The Shortest History of the Soviet Union

Sheila Fitzpatrick

06 February 2023
280 pages


"Close to a miracle ... an immensely readable overview ... full of anecdotes and lively detail, but also meeting the highest academic standards’ SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK

The Soviet Union arrived in the world accidentally and departed unexpectedly.

Over a century after the Russian Revolution, the tumultuous history of the Soviet Union continues to fascinate us and influence global politics. From revolution and Lenin to Stalin’s Terror, from World War II to Gorbachev's glasnost, this is an authoritative distillation of 75 years of communist rule, and the disintegration of an empire. Fitzpatrick charts the fate of countries often left out of Soviet histories, gives vivid portraits of key figures, and traces the aftermath of the regime’s sudden collapse. She explores the rise of the oligarchs, the rebirth of the Church and the enigmatic figure of Vladimir Putin: a Soviet creation but no Soviet nostalgic. Lastly, she considers the future of Communism. Who still worships Marx and Lenin? What lessons has today’s superpower, China, learned from yesterday’s Soviet failure? What could be the future of Putin’s expansionism?"