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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 »

A Cinematic Lesson in Hope

At a moment like this when there doesn’t seem to be a lot going right—ascendant authoritarianisms throughout the world; lethal violence by ideological fanatics; feckless responses to both from the democracies—it’s good to be reminded that things can be different, and in fact were different, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Great Terror

The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repressionby stéphane courtois, nicolas werth, jean-louis panné, andrzej paczkowski, karel bartosek, and jean-louis margolinharvard university press, 856 pages, $37.50 Publication of The Black Book of Communism in November 1997 in France stirred up a . . . . Continue Reading »

Sakharov’s Legacy

At his funeral a close friend remarked: “It’s been said a village cannot stand without its preacher. What now?” Andrei Sakharov, physicist, so-called “father of the Soviet H-bomb,” three-time Hero of Socialist Labor, winner of the Order of Lenin, had in fact become a sort of father to the . . . . Continue Reading »

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