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…

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

Dau is not so much a film as a document of a mass human experiment. The result is dark, brilliant…

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

The art of persuasion

28 October 2017 9:00 am

It’s hard to admire communist art with an entirely clear conscience. The centenary of the October revolution, which falls this…

High life

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…

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

With its loud guitar riffs and even louder fashion, heavy metal has always been ripe for ridicule. In its mid-1980s…

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

I went to Budapest last year and did the usual touristy things. I climbed up the hill to the fantasy…

Map of the Island of Utopia, book frontispiece, 1563

Even Corbyn would find Thomas More’s Utopia too leftwing

2 January 2016 9:00 am

As anniversaries go, the timing could hardly be more apt. As Europe braces itself for the next Islamist attack, the…

Why did a Russian ballet dancer throw acid in his boss’s face?

12 December 2015 9:00 am

The 16th June 1961 and 17th January 2013 are two indelible dates in the annals of Russian ballet. Two events…

Yuri Gagarin in the cabin of Vostok, the spacecraft in which he made the first human journey to outer space on 12 April, 1961

When technology was art: Cosmonauts at the Science Museum reviewed

26 September 2015 8:00 am

‘The dominant narrative of space,’ I was told, in that strange language curators employ, ‘is America.’ Quite so. Kennedy stared…

The surreal beauty of Soviet bus stops

12 September 2015 9:00 am

The Soviet Union was a nation of bus stops. Cars were hard to come by, so a vast public transport…

Scapegoat for all of urban life’s ills: Le Corbusier, c.1950

How dedicated a fascist was Le Corbusier?

23 May 2015 9:00 am

The ‘revelations’, 50 years after he drowned, that Le Corbusier was a ‘fascist’ and an anti-Semite are neither fresh nor…

Why Putin is even less of a human than Stalin was

21 February 2015 9:00 am

LBC likes to tell us it’s ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’, though in the case of weekday pre-lunch presenter James O’Brien you’ll…

Classical music's greatest political butt-kissers: Dudamel, Gergiev and Rattle

14 February 2015 9:00 am

On 8 March 2013, Gustavo Dudamel stood by the coffin of the Marxist autocrat Hugo Chavez and conducted the Simon…

Russians made the theatre space the most liberating imaginative device ever invented

1 November 2014 9:00 am

You have to hand it to the Russians. They beat us into space, beat us to sexual equality, and a…

Plisetskaya in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, 1964. She was one of the supreme trophies in the Soviet display case, the most garlanded, the most suspected

Maya Plisetskaya and Rodion Shchedrin: ‘The KGB put a microphone in our marriage bed'

25 October 2014 9:00 am

‘People in the West don’t understand nothing. Even the new Russian generation don’t understand anything at all. You don’t know,…

Ambridge recovers its sense of humour — finally

23 August 2014 9:00 am

‘Isn’t that charming!’ Carol declares at the height of the great Home Farm cocktail party, after being subjected to Jennifer’s…

Vladimir Putin knows what he stands for. Do we?

19 April 2014 9:00 am

Possibly because his oratory is no match for his much-displayed pectoral muscles, the speeches of Vladimir Putin are seldom reported…

I was Ralph Miliband's research assistant, and this is what he was like

19 October 2013 9:00 am

‘You can work as research assistant to Ralph Miliband.’ Thus my tutor at the London School of Economics gave me…