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A Stroll Through Communist Havana

The Cold War, from 1945-1989, is broadly defined as a geopolitical struggle between the West and the East, democracy and communism. In reality, the Cold War was an extremely complex situation, with many layers to it, ranging from politics to proxy wars. One of the biggest sources of tension between the two sides was the […]

The Virgin Lands Campaign

The post-Stalin Soviet Union changed politically, culturally, and economically in countless different ways. Politically, Stalin’s cult of personality was denounced and his name was intentionally forgotten and excluded from Soviet daily life. Even his body, on display next to Lenin, was removed after divine intervention appealed to a woman at the 21st Party Congress, asking […]

A Palace for a King (or Stalin)

The 1930s in the Soviet Union was a decade marked by political and military upheaval and a continuation of the modernization of the country, dominated by the growing cult of personality surrounding Joseph Stalin. A man never meant for power, Stalin ruthlessly consolidated his control over their country and went about reforming it his way with […]

The Successes and Flaws of a Socialist City of Steel

The Great Turn, the period following Lenin’s death during the late 1920s, oversaw a radical reshaping of Russian life, including politics, social life, and the economy. The most important aspect of this period was the economic progress made. Stalin himself claimed that “we are 50 to 100 years behind advanced countries. We must cover this […]

Calling all Kadets

When all hell finally broke loose in Russia in 1905, multiple political groups and factions rose up to rebel against the Tsar and his autocratic government. Starting with Bloody Sunday on January 9th, 1905, the Revolution of 1905 was critically important in the revolutionary phase of Russian history. With strikes, bloodshed, and revolts, and mutinies, […]

Sergei Witte and Russia’s Industrial Revolution

As the personal photographer to Tsar Nicholas II, Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii traveled across the vast lands of Russia photographing various scenes of Russia for the Tsar and his family. Born into a noble family in 1863, Prokudin-Gorskii was considered a “pioneer of color photography, talented scientist and inventor, educator, and social activist” (prokudin-gorsky.org). Above all else, his work […]