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Down below, on velvet armchairs

Orlando Figes, 9 November 1989

Russia’s Rulers Under the Old Regime 
by Dominic Lieven.
Yale, 407 pp., £27.50, June 1989, 0 300 04371 6
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... ruling élite in the downfall of the old regime. Russia’s Rulers is a labour of love, and only Dominic Lieven could have written it. He does, after all, share the family name of Prince Andrei Lieven (1839-1913), who, he tells us, was the only member of the State Council to inherit the title ‘Serene Highness’, so ...

Peasants in Arms

Geoffrey Hosking: Russia v. Napoleon, 3 December 2009

Russia against Napoleon: The Battle for Europe, 1807 to 1814 
by Dominic Lieven.
Allen Lane, 618 pp., £30, October 2009, 978 0 7139 9637 1
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... effects of winter and the travails of the French soldiers in their long retreat through the snow. Dominic Lieven offers something that has hitherto been lacking, a lucid and detailed account of Russia’s diplomatic, administrative and military leadership, without which the people’s heroism would have remained diffuse and ineffective, and Napoleon ...

I try not to think too hard

Greg Afinogenov: The End of Tsarist Russia, 4 February 2016

Towards the Flame: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia 
by Dominic Lieven.
Allen Lane, 429 pp., £25, May 2015, 978 1 84614 381 6
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Imperial Apocalypse: The Great War and the Destruction of the Russian Empire 
by Joshua Sanborn.
Oxford, 304 pp., £18.99, October 2015, 978 0 19 874568 6
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... of the men and women who shaped the public affairs of the empire in 1914 held any power in 1924. Dominic Lieven’s new book, Towards the Flame, tries to make sense of the suicidal decision that Russia’s soon-to-be ‘former people’ made in July 1914. It covers much the same ground as Russia and the Origins of the First World War (1983), including ...

What’s Left?

Sheila Fitzpatrick: The Russian Revolution, 29 March 2017

October: The Story of the Russian Revolution 
by China Miéville.
Verso, 358 pp., £18.99, May 2017, 978 1 78478 280 1
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The Russian Revolution 1905-1921 
by Mark D. Steinberg.
Oxford, 388 pp., £19.99, February 2017, 978 0 19 922762 4
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Russia in Revolution: An Empire in Crisis, 1890 to 1928 
by S.A. Smith.
Oxford, 455 pp., £25, January 2017, 978 0 19 873482 6
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The Russian Revolution: A New History 
by Sean McMeekin.
Basic, 496 pp., $30, May 2017, 978 0 465 03990 6
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Historically Inevitable? Turning Points of the Russian Revolution 
by Tony Brenton.
Profile, 364 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 1 78125 021 1
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... could have altered the whole course of Russian, and so European, and world, history?’ But Dominic Lieven is surely speaking for the majority of the volume’s contributors when he writes that ‘nothing is more fatal than a belief that history’s course was inevitable.’ To be sure, those contributors see contingency as playing a greater part ...

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