Geoffrey Hosking

Geoffrey Hosking is emeritus professor of Russian history at University College London. Trust: A History will be published by Oxford.

In​ 2007 France’s leading Slavist, Georges Nivat, following the example of Pierre Nora’s Lieux de mémoire, published a similar survey of Russia, Les Sites de la mémoire russe. Russia’s history, he remarked, was inexhaustibly rich, but susceptible to constant reinterpretation and punctuated by black holes: events that the authorities at any given time preferred...

In 1913 Osip Mandelstam published his first book of poems, Kamen (‘Stone’). His father was a successful Jewish glovemaker from Warsaw who had moved to St Petersburg and sent his son to the Tenishev lycée, probably the finest school in Russia. There Mandelstam had received a broad-ranging education centred on the classics. He revelled in his escape from what he called the...

Peasants in Arms: Russia v. Napoleon

Geoffrey Hosking, 3 December 2009

We are not short of descriptions of Russia’s war against Napoleon; so at least you might think. This was, after all, Russia’s first ‘great patriotic war’, and Russian historians, pre-revolutionary, Soviet and post-Soviet, have not missed the opportunity to extol the heroism and patriotism of their soldiers and peasants. The spirit of War and Peace still hovers over...

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