Underneath the sweeping history of the Russian Revolution is another story, one told through the lesser-known people, moments and objects of a world in transformation.


The 'healer' and friend to Tsar Nicholas II was killed on 17 December 1916.

Unexpected, Ilya Repin’s depiction of an exile’s unannounced return to his home in Moscow, 1884-88.

For the tsarist regime, Siberia was a ‘vast prison without a roof’, where thousands of revolutionaries and political opponents were exiled. It became, as Daniel Beer explains, a laboratory of the Russian Revolution.

Peter the Great: portrait by Ivan Niktin, c.1720s.

The reforming Tsar sought to westernise his empire, yet in 1723 he published an uncompromising reassertion of his absolutist doctrine, which has traditionally marked Russia’s national consciousness.

Russian rivals: Sergei Kirov (centre), flanked by Anastas Mikoyan and Joseph Stalin, October 11th, 1932.

What does Russia’s history of political assassination reveal about its rulers?

Daniel Beer reassesses W. Bruce Lincoln’s 1976 study of Tsar Alexander III’s brief reign, which combined reaction with rapid industrialisation and left a troubling legacy for his successors.

Ivan IV, 'the Terrible', early 18th century. AKG Images

Westerners often consider Russia through the prism of the Soviet Union and the Second World War. But we must look further back if we wish to understand the modern nation’s fears, aims and motivations.

Roger Hudson details the political and social events that provided Tsar Nicholas II’s prewar visit to Kiev with a tense background. 

After many negotiations and much pressure, the Russians acquired from China the Amur Provinces of Eastern Siberia.

Robin Bruce Lockhart traces the development of Russia's fleets, from the Napoleonic era to the Soviet period.