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Vital, Living History,
This review is from: Russia: The Wild East 'The Rise and Fall of the Soviets' (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The second part of this history of Russia covers the period from October 1917 until the present day and can be listened to as complete in itself or in conjunction with with the first set of cds which cover the period up to 1917. When I first started listening I was rather sceptical that such a rich, complex period of Russian history spanning nearly a hundred years could be effectively told in 25 fourteen minute instalments. How wrong I was! From beginning to end this is a totally compelling experience both informative and at times genuinely exciting listening such as in Sixsmith's accounts of the Russian Civil War, the seige of Moscow in 1941 right up to the 1991 coup which tried to remove Gorbachev. Sixsmith is a really authoratitive guide versed in Russian language and culture and his presentation is characterised by clarity and conviction. The unifying theme of the series is the notion that democracy has never implanted itself in the Russian consciousness and that autocracy in one form or another has always re-established itself despite being challenged on numerous occasions. Hence Peter the Great, Nicholas II, Lenin and Putin are different faces of this predelection for strong, unaccountable leadership. Sixsmith blends his commentary with speeches, interviews and music which enriches the programmes and the episodes are cleverly constructed to follow on seamlessly from each other. My only criticism is that the period 1964-1984 is given little attention and this slightly upsets the balance of the series. However, this is a minor point: Russian history is fascinating and an awareness of it is vital to an understanding of the modern day Russia. Don't be put off by the length or price of this set-it is well worth the time and money expended. Strongly recommended to all.