Soviet Union

Stalin refrigerator magnets for sale outside the Stalin Museum in Gori, Georgia

As Putin’s war in Ukraine continues, historians say it’s crucial to reflect on Stalin’s reign in the Soviet era


For some Georgians, Stalin represents a rags-to-riches tale — they see him as the country’s most-famous native son who put Georgia on the map. Others are pushing for a more comprehensive view of the man responsible for millions of deaths.

A large group of people surround former President Barack Obama

Identicide: How demographic shifts can rip a country apart

Conflict & Justice
Marco Werman walks across Red Square in Moscow. Behind him is the iconic St. Basil's Cathedral.

Marco Werman: A Cold War baby visits Putin’s Russia

Generation Putin
An exhibition of Soviet ornaments and toys at the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts

Cosmonauts and corncobs: A peek at some Soviet-era holiday ornaments


Arts, Culture & Media


Arts, Culture & Media

Twenty years ago in Leningrad, the Soviets developed the Lomo camera as a way to provide Western-style consumer electronics to comrades throughout the Eastern bloc. The Lomo became the standard issue snapshot camera for a generation. A couple of decades later, Western photographers have discovered the versatility of the humble Lomo. Produced by John Stanik.

Cultural Exchange

Arts, Culture & Media

For a moment during the Cold War — in the decade between Josef Stalin’s death until the Cuban Missile Crisis — something called “Cultural Exchange” formed a warm glow in US-Soviet relations. It started with one pianist in 1955, named Emil Gilels, and led to a sudden mutual discovery of two nations’ best music and […]

Painting in Pre-Glasnost Russia

Arts, Culture & Media

When we think of Soviet Art, we think of the propaganda posters and the figurative heroic paintings and sculpture that glorified the Soviet leaders. That kind of Social Realism dominated official art in Russia, starting in the 1930’s. But artists found ways to pursue their own styles in secret. They organized private, apartment viewings of […]

Special Guest: Svetlana Boym

Arts, Culture & Media

Kurt Andersen and the writer Svetlana Boym explore how artists worked in the Soviet Union and what it means to them and to us today. Svetlana Boym is a Harvard professor of Slavic and Contemporary Literature, and the author of The Future of Nostalgia. The book traces nostalgia from its medical diagnosis in 17th-century Switzerland […]

Rescuing Cold War History Before It Disappears

Arts, Culture & Media

Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a new museum dedicated to preserving everyday artifacts of the Eastern Bloc is opening in Los Angeles.