many years of blogging proved to me that there is general public interest beyond the academy and expert community for critical, nuanced, and thoughtful commentary on Russia. In 2015, I decided to take advantage of this hunger and start...

Russia Through German Eyes

Thu, 26 May 2016 21:00:53 +0000

Guest: James Casteel is an assistant professor of German, Russian, and Jewish history in the Institute of European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at Carleton University. His research interests include transnational relations between Germany and Russia, nations and empires in central and eastern Europe, and diasporic cultures and belonging. He is the author of Russia in...

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Autocracy, Marriage, and Power in Early Modern Russia

Wed, 18 May 2016 20:06:48 +0000

Guest: Russell Martin is a professor of History at Westminster College focusing on autocracy, marriage, power and the Romanov dynasty in early modern Russia. He is the author of many books and articles. His most recent book is A Bride for the Tsar: Bride-Shows and Marriage Politics in Early Modern Russia. Reading: Russell Martin, “Eulogy...

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There Is No Other Way

Tue, 17 May 2016 15:25:37 +0000

Oleg Shein posted the following on his Facebook page: Today, the State Duma adopted a law raising the minimum wage from 6200 to 7500 rubles. This is definitely a good move. In fact, it’s not so small for workers who earn pennies. In 2011, 2.3 million people earned less than a subsistence wage in the formal sector of...

Love, Sex, and Porn in Russia

Wed, 11 May 2016 18:21:08 +0000

Guest: Natalia Antonova is a pundit, playwright and sometime journalist living in Russia. You can read her blog where she comments a wide variety of topics, including sex, at Her most recent article is “Russia’s Porn Stars Aren’t Just Hot, They’re Also Ostracised And Exploited” on Open Democracy. Music: Prince and the Revolution, “Darling...

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Managing the Russian Hajj

Mon, 02 May 2016 23:33:09 +0000

Guest: Eileen Kane is an Associate Professor of History at Connecticut College where she specializes in empires, migrations, religion and historical connections between the Russian and Ottoman empires. She’s the author of Russian Hajj: Empire and the Pilgrimage to Mecca. Music: The Roots, “Adrenaline!” Things Fall Apart, 1999.

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SRB Weekly Dispatch #2

Mon, 02 May 2016 00:58:51 +0000

The SRB Weekly Dispatch #2, a weekly newsletter rewinding Russia, came out today. If you’re not subscribed and would like to read it, you can find it here. If you missed last week’s you can read it here. You can sign up for the weekly edition to be sent to your inbox below: Subscribe to...

The Callousness of Russian Intensive Care Units

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:05:20 +0000

I don’t normally hype the translations I’ve been doing on side for Meduza’s English portal. I feel I don’t need to promote everything. But I wanted to draw readers to this recent translation I did of Katerina Gordeeva’s article “The business of breathing How Vladimir Putin tried and failed to help Russia’s sickest children” on...

The Podcast Theme Song

Wed, 27 Apr 2016 23:10:29 +0000

Many people have asked me about the theme song to the SRB Podcast. So instead of answering the question over and over by individual request, I’ve finally decided to post it on the blog for all to enjoy. The song is Moya Marusechka (Моя Марусечка) by Petr Leshchenko, 1898-1954 (his Russian Wikipedia page has a...

Alexander Shlyapnikov: An Old Working Class Bolshevik

Tue, 26 Apr 2016 23:59:11 +0000

Guest: Barbara Allen is an associate professor of history at La Salle University where she specializes in the Russian revolutionary movement and the early Soviet regime. Her research interests include the history of working-class opposition to the Soviet Communist Party’s dictatorship. Her most recent book is Alexander Shlyapnikov, 1885-1937: Life of an Old Bolshevik which...

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SRB Weekly Dispatch #1

Sun, 24 Apr 2016 20:00:15 +0000

I’ve started a weekly newsletter and the first edition is now available. Readers can access it here. If you’d like to subscribe and get it in your email inbox, please fill out the form below. Subscribe to the SRB Weekly Dispatch! * indicates required Email Address * First Name Last Name Country Email Format html...

A Letter to the Russian Elite

Sat, 23 Apr 2016 14:42:04 +0000

I was on Brian Whitmore’s Power Vertical podcast this week. In thinking over some of my comments, I realized that I was basically giving the Russian elite advice on how to be a functioning bourgeoisie. The bourgeois class project in Russia has been a historical failure. Russia’s third bourgeois is currently too busy with its head buried...

Russia’s Foreign Policy Trajectories

Mon, 18 Apr 2016 20:04:10 +0000

Guest: Andrei Tsygankov is a Professor in the departments of Political Science and International Relations at San Francisco State University where he teaches Russian/post-Soviet, comparative and international politics. His most recent book is Russia’s Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity in National Identity. Music: The Heptones, “Message from a Black Man,” Studio One Soul, 2001.

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Russian Debt Collectors’ Reign of Terror

Thu, 14 Apr 2016 14:44:11 +0000

I wrote an article for OpenDemocracy on microloans and debt collector violence. I’ve been mulling the article since January when I read a gruesome story about a debt collector throwing a Molotov cocktail through the debtor’s window severely burning his two year old grandson. A Google news search revealed that though this incident was one of...

The Use and Abuse of Nagorno-Karabakh

Tue, 12 Apr 2016 20:04:23 +0000

Guest: Ryan McCarrel is a Ph.D. Candidate at University College Dublin’s School of Geography where he focuses on geopolitics, borders and world (dis)order. He’s written articles for Foreign Affairs, The Diplomat, and blogs at the Accidental Geographer. His most recent article in Foreign Affairs is “The United Nations and Sexual Abuse: Why Peacekeeping Reform...

