Tolstoy: War and the Russian Empire


Tolstoy was one of the greatest writers of all time. His books have constructed how we think about Russian imperial history. But he was not just an observer, he was also a participant. As a young man, Tolstoy fought in several of Russia’s imperial wars– against the Chechens and the Ottoman Turks, then against both the French and the British in the Crimea. As he matured he grew far more critical of Russian Empire building and lamented the futility of war and conquest. His writings were a driver of the growing disillusionment with tsarism, and he began to be censored by the regime. So great was his influence that Lenin himself wrote about his role in the Russian Revolution. Listen as William and Anita are joined by Tolstoy’s biographer Rosamund Bartlett to unpick this remarkable life.

Twitter: @Empirepoduk


Producer: Callum Hill + Tabby Syrett

Exec Producer: Jack Davenport + Neil Fearn

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