Category Archives: History

A Nazi taught interrogation tactics to Syrians and Egyptians

“Ziad Khoury” writes: Damascus, 1988. Plainclothes security personnel hover constantly around the main entrance of an elegant residential building. There are whispers that an “important” German fugitive lives on the second floor. As teenagers back then, whenever we got too close to that building, the security officers would order us to disperse, warning that only… Read More »

Putin’s rule is weakening

Timothy Snyder writes: It seems to me, from a distance, that Putin’s rule is weakening. We now regularly hear from people aside from Putin (for example former prime minister and president Dmitry Medvedev) about the meaning of the war, the catastrophic consequences that await Ukraine and the West, and so forth. This is interesting, because… Read More »

Don’t blame Dostoyevsky

Mikhail Shishkin writes: Culture, too, is a casualty of war. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, some Ukrainian writers called for a boycott of Russian music, films, and books. Others have all but accused Russian literature of complicity in the atrocities committed by Russian soldiers. The entire culture, they say, is imperialist, and this military aggression… Read More »

The war in Ukraine is the true culture war

Jason Farago writes: At the thousand-year-old Cathedral of Saint Sophia here, standing on an easel in front of a towering Baroque golden altar, is a new, freshly painted icon that’s just a foot square. It depicts a 17th-century Cossack military commander with a long gray beard. His eyebrows are arched. His halo is a plain… Read More »

Clarence Thomas’s dystopia is becoming our reality

Corey Robin writes: On Friday, June 24th, Justice Clarence Thomas got something he’s sought his entire adult life: recognition. Writing in support of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Thomas recommended that the Court, as a next move, strike down a half century’s worth of “demonstrably erroneous” precedents establishing the right to… Read More »

Putin’s war of choice was never about NATO

Natalia Antonova writes: As NATO met in Madrid last week, conspiracy theories about its role in Ukraine spread fast in Russian media. More respected theorists such as John Mearsheimer, meanwhile, still reiterate their claim that in making war, Russia was merely reacting to the West. Similar arguments have been put forth by other prominent thinkers,… Read More »

Russian nationalism never went away

Joy Neumeyer writes: On 19 November 1990, Boris Yeltsin gave a speech in Kiev to announce that, after more than 300 years of rule by the Russian tsars and the Soviet ‘totalitarian regime’ in Moscow, Ukraine was free at last. Russia, he said, did not want any special role in dictating Ukraine’s future, nor did… Read More »

How far do Putin’s imperial ambitions go?

Yaroslav Trofimov writes: At a ceremony honoring young geographers in 2016, President Vladimir Putin asked one boy about the capital of Burkina Faso and then quizzed another about where Russia’s borders end. “At the Bering Strait with the United States,” the 9-year-old boy ventured hesitantly. Mr. Putin, who chairs the board of the Russian Geographic… Read More »

America is growing apart, possibly for good

Ronald Brownstein writes: It may be time to stop talking about “red” and “blue” America. That’s the provocative conclusion of Michael Podhorzer, a longtime political strategist for labor unions and the chair of the Analyst Institute, a collaborative of progressive groups that studies elections. In a private newsletter that he writes for a small group… Read More »

Russia has a plan for Ukraine. It looks like Chechnya

Neil Hauer writes: The constant boom of artillery in the near distance is the defining feature of life in the Donbas today. As Russia presses its offensive to take the eastern part of Ukraine, the signs of conflict are everywhere: buildings smashed to ruins by cruise missiles, Ukrainian tanks and howitzers on the highway headed… Read More »