The Role of War and Sacrifice in Russia’s Mythic Identity

A History of Victories Over Mongols, Napoleon, and Nazis Has Shaped Its Sense of Exceptionalism and Wariness Toward the West

If you want to understand Russia better, think of war. But not the one in eastern Ukraine or the frightening possibility of a conflict with NATO.

Go back instead to Russia’s 1945 victory over Nazi Germany. That triumph is the greatest event in Russia’s thousand-year history. In the largest war ever, Russia led the Soviet Union in crushing absolute evil and thereby saved the world from destruction.

Yes, Britain and the United States played a significant role in that victory, but Russians can counter by noting—accurately—that the back of Hitler’s army …

More In: Russian History

Memo to the West: Stop Giving Russians Reasons to Love Putin

Haters Shouldn't Be Surprised That Their Mockery Only Makes Vlad Stronger

On Sunday, Sept. 18, millions of Russians went to the polls in national legislative elections that delivered Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party a decisive win, netting more half the popular …

KGB Seeks to Hire Well-Connected Patrician WASPs, Apply Discreetly

Why Did a Young, Harvard-Educated State Department Employee Pledge His Allegiance to Josef Stalin?

How does an idealist turn into a willing participant in murder? How does such a person—neither poor, nor socially deprived—learn to crush those he loves for the sake of …

America’s Relationship With Russia Has Always Been Complicated

As Ambassador to St. Petersburg, John Quincy Adams Impressed the Tsar, But Kept His Ideological Distance

A statue of John Quincy Adams stands outside of Spaso House, the residence of the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow. In 1809 President James Madison asked Adams, at age 42 already …