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Anne Applebaum

“This is a top appointment, not only is Anne Applebaum the first woman ever to hold this prestigious position, she is also the first Chair to have a real interest and expertise in Central Europe.”
IDEAS Director Michael Cox

Anne Applebaum was Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs for 2012-13. An experienced journalist and award winning author, in her year at IDEAS she explored issues around historical memory of communism in Russia and Soviet-occupied countries. 

This included a lecture on her work on the Gulag, analysing the ideological content of ‘Putinism’ and arguing that after the label ‘Eastern Europe’ is no longer relevant to the diverse politics of formerly Soviet-occupied countries. 


True Believers: Collaboration and Opposition under Totalitarian Regimes

The horrifying genius of Soviet communism, imposed by force on Soviet-occupied Europe, was the system’s ability to get the silent majority in so many countries to play along without much protest. 

Anne Applebaum explains how carefully targeted violence, propaganda and the state’s monopoly on economic and civic institutions persuaded populations to ‘go along’, illustrated with individual stories.

Twitter: #LSEApplebaum / Read Summary / Watch  / Listen: 

The Gulag: What We Know Now and Why it Matters

Since the archives of the Gulag system became available to researchers in the 1990s, historians’ previously sketchy understanding of the Soviet concentration camp system has come more sharply into focus. 

We now understand far better what the Gulag was, how it evolved, what purposes it served, how many people lived and died within it. Anne Applebaum asks what we really remember of the camp system and why it’s not an issue for debate in modern Russia. 

Twitter: #LSEgulag  / Read Summary / Watch / Listen: 

Putinism - The Ideology

Anne Applebaum argues that Vladimir Putin cannot be dismissed as a thuggish or thoughtless authoritarian leader. 

She explains the sophisticated institutional and ideological underpinnings of ‘Putinism’ as an ideology including foreign policy, history, and education.

Twitter: #LSEPutinism / Read Summary / Watch / Strategic Update / Listen: 

Does Eastern Europe Still Exist?

During the Cold War, the nations of the region we called 'Eastern Europe' were closely linked. Since 1989 they have made different choices and taken different paths.

Anne Applebaum argues that the label ‘Eastern Europe’ is no longer relevant to a diverse region that can offer crucial lessons in transition to the rest of the world. 

Read Summary / Watch / Read Chapter in The Crisis of EU Enlargement / Listen: 

Strategic Update: Putinism - The Ideology


In her Strategic Update, Anne Applebaum expands on the aims and goals of Putinism, and how its power is exerted in a country where authority is still vested in personalities, not in institutions. Read the Strategic Update now. 

The Crisis of EU Enlargement

Anne Applebaum contributed a chapter on Does Eastern Europe Still Exist? to the IDEAS Special Report The Crisis of EU Enlargement.


Anne Applebaum taught a seminar titled The History of the Soviet Union and the
Post-Soviet Transition. 

Other Events 

Whilst Philippe Roman Chair Anne Applebaum also took part in the America and the World After the Election debate, reacting to the re-election of President Barack Obama that month, with Craig Calhoun, Michael Cox and Gideon Rachman. Listen:

Black Earth: the Holocaust as History and Warning

In 2015, Anne Applebaum chaired this lecture by fellow Philippe Roman Chair Timothy Snyder, where they discussed the role that the destruction of states played in the Holocaust and how their study of Easter European history shaped their reactions to the 2014 crisis in Ukraine. 

Twitter / Listen:

COR_7872About Anne Applebaum

Anne Applebaum is a columnist for the Washington Post and Slate and Director of the Transitions Forum at the Legatum Institute

Her book Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956, published in 2012, describes the imposition of Soviet totalitarianism in Central Europe after the Second World War. It won the Cundill Prize for Historical Literature, the Duke of Westminster Medal, and an Arthur Ross Silver Medal from the Council on Foreign Relations. Her previous book, Gulag: A History, was published in 2003 and won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction in 2004.

Formerly a member of the Washington Post editorial board, she has also worked as the Foreign and Deputy Editor of the Spectator magazine, as the Political Editor of the Evening Standard, and as a columnist at several newspapers, including the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs. From 1988-1991 she covered the collapse of communism as the Warsaw correspondent of the Economist magazine.

Find out more on Anne Applebaum's website.

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