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Where their real face was known

John Lloyd, 6 December 1990

The KGB: The Inside Story of the Foreign Operations 
by Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky.
Hodder, 704 pp., £20, October 1990, 0 340 48561 2
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Inside the KGB: Myth and Reality 
by Vladimir Kuzichkin.
Deutsch, 406 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 233 98616 2
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... Maclean and the ‘fifth man’ (‘revealed’ with too much fanfare by Andrew/Gordievsky), John Cairncross. These men, and others, performed prodigies of courage and treachery, yet their work was more often than not ignored, misinterpreted or brutally cut short. Sorge’s warnings were ignored by Stalin, clinging to his belief in Hitler’s word. Maly ...

How have they made it so soon?

John Lloyd, 21 November 1991

The Soviet Mafia 
by Arkady Vaksberg, translated by John Roberts and Elizabeth Roberts.
Weidenfeld, 275 pp., £19.99, September 1991, 0 297 81202 5
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... A recent interview I had with the chairman of the Russian Central Bank exemplifies the dangerously tense atmosphere within which the politics of the Soviet Union have been conducted since the August putsch – and underscores the importance of what Arkady Vaksberg writes in his uneven, irritating but critically important book. What Georgy Matiukhin wanted to say was that a large part of the developing business culture of the Soviet Union was criminal ...

In Fear and Trembling to the Polls

John Lloyd, 30 November 1995

... Liberals and democrats are fearful about next month’s elections in Russia. Their expectation since 1990 – when Boris Yeltsin became leader of Russia’s Parliament – had been that elections would bring administrations and personalities committed in the main to liberal and democratic programmes. That expectation lasted until the results of the December 1993 elections showed the winner to be Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s ironically named Liberal Democrats, a party of extreme authoritarian nationalism ...

Fathers and Sons

John Lloyd, 6 March 1997

Informer 001: The Myth of Pavlik Morozov 
by Yuri Druzhnikov.
Transaction, 200 pp., £19.95, February 1997, 1 56000 283 2
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... This is the story of the Soviet Union’s most famous informer, one of the great hero-monsters of the century, and of the pressures which made it possible for a young boy in the North Urals to denounce his father to the secret services and to become an icon for doing so. Crucially, too, it is the story of the dramatic transition in the early Thirties from the relatively relaxed period of the New Economic Policy to the strenuous years of the Five-Year Plan ...

Ruslan’s Rise

John Lloyd, 8 April 1993

The Struggle for Russia: Power and Change in the Democratic Revolution 
by Ruslan Khasbulatov, translated by Richard Sakwa.
Routledge, 256 pp., £19.99, April 1993, 0 415 09292 2
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... Mr Ruslan lmranovich Khasbulatov must be taken seriously, though it isn’t always easy to do so: he can be so self-regarding and flatulent, so biased in his handling of the Russian Parliament, of which he is the Speaker, and so contradictory in everything he says. But he has become one of the most important men in Russia; and because of the state of that country, and the great danger it will pose for the rest of the world if its reform movement implodes and sets off a chain of internal and external conflicts, he is a critically important world figure ...
Ablaze: The Story of Chernobyl 
by Piers Paul Read.
Secker, 478 pp., £16.99, May 1993, 0 436 40963 1
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... The explosion at Chernobyl in the Northern Ukraine on 26 April 1986 was less of a disaster for the surrounding inhabitants than for the Communist system. Though far from being the most serious nuclear accident that can be imagined, it suggested that humanity and the environment were less at risk from a catastrophe of this kind than might have been supposed ...

Claiming victory

John Lloyd, 21 November 1985

The Miners’ Strike 
by Geoffrey Goodman.
Pluto, 213 pp., £4.50, September 1985, 0 7453 0073 1
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Strike: Thatcher, Scargill and the Miners 
by Peter Wilsher, Donald Macintyre and Michael Jones.
Deutsch, 284 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 233 97825 9
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... The consensus since the miners’ strike ended in March has been overwhelming: it was a disaster, most of all for the miners themselves. It is irresistible, in the interests of fairness at least, to look at the possibility that that verdict is wrong. Let us suppose – as Arthur Scargill invites us to – that it was forced upon them: that, as he also claims, it was a victory ...

Perestroika and its Discontents

John Lloyd, 11 July 1991

Moscow and Beyond: 1986-1989 
by Andrei Sakharov.
Hutchinson, 168 pp., £14.99, April 1991, 0 09 174972 7
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Fatal Half-Measures: The Allure of Democracy in the Soviet Union 
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, edited and translated by Antonia Bovis.
Little, Brown, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1991, 0 316 96883 8
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... The Soviet Union might be represented in caricature as the Michelangelo Laocoön, hands clutching desperately at a future freedom while the serpents of the present twine around its trunk, and its feet remain embedded in the marble of the past. Such a state, where the imperatives of past, present and future are all equally powerful, is very hard to inhabit: which is why we should not dismiss the recent International Atomic Energy Agency report on Chernobyl when it says that stress caused by perestroika was responsible for more illness than the side-effects of the meltdown ...

