The Story of Russia

by Orlando Figes





Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Published September 2022

Books > History

From the great storyteller of Russia, a spellbinding account of the myths and ideologies that have shaped the country’s past – and how they can inform its present.

No other country has reimagined its own past so frequently, or endured such vast differences in ruling ideologies, as Russia. This story begins in the first millennium, when the Viking-Slavic state of Kievan Rus was formed, and ends with Putin’s war against Ukraine. Spanning the medieval myths of Russia’s holy mission, the popular belief in a paternal tsar and the notion of the ‘Russian soul’, Orlando Figes explores the ideas that have guided the country’s actions throughout its long and troubled history.

The Story of Russia is about the stories the Russians have told of their past, and the ideas that have shaped those stories, as much as it is about the events and institutions, social groups and leaders that make up that history. Here, Figes brings into sharp relief the recurrent themes that remain so important in understanding the country today through the vibrant characters of its rich history: from Boris and Gleb, the first saints of the Russian Church, to the crowning of sixteen-year-old Ivan the Terrible in a candlelit cathedral; and from Catherine the Great, riding out in a green uniform to arrest her husband at his palace, to the bitter last days of the Romanovs.

Beautifully written and based on a lifetime of scholarship, The Story of Russia is quintessential Figes: sweeping, suspenseful, masterful.

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