This is a blog for use in both of my HIS 241 and HIS 242 Russian history survey courses at Northern Virginia Community College.

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20 June 2012

What's New in Russian history

Just finished browsing through my new issue of Slavic Review (summer 2012).  It is amazing how very little of academic writing I bother to read any more.  Of the issues articles, I glanced at"Swarm Life and the Biology of War and Peace."  Really, did we need to read that?  Then there are the pages of reviews of the newest books in the profession.  Does anyone really buy books like:  Last Judgment Iconography in the Carpathians?  Is there really something new and important to be told in The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevism:  The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1921-1939?  It is not hard to understand the challenges faced by the academic publishing industry these days.  Most of this should just be in eformat.

13 June 2012

Russia defends weapons sales to Syria, says U.S. arming rebels

Reuters.  Evidence that Putin's leadership is still struggling with trying to understand the realities of a new world out there.  There is no zero-sum game anymore.

12 June 2012

More Protests in Russia June 2012

There were again large protests in Russia directed against the authoritarian regime of Vladimir Putin.  It is tough to make out what exactly direction Russia will be taking with respect to liberalizing the political regime in the years ahead.  Seems as if the oil economy boomlet is still providing enough in the way of money to fuel a middle class upgrade in living standards, and there is definite signs of improved living conditions for a lot of people in Moscow and St. Petersburg (that is debatable elsewhere in Russia).  There is also entrenched corruption at all levels of the regime to provide enough coercive force to keep things in order, and much of that force is now in the hands of pretty professional people. Change will not come easily in Russia.