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August 4, 2012

In Russia one of the biggest hits on YouTube is the dramatic scene in November when Vladimir Putin was booed at a martial arts contest. As he entered the ring at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow to congratulate the Russian winner of a bout against an American, cheers turned to catcalls.

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May 23, 2012

In the last 18 months, nine European governments have lost power: Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Greece, and Romania.

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December 30, 2011

The Hungarian Prime Minister I knew was a fun-loving firebrand. Now his democratic deficit is a threat to the EU.

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December 2, 2011

Moscow’s leader is a corrupt bully. But it’s not worth starting a second Cold War over him.

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October 29, 2011

Themes of tyranny and brutality run through this collection for stories, published in English for the first time.

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September 16, 2011

Russian officials today, much like the Soviet authorities of a past generation, encourage a cult of the Great Patriotic War. In the national narrative, this was their Finest Hour, still invoked on significant anniversary days as an example of heroism and sacrifice by politicians such as Vladimir Putin.

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August 20, 2011

Nobody saw it coming — this superb account re-creates in vivid detail the passing of the Soviet Union 20 years ago. So many moments are instantly identified as “the day the world changed” that it is easy to forget the relevant date — or indeed the event the label is supposed to describe. But it is no hyperbole to tag Christmas Day 1991, when Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the last leader of the Soviet Union and the Red Flag was lowered from the Kremlin, as one of those dates. Very likely, future historians will judge it to be far more significant than 9/11.

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August 19, 2011

THE plot was hatched at a bathhouse in downtown Moscow. At midmorning on Saturday, Aug. 17, 1991, the head of the K.G.B., Vladimir A. Kryuchkov, summoned five senior Soviet officials for a highly secretive meeting that he told them would be vital for the future of the U.S.S.R.

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October 19, 2010

President Medvedev has offered to help the west’s faltering Afghan campaign - but both parties must heed the lessons from the Soviet army’s disastrous withdrawal in the 1980s.

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October 9, 2010

An outstanding collection from one of Russia’s greats who dared to write against the wishes of the authorities.

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August 21, 2010

In his Cabinet room, the leader was exasperated by the latest reports of casualties in Afghanistan. “We’re in ... but how to get out racks one’s brains,” he told his generals and political colleagues. “We’ve been fighting in Afghanistan for years now and if we don’t change our approach we’ll be there another 20 or 30 years. We have not learnt how to wage war there. We had a clearly defined goal: to get a friendly regime in Afghanistan.

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August 14, 2010

Having had Rushdie and Coetzee defend him, Milan Kundera’s reflections on other writers shed some light on his own tricky past.

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December 2, 2009

No one here (I mean in Britain, not perhaps in the columns of The Spectator) likes to read anything nice about the Germans. So I shall warn you that there will be some praise for Germany in this review, mixed with the usual level of bashing. If the very thought of this shocks or appals you, I’ll do that rare thing for any journalist and suggest you turn the page and move on to something more comforting.

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November 21, 2009

There’s one sound I shall never forget about the revolution that bustled the Communists out of power in Czechoslovakia 20 years ago: the jangling of door keys. Every night for a week, crowds gathered in Prague’s Wenceslas Square. At regular intervals, thousands of people in unison waved their keyrings above their heads. The noise echoed throughout the city, signifying to their hated communist masters: “Go home, here’s your key. It’s time to leave.”

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November 8, 2009

The heady events in Berlin in 1989 had far more impact than the rise of Islamism. Today is the real 9/11. This is not meant as a quibble about dates. Future historians will remember 9 November 1989 as far more significant than that terrifying day in September eight years ago. Countless long-forgotten events have been marked in headlines as the day we shall all remember. But nobody can doubt that the world changed on that wonderful night in Berlin.

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