How have Britain and Russia dealt with loss of empire and what impact has it had on their self-understanding and politics?
Britain and Russia have often been extremely suspicious of each other’s intentions, yet they share some fundamental things in common, beyond an unhealthy preoccupation with secret agents. Some claim that after 60 years Britain has still not adjusted to the post imperial era, and that this is reflected in Brexit - with its inability to accept that Ireland is a separate country, not to mention calls for an ‘Anglosphere’ or Empire 2.0 as an alternative to EU membership. The Russian loss of empire was a much more sudden affair in the early 1990s as 13 states became independent and Russia emerged from the polyglot Soviet carapace. Some claim that Russia is suffering from phantom limb syndrome, with President Putin pillaging the imperial past to create a new Russian identity, which does not mask the failure of his regime to diversify and modernise the Russian economy. The lecture will show how the imperial theme can be used to illumine trends in both societies.
Michael Burleigh (@BurlM11) is the first Engelsberg Chair for 2019/20 at LSE IDEAS.
Michael is a historian who focuses primarily on Nazi Germany. He is the author of The Third Reich: a new history, which won the 2001 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. His most recent book is The Best of Times, the Worst of Times. He has also won a British Film Institute Award for Archival Achievement and a New York Film and Television Festival Award Bronze Medal.
Michael Cox is Director of LSE IDEAS and Emeritus Professor of International Relations at LSE.
LSE IDEAS (@lseideas) is LSE's foreign policy think tank. We connect academic knowledge of diplomacy and strategy with the people who use it.
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A podcast of this event is available to download from Engerland! Rossiya! Hyphenated-phantom-limb Nations on the Edges of Europe.
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