Russia is dying out

“One hundred and forty-six million [people] for such a vast territory is insufficient,” said Vladimir Putin at the end of last year. Russians haven’t been having enough children to replace themselves since the early Sixties. Birth rates are also stagnant …

The empathy of Joseph Stalin

Once a book-hoarder, always one. In 1899, a promising young poet and would-be revolutionary dropped out of the theological seminary in Tbilisi, Georgia. He took with him 18 library books, for which the monks demanded payment of 18 roubles and …

Putin’s next move

A couple of weeks ago, in a biting sleet wind, I visited the graveyard of the tiny village of Bohoniki in Poland’s far north east, home to Poland’s minuscule Tatar Muslim minority, descendents of the Mongol Golden Horde. On the …