Departures Podcast featuring Sergey Radchenko, author of “To Run the World: The Kremlin’s Cold War Bid for Global Power”

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Following the end of World War II, Josef Stalin and Russia’s leadership had a certain vision of the postwar order, one which ended up being quite different from reality. They had expected to maintain control over the whole of Europe, and have these gains of war legitimized and recognized by the United States – with specific emphasis on the carve up of territory concluded in the Yalta conference of 1945.

But these burning ambitions for global power continued long after in the Khruschev and Brezhnev eras and came to define the cold war. On this week’s episode of Departures we are very excited to feature the noted historian Sergey Radchenko, whose book, “To Run the World: The Kremlin’s Cold War Bid for Global Power,” is a tour de force detailing the history of Kremlin thinking throughout this critical period.

With a strong focus on archival sources, Radchenko avoids ideological framing in his analysis of Kremlin decision-making, focusing instead on some of the surprising motivations and long-held beliefs of Russian leadership, prompting decisions which eventually turned the tide of US and global opinion against detente. Radchenko’s book leaves open a number of questions about Russia’s unmet desire for recognition on the global stage, many of which continue to provide relevant insight into Vladimir Putin’s current appetite for war.