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Angus Roxburgh’s hands-on experience of Russia is unrivalled among Western experts. For more than 45 years, from the darkest days of communism and the Cold War right up to the present day, he has experienced Russian life – and high Kremlin politics – close up. He is now known as one of Britain’s foremost Russia experts, drawing on his extensive personal experience to illuminate the current political scene.
Having taught himself Russian at school in Scotland in the early 1970s, Roxburgh lived in Brezhnev’s Soviet Union, working as a translator for two years, immersed in the Soviet way of life. He experienced the earth-shaking transformations of Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika at close quarters, as the Moscow correspondent of the Sunday Times and the Economist. In the 1990s, he was the BBC’s Moscow correspondent, covering the exhilaration and chaos of Boris Yeltsin’s reforms, and the bloody war in Chechnya. After a stint as the BBC’s Europe Correspondent, Roxburgh worked for three years from 2006 as a media consultant to President Putin’s press secretary, gaining first-hand insight into contemporary Kremlin politics.
Angus Roxburgh is the author of four books about the Soviet Union and Russia, most recently The Strongman, about Russia’s relations with the West under Putin, and Moscow Calling, a captivating memoir of his decades-long “love affair” with Russia. In the introduction to the paperback edition of Moscow Calling, he wrote: “I want to let readers feel what it was like to live in the Soviet Union and through the turmoil that followed it. This background – the history, the culture, the people and traditions – is not just an “optional extra”, but essential if we are to understand what Russia is today.” The book was described by the Times’ diplomatic editor, Michael Binyon, as “an absolutely magnificent book; I haven’t read any book that so perfectly captures the atmosphere of life in the Soviet Union and Russia.”
Angus Roxburgh’s talks mix personal experience and anecdote with incisive analysis of recent Russian history and politics, revealing the roots of today’s dangerous stand-off with the West.