In seven years, Lenin changed the course of history

The upheavals convulsing the Russian empire in 1917, Victor Sebestyen argues convincingly, were the seminal happenings of the past century. From them directly stemmed the second world war, the Cold War, the collapse of European imperialism and the dangerous world we inhabit today. There are many weighty modern accounts of these epochal events by historians such as Richard Pipes, Robert Service and Orlando Figes, and it is these that Sebestyen chiefly relies on in this brisk, well-informed and chilling account. He makes no pretence of original research. How did Trotsky’s childlike vision become a nightmare system, dependent on evil, oppression and violence?  ‘The Russian Revolution’ is something of a misnomer

The art and science of Fabergé

After all the magnificent presents she’d received from his workshop, Queen Alexandra was eager to meet the most famous jeweller in Russia. ‘If Mr Fabergé ever comes to London,’ she said to Henry Bainbridge, a manager of the design house, ‘you must bring him to see me.’ Peter Carl Fabergé paid a rare visit to the capital to inspect his new shop — the only one located outside the Russian empire — at 48 Dover Street in 1908. ‘The Queen wants to see me! What for?’ he asked an exasperated Bainbridge. ‘Well, you know what an admirer she is of all your things.’ Insisting that she would not wish to