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Bilyana Lilly

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The current conflict in Ukraine has reopened old wounds and brought the complexity of Russia’s relationship with the United States and Europe to the forefront. One of the most important factors in relations between the Kremlin and the West has been the issue of Ballistic Missile Defense, particularly as a result of American plans to develop a Missile Defense Shield with installations in Eastern Europe. Bilyana Lilly, an expert on Eurasian affairs and security, has written the most comprehensive study available on Russia’s Ballistic Missile Defense policies. In the course of her book Russian Foreign Policy toward Missile Defense: Actors, Motivations, and Influence (Lexington Books, 2014), drawing on a huge array of media sources as well as interviews, she demonstrates how these policies serve as a barometer for measuring US-Russia and US-NATO relations, as well as how they illustrate the complex interplay of factions and forces among Russia’s elite. As relations between Russia and the West continue to worsen, a thorough examination of how BMD policies have affected both Russia’s relations with the outside world and served as a tool for domestic political considerations could not be timelier.

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Thane GustafsonWheel of Fortune: The Battle for Oil and Power in Russia

January 20, 2015

Russia’s economy hinges on its ability to produce and sell natural resources. Especially oil. It comes as no surprise that the collapse of Soviet Union ushered in a mad scramble for control over oil resources. The oligarchs who sat atop the treasure trove of oil production following post-Soviet privatization, clashed with the Russian government over […]

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Jenny KaminerWomen with a Thirst for Destruction: The Bad Mother in Russian Culture

January 20, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Gender Studies] Jenny Kaminer‘s new book, Women with a Thirst for Destruction: The Bad Mother in Russian Culture (Northwestern University Press, 2014) analyzes Russian myths of motherhood over time and in particular, the evolving myths of the figure of the “bad mother.” Her study examines how political, religious, economic, social, and cultural factors affect […]

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Alexander CooleyGreat Game, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia

November 11, 2014

Central Asia is one of the least studied and understood regions of the Eurasian landmass, conjuring up images of 19th century Great Power politics, endless steppe, and impenetrable regimes. Alexander Cooley, a professor of Political Science at Barnard College in New York, has studied the five post-Soviet states of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan […]

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Angela StentThe Limits of Partnership: U.S.-Russian Relations in the Twentieth-First Century

November 3, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in World Affairs] In 2005, the Comedy Central Network aired an episode of “South Park” in which one of the characters asked if any “Third World” countries other than Russia had the ability to fly a whale to the moon. During a press conference that took place two years later, Russian President Vladimir […]

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Vladimir SharovBefore and During, trans. Oliver Ready

September 30, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Historical Fiction] Historical fiction, by definition, supplements the verifiable documentary record with elements of the imagination. Otherwise, it is not fiction but history. These elements often include invented characters, made-up dialogue, the filling in of vague or unknowable events and personalities. Through the more or less careful manipulation of historical truth, the […]

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Willard SunderlandThe Baron’s Cloak: A History of the Russian Empire in War and Revolution

September 4, 2014

The Russian Empire once extended from the Baltic Sea to the Sea of Japan and contained a myriad of different ethnicities and nationalities. Dr. Willard Sunderland‘s The Baron’s Cloak: A History of the Russian Empire in War and Revolution (Cornell University Press, 2014) is an engaging new take on the empire that explores the tumultuous history of […]

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Katherine Pickering AntonovaAn Ordinary Marriage: The World of a Gentry Family in Provincial Russia

August 17, 2014

Katherine Pickering Antonova’s An Ordinary Marriage: The World of a Gentry Family in Provincial Russia (Oxford University Press, 2012) investigates the Chikhachevs, members of the middling nobility in the pre-emancipation era. The book’s principal characters are Andrei, a graphomaniacal paterfamilias who (conveniently for historians) enlists his entire family in diary keeping and presides over the education of […]

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Ivo MijnssenThe Quest for an Ideal Youth in Putin’s Russia I: Back To Our Future! History, Modernity, and Patriotism According to Nashi, 2005-2013

August 12, 2014

The Soviet Union once boasted of its unparalleled political participation among youth. Belonging to outwardly political organizations, these Octobrists, Pioneers, and Komsomoltsy often represented the spirit of Soviet youth. They were engaged, well-informed, and enthusiastic about their country. In his book, Back To Our Future! History, Modernity, and Patriotism According to Nashi, 2005-2013, Ivo Mijnssen fills […]

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Edmund LevinA Child of Christian Blood: Murder and Conspiracy in Tsarist Russia: The Beilis Blood Libel

July 13, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in History] There is a lot of nasty mythology about Jews, but surely the most heinous and ridiculous is the bizarre notion that “they” (as if Jews were all the same) have long been in the habit of murdering Christian children, draining them of blood, and mixing said blood into Passover matzo. We […]

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