Anne Applebaum rss


How Vladimir Putin is waging war on the West – and winning

21 February 2015

Last month, the speaker of the Russian parliament solemnly instructed his foreign affairs committee to launch a historical investigation: was West Germany’s ‘annexation’ of East Germany really legal? Should it… Read more

Credit: Fast FT

Putin's great gamble is about to backfire

6 December 2014

Since the Russian invasion of Crimea last February, many different phrases have been used to describe the tactics of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. Some have spoken of a ‘new… Read more

John Borrell (Photo: Peter Jordan//Time Life Pictures/Getty)

An escape to the country that became a struggle for Poland's soul

12 April 2014
The White Lake John Borrell

Charles Glass Books, pp.248, £15, ISBN: 9780704373327

In 1993, John Borrell, a longtime foreign correspondent with no permanent home, decided to abandon journalism. Tired of writing about wars and violence — he had been in Beirut, Rwanda… Read more

The real life of the Kremlin will always remain off-limits to ordinary Russians

Secrets of the Kremlin

14 December 2013
Red Fortress Catherine Merridale

Allen Lane, pp.505, £30, ISBN: 9781846140372

A building bearing testimony to the power of eternal Russia; a timeless symbol of the Russian state; a monument to Russian sovereignty. To the modern eye, the Kremlin fortress seems… Read more


Time for our leaders to stop talking about 'justice' in Syria if we can't or won't enforce it

14 September 2013

‘It’s about chemical weapons. Their use is wrong and the world shouldn’t stand idly by.’ — David Cameron, 27 August ‘The chemical massacre in Damascus cannot and must not go unpunished.’… Read more

US President Barack Obama looks at a per

Anne Applebaum

15 June 2013

I am trying very hard to understand why everyone is shocked — shocked! — by news that the US government helps itself to the massive data flows generated by Google,… Read more

Love conquers all

2 June 2012
Just Send Me Word Orlando Figes

Allen Lane, pp.333, £20

Anyone who has ever written a history book will feel a twinge of envy on reading the preface to Just Send Me Word: We opened up the largest of the… Read more


Russia’s new dissidents

31 December 2011

Alexei Navalny, the de facto leader of the demonstrators who thronged freezing Moscow on Christmas Eve, minces no words. On ­, a website he founded that is dedicated to the… Read more

Thus do empires end

3 September 2011
Moscow: 25 December 1991 Conor O'Clery

Transworld, pp.423, 25

‘This book is a chronicle of one day in the history of one city.’ As first sentences go, that one is hard to beat — particularly given that the ‘one… Read more

Is Nato finished?

3 September 2011

After Muammar Gaddafi and his ghastly children fled Tripoli, Libyans desecrated his statues and stamped on his posters. As it turned out, the Libyans really did hate Gaddafi enough to… Read more

High noon

23 July 2011

The American left is revelling in Rupert Murdoch’s British troubles – and it’s America that has the power to really hurt him Washington DC Let’s start, first, with the bare… Read more


The new alliance

26 March 2011

‘Freedom fries,’ served instead of French fries back in 2003, are no longer on the menu in Washington DC. French wine, out of fashion after Jacques Chirac refused to join… Read more


The sensational truth

11 December 2010

For a man who earns his living by publishing other people’s email, Julian Assange has a high opinion of himself. You can hear that in his rhetoric, which combines the… Read more


A far-fetched war

30 October 2010
Crimea: The Last Crusade Orlando Figes

Allen Lane, pp.575, 30

First, a disclaimer: this review will not touch upon some recent, odd behaviour of this book’s author, Orlando Figes, because I can’t see that it’s relevant. First, a disclaimer: this… Read more


Proscribed reading

17 July 2010
Politics and the Novel During the Cold War David Caute

Transaction, pp.403, 42.50

In 1948, Poland’s new communist government was badly in need of legitimacy and desperate for international recognition. So they did what any self-respecting left-wing government would do, back in those… Read more


Paranoia and empty promises

12 May 2010
The Betrayal Helen Dunmore

Fig Tree, pp.330, 18.99

It has taken more than half a century, but at last the Anglophone world has woken up to the fact that 20th-century communist history makes a superb backdrop for fiction.… Read more


Ghosts from the Soviet past

21 April 2010
Molotov’s Magic Lantern: A Journey in Russian History Rachel Polonsky

Faber, pp.416, 20

Above all, it is the inhuman scale of things which impresses the visitor to Moscow: the vastness of Red Square, the width of the uncrossable streets, the implacability of the… Read more

A flicker of light in a dark Russian forest

14 April 2010

Anne Applebaum says the catastrophic plane crash near Smolensk, which killed so many of Poland’s leading figures, may hasten a rapprochement between Warsaw and Moscow The President, the First Lady,… Read more

Skeletons in the cupboard

4 November 2009
The Eitingons Mary-Kay Wilmers

Faber, pp.476, 20

Freudian analysis, Soviet communism and the garment industry: what do all of these things have in common? If your answer has something to do with central and east European Jews… Read more

Success at last

27 May 2009
Poland: A History Adam Zamoyski

HarperPress, pp.426, 14.99

A couple of years ago, Adam Zamoyski — who is, yes, a friend — told me that he was revising The Polish Way, a history of Poland he had published… Read more

Arthur at Camelot

14 January 2009
Journals: 1952-2000 Arthur Schlesinger, Jr, edited by Andrew Schlesinger and Stephen Schlesinger

Atlantic Books, pp.912, 30

Journals: 1952-2000, by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr, edited by Andrew Schlesinger and Stephen Schlesinger Before sitting down with this hefty doorstopper of a diary, first ask yourself whether you agree —… Read more

The spectre of Spielberg

15 October 2008
Searching for Schindler Thomas Keneally

Sceptre, pp.312, 20

Searching for Schindler, by Thomas Keneally Which would you rather read, The Great Gatsby or F. Scott Fitzgerald’s day-by-day account of the whisky he drank and the cigarettes he smoked… Read more

Deluded and abandoned

23 July 2008
The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin’s Russia Tim Tzouliadis

Little, Brown, pp.472, 25

Once, while travelling in an odd part of Siberia, I was told of a place called ‘the English colony’. A remote spot — it was said to be several hours… Read more


In Poland you can’t get hold of a Polish plumber

12 December 2007

Warsaw ‘Hmm, let me see,’ said Tomasz the painter, rubbing his temples. He was trying to think of a plumber who could install a new bathroom shower. ‘Well, there’s Jacek… Read more


Memory speaks volumes

3 October 2007
The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia Orlando Figes

Allen Lane, pp.784, 25

It’s a dangerous business, oral history, at least when you try it in Russia. Without oral history a complete history of the Soviet Union is almost impossible to write. Archival… Read more