Soviet Union

Dark masterpiece: ‘Two Figures’, 1953, by Francis Bacon

There is a jewel of a painting at Gagosian's Francis Bacon show

15 June 2019 9:00 am

‘It is no easier to make a good painting,’ wrote Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, than it is…

Accidental hero: one of the Chernobyl liquidators

Powerful and brilliant – though not entirely true: Chernobyl reviewed

8 June 2019 9:00 am

How many people do you think died at Chernobyl? 10,000? 50,000? 300,000? The correct answer, according to the never knowingly…

The thrilling first part of Dmitri Tcherniakov's new production of Berlioz's Les Troyens for Opéra Bastille. Photo: Vincent Pontet / Opéra National de Paris

Dau is not just a pretentious fraud – it's rather disgusting

16 February 2019 9:00 am

The best booers, in my experience, are the Germans. There’s real purpose and thickness to their vocals. Italians hiss. The…

A document of a mass human experiment that is moving, revolting, violent and extraordinarily pornographic

Dau is the strangest and most unsettling piece of art to come out of Russia in years

2 February 2019 9:00 am

Owen Matthews on the strangest, most unsettling piece of art to come out of Russia in years

Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica performing performing Mieczyslaw Weinberg's Concertino for Violin and Strings in 2014. Photo: Hiroyuki Ito/ Getty Images

As a symphonist, Mieczyslaw Weinberg was a master: Weinberg Weekend reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

It’s a strange compliment to pay a composer — that the most profound impression their music makes is of an…

Oleg Gordievsky, the ultimate spy story — and Ben Macintyre, the best writer to tell it

6 October 2018 9:00 am

Spy stories, whether the stuff of fictional thrillers or, as in the case of Sergei Skripal, the real deal —…

Watch out comrade: big business is turning communist

1 September 2018 9:00 am

Is it me, or is business becoming a teeny-weeny bit Stalinist? Common features include 1) Paranoia about political ideology; 2)…

‘Soviet Union Art Exhibition’, Zurich 1931, by Valentina Kulagina

How I fell under the spell of Soviet propaganda posters

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Fraser Nelson on how he – and so many others – fell under the spell of Soviet propaganda posters

Steve Buscemi (Khrushchev), Michael Palin (Molotov) and Paul Whitehouse (Mikoyan) in The Death of Stalin

Not quite as funny as I’d hoped: Death of Stalin reviewed

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin is nearly two hours of men in bad suits bickering, but if you have…

Lenin’s New Man has killed free speech

26 August 2017 9:00 am

When the Germans smuggled arguably the world’s most evil man into Russia 100 years ago, they did not imagine the…

Evgeny Kissin in 1993

‘The Western establishment is betraying its values’: Evgeny Kissin interview

17 June 2017 9:00 am

The great, enigmatic pianist has always divided critics. He talks to Damian Thompson about his heretical opinions on Horowitz, Israel and Brexit

How the KGB infiltrated classical music

13 May 2017 9:00 am

Spare a thought for Emil Gilels, still revered today by Russians as the foremost pianist of the Soviet era. The…

‘Peasants’, c.1930, by Kazimir Malevich

The true harshness of Soviet life rarely comes through: RA’s Revolution reviewed

18 February 2017 9:00 am

Vladimir Putin notoriously declared the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 to be one of the greatest disasters of…

The greatest laurels belong to the kids in ‘School of Rock’

I'm not sure I've seen a more powerful finale: School of Rock reviewed

26 November 2016 9:00 am

Who could resist School of Rock? For me it was a chance to see a heavy-metal musical written by the…

We need another Eisenhower to bring an end to the madness in the Middle East

5 November 2016 9:00 am

Sixty years ago this week all hell broke loose: Soviet tanks rumbled into Budapest and put down a nationalist uprising…

Putin's dangerous games in the Baltic

22 October 2016 9:00 am

Is he mad enough to invade the Baltic states, or is it all a clever bluff?

Stop this stupid sabre-rattling against Russia

22 October 2016 9:00 am

It’s our side that worries me, not the Russians

On tap: Kenneth Branagh as Archie Rice in ‘The Entertainer’

John Osborne’s The Entertainer is a big, fat, boring slice of prime-time chitchat

10 September 2016 9:00 am

Kenneth Branagh’s obsession with Larry Olivier’s career is becoming such a bizarre act of theatrical necromancy that it deserves to…

Maria Alexandrova as Kitri in ‘Don Quixote’

Stylistic conformism worse than it was under the Soviets: Bolshoi’s Don Quixote reviewed

6 August 2016 9:00 am

For almost 60 years, whatever the political weather, Russia and Britain have maintained mutually assured respect as far as ballet…

The left's history of foolishness

30 July 2016 9:00 am

The left will always tear itself apart rather than face its true foes

The perfect radio antidote to the gathering storm

2 July 2016 9:00 am

A brief encounter with Radio 4’s Any Questions to gauge the measure of opinion in the shires after the referendum…

I was in a room full of people who thought the USSR was a force for good in the world

11 June 2016 9:00 am

John McTernan patiently defends Israel and nukes to Tottenham Labour party

King of heavy metal Bruce Dickinson at Madison Square Gardens in 1983

Meet the fans who risk death for heavy metal

14 May 2016 9:00 am

We in the West may snigger at heavy metal, but in some parts of the world its practitioners face the death penalty. Karen Yossman reports

The greatest British opera after Dido and Grimes? Vaughan Williams’s Riders to the Sea

2 April 2016 9:00 am

In a remote fishing village a lone figure confronts an unexplained death, standing tormented but unbroken against fate, the community…

Britain needs a museum of communist terror

5 March 2016 9:00 am

We need a museum to help us remember that