Timothy Snyder is the Housum Professor of History at Yale. His most recent book is Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning.
 (June 2016)

IN THE REVIEW

The Wars of Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin at an ice-skating event in Sochi, Russia, before the Olympics, April 2013

Pozdrowienia z Noworosji [Greetings from Novorossiya]

by Paweł Pieniążek

Entscheidung in Kiew. Ukrainische Lektionen [Decision in Kiev: Ukrainian Lessons]

by Karl Schlögel
The new Russian wars are a Bonapartism without a Napoleon, temporarily resolving domestic tensions in doomed foreign adventures, but lacking a vision for the world. Ideals are recognized in order to be mocked.

Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine

The opposition leader Vitali Klitschko attending a protest rally in Maidan square, Kiev, December 16, 2013
Ukraine is not a theater for the historical propaganda of others or a puzzle from which pieces can be removed. It is a major European country whose citizens have important cultural and economic ties with both the European Union and Russia. To set its own course, Ukraine needs normal public debate, the restoration of parliamentary democracy, and workable relations with all of its neighbors.

Ukraine: The New Dictatorship

Viktor Yanukovych and Vladimir Putin at a Russian-Ukrainian summit, Moscow, December 17, 2013
On paper, Ukraine is now a dictatorship. President Viktor Yanukovych, in having the deputies of his Party of Regions endorse an extraordinary packet of legislation, has arrogated decisive political power to himself. After hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians spent weeks in the cold demonstrating for basic human rights and a …

NYR DAILY

Poland vs. History

The construction site of the Museum of World War II, Gdańsk, Poland, April 17, 2016

In early 2017, Poland was supposed to unveil what is perhaps the most ambitious museum devoted to World War II in any country. Yet the current Polish government, led by the conservative Law and Justice party, now seems determined to cancel the museum, on the grounds that it does not express “the Polish point of view.” It is hard to interpret this phrase, which in practice seems to mean the suppression of both Polish experience and the history of the war in general.

Trump’s Putin Fantasy

Donald Trump at a campaign rally, Syracuse, New York, April 16, 2016; Vladimir Putin at a meeting with journalists, Moscow, Russia, April 14, 2016

Trump presents himself as the maker of a financial empire who is willing to break all the rules, whereas that is what Putin in fact is. Thus far Trump can only verbally abuse his opponents at rallies, whereas Putin’s opponents are assassinated. Thus far Trump can only have his campaign manager rough up journalists he doesn’t like. In Russia some of the best journalists are in fact murdered.

Svetlana Alexievich: The Truth in Many Voices

The Chernobyl nuclear power station, May 2008

The chronicles of Svetlana Alexievich, this year’s laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature, are the opposite of escapism. Her relentlessly consistent interrogation of the experiences of Soviet citizens in the 1970s and 1980s has made her an acute critic of the abuse of memory in contemporary Belarus and especially contemporary Russia.

Edge of Europe, End of Europe

The Lenin monument in Kharkiv, Ukraine, 1967

The crisis of the European Union has two sides. The political crisis is on view in Germany and Greece. But the philosophical crisis is on display in Russia and the eastern borderlands of Ukraine. Since a large number of Ukrainians have been willing to take risks, suffer, and die in the name of Europe—even as the EU itself suffers a grave identity crisis—it makes sense to ask what they think they are working toward.