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The Dark Russian

Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs by douglas smith farrar, straus and giroux, 848 pages, $35 The Okhrana, the czar’s secret police, gave him the code name “the Dark One”—not only because he was mysterious, but also because his influence on Russia was so baleful. Except . . . . Continue Reading »

Spiritual Freedom

On the outskirts of Moscow, there is an Orthodox Christian memorial. The site, known as Butovo, once belonged to a private estate. The Soviets expropriated the land after the revolution and turned it into a firing range. It was there during Stalin’s purges that more than 20,000 “enemies of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Materialist Delusions

The drama of human history cannot be reduced to considerations of material wealth. The threats—or opportunities—posed by Putin’s Russia are a function of the countless free decisions made by leaders there and elsewhere, and those of their followers. Continue Reading »

Letters

No Authority As a practicing general pediatrician, I appreciated Dr. Leonard Sax’s article “Don’t Ask the Kids” in the October issue of First Things. Sax makes some very helpful suggestions for parents struggling to raise respectful children, but his emphasis is misplaced in advocating . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

DeplorableIn his August/September column, “Bigot-Baiting,” R. R. Reno charges that the Democratic Party is largely a hodgepodge of various groups, tenuously allied, and that the precarious nature of these alliances requires a well-maintained persecution complex, lest those alliances dissolve. In . . . . Continue Reading »

The Realism We Need

What Hitchens fails to spot is that the Soviet Union was not just about Communism, or about Russia. It was an empire. One hundred twenty million-plus of the Soviet Union’s two hundred eighty-six-million population were non-Russians. Almost none of them were Soviet by choice, any more than the one hundred million people in the other Warsaw Pact countries wanted to be under Soviet tutelage. To view the collapse of the evil empire solely from a Russian point of view is therefore misleading. Continue Reading »

The Cold War Is Over

The misreading of Russia’s geopolitical situation is especially sad because for the first time in many decades there is much to hope for in Moscow. Out of utopian misery has come the prospect of rebirth. It is as yet incipient. But I see great possibilities in it, in the many once-blighted . . . . Continue Reading »

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