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The Political Life of Vodka in Russia

Fri, 08 Apr 2016 22:05:11 +0000

Guest: Mark Schrad is an Assistant Professor in Political Science at Villanova University. He’s the author of Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State, which was just released in paperback. Music: Beastie Boys, “Brass Monkey,” Licensed to Ill, 1986.

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The Russian Authorities Not Named Putin in the Panama Papers

Tue, 05 Apr 2016 04:37:07 +0000

As the media world is fixated on Putin’s allegedly stashed $2 billion, the not-named-Putin Russians in the leaked documents comprise of siloviki, chinovniki, parliamentarians, governors and their families. They include: Dmitri Peskov, Putin’s Press Secretary Suleiman Geremeev, Senator from Chechnya and uncle of Ruslan Geremeev, the main suspect in ordering the assassination of Boris Nemtsov...

19 Million Russians

Mon, 04 Apr 2016 01:47:07 +0000

Over 19 million Russians live in poverty, according to a recent article in Dengi. But how is poverty determined in the Russian context? For Rosstat to categorize you as in poverty, you need to have an income lower than the subsistence minimum. For the majority of Dengi readers, this level is mockingly low: 9,452 rubles...

The Gangs of Russia

Tue, 29 Mar 2016 22:35:24 +0000

Guest: Svetlana Stephenson is a Reader in Sociology at London Metropolitan University. Her research has involved studying informal and criminal social networks in Russia as well as perceptions of social justice and human rights in a comparative context. She is the author of Gangs of Russia, From the Streets to the Corridors of Power published...

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US and Stalinist Prison Populations Revisited

Tue, 29 Mar 2016 16:07:33 +0000

Back in 2013, I wrote a post examining at the numbers of people in the Stalinist gulag compared to the US prison industrial complex. The post was in response to the Adam Gopnik’s and Fareed Zakaria’s claim that the over 6 million people in the US are under “correctional supervision” was higher than in the Stalinist gulag. Following a...

Lukoil, Power, and Culture in Perm

Mon, 21 Mar 2016 20:00:02 +0000

Guest: Doug Rogers is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Yale University where he specializes in sociocultural anthropology of socialist societies and their postsocialist trajectories. He’s the author of The Depths of Russia: Oil, Power, and Culture After Socialism. Music: Newtown Neurotics, “When the Oil Runs Out,” 1980.

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Soviet Virtuosi in the Cultural Cold War

Tue, 08 Mar 2016 19:12:03 +0000

Guest: Kiril Tomoff is a professor of history at the University of California Riverside where he specializes in the history of Soviet music and its place in Soviet culture and society. His first book Creative Union: The Professional Organization of Soviet Composers, 1939-1953 provides the first ever in-depth analysis of the professional organization of Soviet...

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The Life of a Black Agronomist in Soviet Russia

Thu, 03 Mar 2016 18:14:02 +0000

Readers and listeners of this blog’s podcast might recall an interview I did last summer with Joy Gleason Carew about African Americans who traveled, worked and even immigrated to the Soviet Union. It’s a fascinating story that is thankfully getting more popular and scholarly attention.  There’s Vladimir Alexandrov’s The Black Russian which chronicles the life...

What’s Going on in Ukraine?

Mon, 29 Feb 2016 21:01:09 +0000

Guest: Balazs Jarabik is a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where his research focuses on Ukraine and Eastern Europe. His most recent article is “Reform and Resistance: Ukraine’s Selective State.” Music: Michael Jackson, “Billie Jean,” Thriller, 1982.

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Is There Life on Mars? An Interview with Elena Demidova on Men’s Choice

Thu, 25 Feb 2016 21:08:25 +0000

In January, Novaya gazeta held their annual online documentary film festival. Each film was available for online viewing for 24 hours. A Facebook friend posted a link to Elena Demidova’s Men’s Choice (Muzhskoi vybor). He had written the English subtitles for it. It looked interesting so I checked it out. What I saw was something...

The Economics of Putinism

Mon, 22 Feb 2016 21:51:59 +0000

Guest: Peter Rutland is a professor of government at Wesleyan University. He writes widely on Russian political economy and politics and is author of two books The Politics of Economic Stagnation in the Soviet Union and The Myth of the Plan: Lessons of Soviet Planning Experience. His most recent article is “Petronation? Oil, Gas and...

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Dissecting Ramzan Kadyrov

Mon, 15 Feb 2016 13:00:07 +0000

Guest: Joshua Yaffa is a contributor to the New Yorker, a New America fellow and author of many articles covering Russia. His most recent article for the New Yorker is “Putin’s Dragon: Is the Ruler of Chechnya Out of Control?” Music: Jim Croce, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” Life and Times, 1973.

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Scabic Soldiers on the March

Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:43:18 +0000

It’s hard not to notice the plethora of articles once again warning about Russia invading the Baltics. The prospect has come up on a number of occasions over the last two years, and I have to say, I can’t help but have increasing sympathy for RT’s skepticism that the new volley just happens to coincide...

Critical Junctures in Russia’s Authoritarian Path

Tue, 09 Feb 2016 00:41:06 +0000

Guest: Vladimir Gel’man is a professor in the Department of Political Science at European University at St. Petersburg and author of many books and articles on contemporary Russian politics. His most recent book is Authoritarian Russia: Analyzing Post-Soviet Regime Changes. Music: Johnny Cash, “Cocaine Blues,” At Folsom Prison, 1968

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The Ukrainian Left and the Maidan Protests

Mon, 01 Feb 2016 20:17:41 +0000

Guest: Volodymyr Ishchenko is a sociologist studying social protests in Ukraine. He is the deputy director of the Center for Social and Labor Research, a member of the editorial board of Commons: Journal for Social Criticism and the LeftEast web-magazine, and a lecturer at the Department of Sociology at the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. His is...

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