Ben Wolfenstein

A Gangrenous Growth

    Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev called the conflict in Afghanistan a “bleeding wound which can result in gangrenous growth on the body of mankind” in a statement in 1988. Stagnant wars and conflicts are suffered by most aggressive world powers. Ancient empires such as Rome spread their resources so far that they could […]

Moscow to Sochi: The Legacy of the Russian Olympic Host

  On February 7th, the Olympic Games will return to Russia for the first time since the 1980 Moscow Summer Games. Unfortunately, just like the Moscow Games, the Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia are surrounded with controversy. Amid the return of the Olympics, and some calls for a boycott, reminders of the boycott of the Moscow […]

No More Opium for the People

    Marxism famously claims that “religion is the opiate of the people”. Communism was to have no religion. But while bringing Marxist theory into practice in Russia, Soviet leaders knew that the thin ice they walked on could break if they forced Soviet citizens to give up religion. Prior to the Soviet Union, Orthodox […]

The Arms Sprint

  On August 29th, 1949 an explosion was watched by Lavrentii Beria and scientist Igor Kurchatov . The explosion, that of a Soviet engineered atomic bomb shocked the United States. Only four years before had the Americans revealed the results of the secret Manhattan Project. There was no way that the Soviets could have created a […]


  Communism was believed to be a worldwide revolution of the proletariat. This was something that was feared by capitalist countries and embraced by socialists. Lenin called for the workers of the world to unite, and expected capitalism in Europe to fall soon after the rise of the Bolsheviks. With this belief the new Soviet […]

The Beginning of the Soviet Sporting Power

  The Soviet Union was known for many things, one of which was elite athletics. While the Cold War raged, the Soviets and Americans did actual battle in the world of sports, mainly the Olympic Games where defeating capitalists in was a show of communist power and success. State sponsored athletic training in communist states […]

The Tightfisted

  Josef Stalin had a plan to end the New Economic Policy or the NEP. The NEP was not the socialism the October Revolution had promised. It was the safe bet in a time of transition and war, but it was based on capitalistic policies in industry and agriculture. Once Stalin took power, he vowed […]

The Kornilov Train Wreck

In August of 1917, famed Russian general Lavr Kornilov staged a military coup in the midst of World War I. Kornilov was upset at the Provisional Government, of which Alexander Kerensky had recently assumed power. The Provisional Government, lacking the authority to control all of Russia, had established a dual governance with the Petrograd Soviet. […]

Who was Father Gapon?

A blog post is not enough to answer that question, but I needed to find out some of the basics after hearing his name in class. I have studied Russia and the incident of Bloody Sunday multiple times since middle school, mostly in passing, but I had never heard that name until this past week. […]