sat 07/12/2019

Soviet Union

Robert Service: Kremlin Winter review – behind Putin's masks

When U.S. president George W. Bush looked into the eyes of Vladimir Putin he famously “saw his soul”. In his latest meditation on modern Russia, Britain's top Kremlinologist Robert Service gets as close to the Russian president’s soul as may be...

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Book extract: Second-Hand Time by Svetlana Alexievich

Between 1991 to 2012, Belorussian journalist and oral historian Svetlana Alexievich travelled the countries that constituted the former USSR conducting interviews with the “the little great people” who had lived under Soviet communism and witnessed...

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Book extract: Second-Hand Time by Svetlana Alexievich

Between 1991 to 2012, Belorussian journalist and oral historian Svetlana Alexievich travelled the countries that constituted the former USSR conducting interviews with the “the little great people” who had lived under Soviet communism and witnessed...

Read more...

Book extract: Second-Hand Time by Svetlana Alexievich

Between 1991 to 2012, Belorussian journalist and oral historian Svetlana Alexievich travelled the countries that constituted the former USSR conducting interviews with the “the little great people” who had lived under Soviet communism and witnessed...

Read more...

Meeting Gorbachev review - Werner Herzog offers a swansong tribute

You react differently to Meeting Gorbachev knowing that the film’s subject was on occasions brought to its interviews from hospital by ambulance; his interlocutor, Werner Herzog, doesn’t mention that fact, of course, anywhere in the three encounters...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Stewart Goodyear, Nielsen, Weinberg

 Stewart Goodyear: Callaloo, Piano Sonata; Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue Stewart Goodyear (piano), Chineke! Orchestra/Wayne Marshall (Orchid Classics)Callaloo is Stewart Goodyear’s indecently entertaining suite for piano and orchestra, the title...

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Svetlana Alexievich: Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories review - anything but childish

Svetlana Alexievich’s Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories is a collection of oral testimonies conducted between 1978-2004 with Soviet and post-Soviet citizens who were children during the second world war. They recount strange and terrible...

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Vasily Grossman: Stalingrad review - a Soviet national epic

Stalingrad is the companion piece to Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, which on its (re)publication in English a decade ago was acclaimed as one of the greatest Russian (and not only Russian) novels of the 20th century. For its sense of the sheer...

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Blu-ray: Khrustalyov, My Car!

The title of Khrustalyov, My Car! comes, infamously, from the words uttered by NKVD chief Lavrenty Beria as he departed the scene of Stalin’s death in March 1953, and Alexei German’s film comes as close as cinema can to dissecting the surreal terror...

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The Bay at Nice, Menier Chocolate Factory review - David Hare talkfest takes intermittent wing

David Hare knows a thing or two about sustaining an onstage face-off. Skylight and The Breath of Life consist tantalisingly of little else and so, for the most part, does his 1986 curiosity The Bay at Nice, which I caught back in the day during a...

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Best of 2018: Classical CDs

Record shops may be thin on the ground, but CDs are still very much with us. No sensible soul would ever rate listening to a recording over experiencing music live. But if, like me, time, money and geography limit one’s opportunities to nip out to...

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Blu-ray: A Gentle Creature

“To our enormous suffering!” There are many macabre vodka toasts, accompanied by some appropriately gruelling visuals, in A Gentle Creature, but that one surely best captures the beyond-nihilist mood of Sergei Loznitsa’s 2017 Cannes competition...

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