Charlotte Hobson

‘We will achieve abundance’ promises a propaganda poster of 1949. But by 1952 most free Soviet citizens shared the same diet as the inhabitants of the Gulag

Stalin understood the power of terror so well because he constantly feared for his own life

23 May 2015 9:00 am

‘Lately, the paradoxical turns of recent Russian history… have given my research more than scholarly relevance,’ remarks Oleg Khlevniuk in…

Captain Polina Osipenko (co-pilot and commander of the plane), deputy to the supreme soviet of the USSR Valentina Grizodubova (navigator), and senior lieutenant Marina Raskova Photo: Getty

As deadly as the male: female Russian pilots of the second world war were femmes fatales in every sense

11 April 2015 9:00 am

The name Lyuba Vinogradova may not ring any bells, but her ferrety eye for spotting a telling detail may already…

Patrick Gale Photo: Ulf Andersen/Getty

Coming in out of the cold: Patrick Gale’s hero sees stars in the Canadian prairies

21 March 2015 9:00 am

Patrick Gale’s first historical novel is inspired by a non-story, a gap in his own family record. His great-grandfather Harry…

A live broadcast of Russian President Vladimir Putin shown in a restaurant in Moscow Photo: Getty

Sugar-daddy, gangster and Tsar: Vladimir Putin is all things to all men

14 February 2015 9:00 am

‘We all know there will be no real politics.’ A prominent Russian TV presenter is speaking off the record at…

Mayonnaise: a key component of Soviet cooking

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, by Anya von Bremzen - review

12 October 2013 9:00 am

The early 1990s in Russia were hungry years. At the time, I was a student, too idle to barter and…

Joy to the world

17 March 2012 10:00 am

Patrick Gale’s new novel could be read as a companion work to his hugely successful Notes from an Exhibition, and…


The Russian connection

7 May 2011 12:00 am

It’s impossible not to warm to the author of this book, a perky Turkish-American woman with a fascination with Russian literature and an irresistible comic touch.

The sweet smell of danger

22 January 2011 12:00 am

If this novel is ever published with a scratch-and-sniff cover — which incidentally, I think it might be successful enough to warrant — this is what it would smell of: cheap petrol, lust, the ripe, acidic scent of decaying corpse, cat litter, $2,000 suits, Cristal champagne, decaying encyclopaedia, corruption, fumes from the power plant, betrayal, sausage.

Out of time and place

23 October 2010 12:00 am

The misleadingly titled Life of an Unknown Man is in fact the story of two men, and the dualities that their characters embody — fame and anonymity, unhappiness and happiness, West and East.


The motherland’s tight embrace

4 September 2010 12:00 am

At nursery school, along with her warm milk, little Lena Gorokhova imbibed the essence of survival in the post-war Soviet Union.

Variations on an enigma

25 June 2008 12:00 am

Charlotte Hobson on Jonathan Dimbleby's account of Russia

A genius for living

15 February 2007 9:26 am

Perhaps the only drawback to this highly enjoyable biography is the shadow of utter banality that it throws over one’s…

The heart and stomach of a king

15 April 2006 12:00 am

When Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst arrived at the Russian court in 1744, one of the many daughters of minor German…

A cross-cultural crisis

24 September 2005 12:00 am

If you were a Martian, whiling away the time on an intergalactic beach holiday by reading an account of the…

A tale of January and May

5 March 2005 12:00 am

So you’d like your child to be a successful writer (as the classified ads might say)? Well, the least you…