How does the Russian public view the invasion of Ukraine?

‘It’s too soon,’ said an anti-war Russian friend about the crop of books which have been emerging since late last year on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Perhaps he is right. Yet, mindful of Lenin’s maxim that ‘there are weeks when decades happen’, many may feel the period since February last year to have been one of the longest of their lives. Amid the fog of war – an endless news cycle in which events pile up, too enigmatic or episodic for the big picture to emerge – one is grateful to any writer who sets out to give the wider narrative. ‘To look at Russia now, as someone who loves

Why did Hitler’s imperial dreams take Stalin by surprise?

The most extraordinary thing, still, about Operation Barbarossa is the complete surprise the Wehrmacht achieved. In the early hours of 22 June 1941 the largest invasion force in history, ultimately some three million men, struck at the Soviet Union on a front of nearly 2,000 miles. When Stalin was woken with the news, he wouldn’t believe it. It couldn’t be Hitler’s doing, he insisted; surely just sabre-rattling by Wehrmacht generals? Hours passed before he would accept his calamitous misjudgments and issue a general order to fight back by every means. Hitler’s strategic challenge in the late 1930s had been essentially the same as the Kaiser’s in 1914: how to make