Richard Pipes is Professor of History Emeritus at Harvard. He is the ­author of numerous books, including The Russian Revolution, Russia Under the Old Regime, and, most recently, Alexander Yakovlev: The Man Whose Ideas Delivered Russia from Communism. (October 2016)


The Sad Fate of Birobidzhan

A Star of David on a broken apartment block window, Birobidzhan, Jewish Autonomous Region, Russia, 1999

Where the Jews Aren’t: The Sad and Absurd Story of Birobidzhan, Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region

by Masha Gessen
The title of this new book by Masha Gessen refers to Birobidzhan, the province of the Soviet Union in the Far East that Moscow decreed in the 1920s to be a Jewish homeland. Russia became early in its history an imperial power. Because it was located in the vast territory …

Stalin: ‘He Couldn’t Have Done It Without Them’

Joseph Stalin lying in state, attended by Vyacheslav Molotov, Kliment Voroshilov, Lavrenty Beria, and Georgii Malenkov, Moscow, March 8, 1953

On Stalin’s Team: The Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics

by Sheila Fitzpatrick
There seems to be an insatiable appetite for biographies of Stalin. The catalog of Harvard University’s library lists 690, 203 of them published since the year 2000. Although Stalin plays a central part in Sheila Fitzpatrick’s latest book, this is not a biography but something more unusual: a story of …

The Cleverness of Joseph Stalin

Lenin and Stalin at Gorki, just outside Moscow, September 1922; photograph by Maria Ulyanova, Lenin’s sister. Stephen Kotkin writes that ‘Stalin had images of his visit published to show Lenin’s supposed recovery—and his own proximity to the Bolshevik leader. This pose was not among those published.’

Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878–1928

by Stephen Kotkin
Joseph Stalin, for a quarter-century undisputed master of the Soviet Union and its postwar satellites, was one of the leading mass murderers of the murderous twentieth century. So much so that Hitler, Stalin’s competitor in this field, came greatly to admire him. In some of his “table talks,” held in …