October!

John Lloyd, 21 October 1993

... On the morning of Sunday 3 October, Russia’s most treasured icon was borne into the Bogoyavlensky Sobor, the Cathedral of the Epiphany, in Moscow. The Madonna of Vladimir, a 12th-century depiction of the infant Jesus resting on the arm of an abstracted Madonna, was delivered to the church by Zil minibus. In spite of his recent heart trouble, Patriarch Alexei of Moscow and All Russia, his great grey beard stirring slightly in the autumn wind, was there to see it up the steps and along the nave of the magnificently painted, glowing interior of the church with which he is most closely associated ...

How frightened should we be?

John Lloyd, 10 February 1994

Russia 2010 
by Daniel Yergin and Thane Gustafson.
Random House, 302 pp., $32, October 1993, 0 679 42995 6
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What About the workers: Workers and the Transition to Capitalism in Russia 
by Simon Clarke.
Verso, 248 pp., £34.95, September 1993, 0 86091 650 2
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After the Soviet Union: From Empire to Nation 
edited by Timothy Colton and Robert Levgold.
Norton, 208 pp., $24.95, November 1992, 0 393 03420 8
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... On the matter of Russia’s future there can be no such thing as idle speculation. Now the Russian Prime Minister, Iosif Dozhdev, launches the New Economic Programme, eventually known to history as the Dozhdev line. The time is finally right for a currency reform, which at one blow eliminates state debt and converts enterprise and farm debt at a steep rate ...

Diary

John Lloyd: The Russian reformers’ new party, 15 July 1999

... time with the air of a man unfazed by his boss’s enthusiasm, then said: ‘Boris Yefimovich, Mr Lloyd wants to ask you some questions.’ Nemtsov reluctantly disengaged himself, and greeted me in a friendly fashion, inviting the protocol officer as he did so to ‘come back later’, while winking at me. He was Bill Clinton without the need for ...

All Together Now

John Lloyd: The British Trade Union, 19 October 2000

British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. Vol. I: The Postwar Compromise, 1945-64 
edited by John McIlroy and Nina Fishman et al.
Ashgate, 335 pp., £35, January 2000, 0 7546 0018 1
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British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. Vol. II: The High Tide of Trade Unionism, 1964-79 
edited by John McIlroy and Nina Fishman et al.
Ashgate, 389 pp., £35, January 2000, 0 7546 0018 1
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The TUC: From the General Strike to New Unionism 
by Robert Taylor.
Palgrave, 299 pp., £45, September 2000, 0 333 93066 5
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... who is a working peer. The only leading official to whom the Prime Minister talks regularly is John Monks, the TUC General Secretary, who shares something of his political approach and whom he usually sees discreetly, rather than for talks heralded by the TUC. Union leaders have had, perforce, to get used to a vastly diminished status – though none of ...

The Russians Are Coming

John Lloyd, 11 May 1995

Comrade Criminal: The Theft of the Second Russian Revolution 
by Stephen Handelman.
Joseph, 360 pp., £16.99, September 1994, 0 7181 0015 8
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Crime Without Frontiers: The Worldwide Expansion of Organised Crime and the Pax Mafiosa 
by Clare Sterling.
Little, Brown, 274 pp., £17.50, June 1994, 0 316 91121 6
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Inside Yeltsin’s Russia 
by John Kampfner.
Cassell, 256 pp., £17.99, October 1994, 9780304344635
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A Dishonoured Society 
by John Follain.
Little, Brown, 356 pp., £16.99, February 1995, 0 316 90982 3
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... take long for all that to change. In a book full of closely observed incident and character, John Kampfner describes a zadvorkia, or courtyard party, which he happened upon in Central Moscow soon after Yeltsin won the Russian Presidency in June 1991: ‘I had stumbled on the nouveaux riches, the New Russians as they came to be known, at play for the ...

Off with her head

John Lloyd, 24 November 1988

Office without Power: Diaries 1968-72 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 562 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 09 173647 1
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... of this year Tony Benn took part in a radio discussion on the working of Parliament, together with John Biffen and Roy (Lord) Jenkins. Asked by the chairman, Peter Hennessy, if he did not think that the Lords now functioned as a ‘focus of opposition’, Benn responded that it was, instead, ‘part of an attack on democracy. After all, why bother to vote in ...

How to Make a Market

John Lloyd, 10 November 1994

Eternal Russia: Yeltsin, Gorbachev and the Mirage of Democracy 
by Jonathan Steele.
Faber, 288 pp., £17.50, March 1994, 0 571 16368 8
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Post-Communist Societies in Transition 
by John Gray.
Social Market Foundation, 45 pp., £8, February 1994, 1 874097 30 5
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... institutions are debated more widely and more knowledgeably. Both Jonathan Steele’s book and John Gray’s essay sharpen a critique which has so far been fragmentary and diffuse. They articulate deeply-felt arguments against the type of reform Russia is undergoing and warn of the dangers of social upheaval if it continues in the same way. Both writers ...

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