How Literature Became a Weapon in Russia’s Culture Wars

It’s a Battle of Tolstoys as Protestors Face off Against Putin’s Propaganda Machine

On April 10, 2022, Moscow police arrested resident Konstantin Goldman for brandishing a book in public. Goldman had posted an image on social media in which he posed holding a copy of Tolstoy’s War and Peace next to a section of a World War II monument that commemorates Kyiv’s status as a Soviet “hero-city”—a distinction given to cities that endured some of the harshest moments of the Nazi invasion. He was charged with violating Russia’s prohibition against discrediting the military, a new law that can carry a punishment of up …

Ukraine in My Blood and on My Mind

A Foreign Correspondent’s Family Served Russian Imperialism, and Then Was Destroyed By It

This is the second of two essays exploring the intertwined histories of Russia and Ukraine, told through one family’s history. Read the first essay …

The Russian Empire, My Soviet Loyalist Grandfather, and Me

From Catherine the Great to Stalin, My Family Played a Part in Imperial Rule Over Ukraine—Until They Didn’t

This is the first of two essays exploring the intertwined histories of Russia and Ukraine, told through one family’s history. Read the second essay …

Bread and Conflict in Ukraine | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Bread and Conflict in Ukraine

The Central Role of Wheat in War Determines Whether Nations Starve or Survive

Russia and Ukraine control about 11.2 percent of the world’s arable land, and supply 28 percent of its exported wheat. A substantial portion the world’s most fertile wheatfields lie along …

Is the U.S. Winning Russia’s War in Ukraine?

Putin Is Losing, Ukraine Is Suffering, And It’s America’s Geopolitical Battle to Lose

The Russian war in Ukraine is a calamity—for the people suffering through it, for Ukraine, for Russia, for Europe (which has lost its strategic compass), for China (which needs stability …

Should All World Leaders Be Comedians First?

Finding Authenticity, Inspiration, and Moral Authority in President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Unusual Path to Government

Should all world leaders be former comedians? If Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is any indication, it’s an option worth considering.

The New York Times, Politico, and the Washington Post have all …