Martin Malia is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author, most recently, of Russia Under Western Eyes, from the Bronze Horseman to the Lenin Mausoleum. (November 2001)

Lenin and the ‘Radiant Future’

Following the Russian Revolution of 1905, a minor participant in that inconclusive upheaval, Vladimir Ulyanov, was on the run from Finland (then in the Tsar’s empire) to Sweden. It was December 1907, and his route lay over the Gulf of Bothnia separating the two countries. As it turned out, the …

The August Revolution

The new Russian Revolution of August 1991 has now won out over the heritage of the first Russian Revolution of October 1917. Begun in 1989 with the emergence of a democratic opposition to communism led by Andrei Sakharov and launched into the broad light of day with Boris Yeltsin’s election …

A New Russian Revolution?

In the six-year-long disintegration of communism euphemistically known as “restructuring” (the meaning, after all, of perestroika) the Russian elections of June 12 will surely count as a revolutionary turning point. In presidential and municipal balloting, the homeland of Leninism elected three anti-Leninist leaders—Boris Yeltsin, Gavriil Popov, and Anatoly Sobchak—by between …

A Manifesto for Soviet Democracy

The Declaration of the Democratic Platform Group, published below, has been circulating in the Soviet Union as a leaflet to promote candidates favoring democratic reform who are running in the elections to a special Party Congress this spring. This dissident manifesto was first released at the end of January, but …

Poland’s Eternal Return

It is not necessary to hope in order to undertake, nor to succeed in order to persevere. —Pascal “Solidarity, the first free labor union in a communist country,” the Western press has begun most commentaries on Poland since the great strike of August 1980. True enough, but by no …

Poland: The Winter War

During the early hours of December 13, the Poland of Solidarity, for sixteen months the most hopeful new star of democracy, disappeared into a black hole. A nation of thirty-six million, in the middle of Europe, was cordoned off from the world, atomized into cell-like blocks, so that each could …

Mandelstam’s Power

“Poetry is power,” Osip Mandelstam once said to Anna Akhmatova, thinking of the extraordinary destiny of the Acmeist movement to which the two had belonged. In the West this observation may hold true for the happy few, but it does not for society, or even for the cultivated public. In …

Backward History in a Backward Country

Nine books on Russian history: seven recent and originally written in English, two very old and translated from the Russian; yet the older are by far the more worthy of attention today. The books by the “populist” Kliuchevsky, whose views were formed during the 1870s, and the Marxist Pokrovsky, whose …

Catherine Was Great

Mme. Oldenbourg’s subject is the human drama of Catherine the woman viewed as the prelude to the political epic of Catherine the sovereign. She focuses on Catherine’s formative years, beginning in 1744 when the fourteen-year-old Princess Sophia-Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst was summoned to Russia by Empress Elizabeth to marry the latter’s …

The Holy Devil

To the average, semi-informed citizen of the Western world the “holy devil,” Grigory Rasputin, is certainly one of the most familiar figures in Russian history, ranking perhaps behind only Peter the Great, Lenin, and Stalin in general notoriety, and behind only Ivan the Terrible in the morbid fascination his memory …