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Articles on Stalin

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Vladimir Putin speaks at a rally in Moscow in March 2022, according to this Kremlin image, with a banner that says “For the world without Nazism! For Russia!” Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Andalou Agency via Getty Images

Putin’s propaganda is rooted in Russian history – and that’s why it works

For hundreds of years, Russia has elevated its political leaders as figureheads. That’s part of what makes its propaganda so convincing.
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his speech during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, on May 9, 2021, marking the 76th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

How Russia’s fixation on the Second World War helps explain its Ukraine invasion

Russia’s take on the Second World War is not merely for nationalist consumption. The actions of the Soviet Union in defeating Nazi Germany appear to be a blueprint for the Russian attack on Ukraine.
Crimean Tatars gathered for a rally commemorating the 70th anniversary of Stalin’s mass deportation, in Simferopol, Crimea, on May 18, 2014. AP Photo/Alexander Polegenko

Why Crimean Tatars are fearful as Russia invades Ukraine

A scholar who spent many years living with the Crimean Tatars explains their long history of persecution.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sit far apart during talks in the Kremlin in Moscow a week before Russia invaded Ukraine. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Deep-rooted Russian fear of the West has fuelled Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

Just because deep-rooted Russian fears might not seem reasonable doesn’t mean they aren’t real in Vladimir Putin’s mind.
Above it, only skies? In it, only believers? Imagine that! Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Why is it so hard for atheists to get voted in to Congress?

Despite growing numbers of non-religious Americans, self-declared atheists are few and far between in the halls of power – putting the US at odds with other global democracies.
A plaque on a house in St Petersburg that says: ‘Here the writer Lydia Korneievna Chukovskaya wrote Sophia Petrovna, a story about the Great Terror 1936-1938’. Wikimedia Commons

Hidden women of history: Lydia Chukovskaya, editor, writer, heroic friend

Persecuted by Stalin, writers Lydia Chukovskaya and Anna Akhmatova endured threats, cold and starvation. And in an epic feat, Lydia memorised the poems of her friend that were too dangerous to commit to paper.
The Death of Stalin is about the chaotic political drama that followed the Russian leader’s demise in 1953. Madman Films

Speaking with: satirist Armando Iannucci on The Death of Stalin

Speaking with: satirist Armando Ianucci on The Death of Stalin. The Conversation, CC BY44.1 MB (download)
Armando Iannucci, the satirist and director behind the film The Death of Stalin spoke with Associate Professor Stephen Harrington, an expert on political satire.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China in December 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada drops charade of progressive trade with China

Canada’s “progressive trade agenda” with China might have died in the Great Hall of the People earlier this month. But there’s now an opportunity for a serious reconsideration of the relationship.
Vladimir Lenin and Nadezhda Krupskaya. Antoon Kuper/flickr

Nadya Krupskaya: the Russian revolutionary

Russian revolutionary Nadezhda Krupskaya, like other leading women in the new Stalin-led state, was marginalised. But in her case, because she was Lenin’s widow.
The 1976 memorial at the Babi Yar massacre site only recognised Soviet victims, despite the killing of more than 30,000 Jewish people. In 1991 a Jewish memorial was installed nearby. Jennifer Boyer/Flickr

Decoding the music masterpieces: Shostakovich’s Babi Yar

On September 29 1941, Nazis murdered more than 30,000 Jews in a ravine outside Kiev. Dmitri Shostakovich’s 13th Symphony, Babi Yar, is a damning critique of the Soviet Union’s lack of recognition of the massacre, and a condemnation of Stalinism.

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