I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Judith Devlin

In the Dialectical Fairyland

Denis Healey once quipped of Shirley Williams that she needn’t think herself an intellectual just because she had a bad hairdo: Zhemchuzhina would have agreed. Unlike the dishevelled and independent-minded feminists of the Old Bolshevik milieu, by the mid-1930s women in the upper echelons of Stalinist society subscribed to the quasi-bourgeois style that became de rigueur: servants, nail varnish, lipstick and good works patronising factory workers, teaching them good manners and instilling, inter alia, a love of art and of the leader.

Saving the Past

More recently, pundits close to the Kremlin have intoned about “memory wars”, mainly in reaction to the critical views of Stalinist history advanced by Ukraine and the Baltic states in what is seen in Moscow as an attempt to denigrate not only Stalin but also the Russian state, and to move away from the Russian sphere of influence. Implicitly, the attacks on Stalin’s record are resisted as an attack on the power and prestige of Russia.

Cold Warrior

Stalin’s Wars: from World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, Yale University Press, 496 pp, £25, ISBN: 978-0300112041 With Stalin’s Wars, Geoffrey Roberts offers the reader a classic...