Timothy Snyder

is Professor of History at Yale University, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Permanent Fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna. Among his publications are: Sketches From a Secret War: A Polish Artist’s Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine (New Haven, 2005), The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (New York 2008), Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin (2010), Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (Penguin, 2015), On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (Tim Duggan Books, 2017) and The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America (Tim Duggan Books, 2018). In May 2009, he delivered the keynote speech at the Eurozine conference ‘European histories’ in Vilnius.

Articles

Cover for: Mapping the road to unfreedom

Mapping the road to unfreedom

Timothy Snyder’s ‘The Road to Unfreedom’ critiqued and explored

In ‘The Road to Unfreedom’, historian Timothy Snyder traces the intellectual roots of modern authoritarianism in Russia and how its influence has spread, not least in the West. In the following exchange, three east-central European scholars, brought together by ‘Razpotja’, critique Snyder’s new book – and Snyder responds.

Cover for: Gott ist Russe

Der russische Philosoph Iwan Iljin starb 1954 vergessen im Schweizer Exil. Seine Wiederentdeckung verdankt er Putins Regime. Es stützt sich auf ihn als Vordenker einer Politik, die die westlichen Werte im Namen eines neuen Autoritarismus systematisch untergräbt, mit Erfolg. Man könnte, meint Timothy Snyder, in Iljin den Propheten unseres Zeitalters sehen.

Cover for: Taking bad ideas seriously

Taking bad ideas seriously

How to read Hitler and Ilyin?

Historian Timothy Snyder, in conversation with Simas Čelutka of the Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis, discusses how to approach problematic works of political theory. In addition to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Snyder has recently studied the works of Ivan Ilyin, a twentieth-century Russian writer whose ideas are influencing the Kremlin’s current world-view.

Cover for: Germans must remember the truth about Ukraine – for their own sake

Don’t fall for the official Russian line on WWII, historian Timothy Snyder warns German MPs in a speech at the Bundestag. In the debate over Germany’s historical responsibility for its wartime actions in Ukraine, ‘Germany cannot afford to get major issues of its history wrong.’

Cover for: Beware the destruction of the state!

Beware the destruction of the state!

An interview with Timothy Snyder

In his recent book Black Earth, the historian Timothy Snyder analyses the Holocaust in terms of the destruction of the state. This allows him to compare the roles of the Nazi and Soviet regimes in causing the Holocaust, despite their different ideologies and intentions. In interview with the Slovenian journal Razpotja, Snyder explains this argument and its implications for contemporary conflicts in Europe and beyond.

Board for election campaigns with posters of pro and against parties of the Association Agreement with Ukraine, Utrecht, Netherlands. Wikimedia

Russia has adopted an open policy of dividing the European Union and undermining the security of its members, of which the Dutch referendum questioning the Association Agreement with Ukraine is simply a small part. So says Timothy Snyder in a succinct account of the background to the 6 April referendum.

Cover for: When Stalin was Hitler's ally

As Russia revives the tradition of wars of aggression on European territory, Vladimir Putin has chosen to rehabilitate the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact as good foreign policy. But why violate now what was for so long a Soviet taboo? Timothy Snyder explains.

Diaries and memoirs of the Maidan

Ukraine from November 2013 to February 2014

In these impressions of the Maidan protests collected by Timothy Snyder and Tatiana Zhurzhenko, one hears the voices of those who witnessed history in the making. The role of civil society and the Russian-speaking middle class, as well as individual existential decisions, also come to the fore.

The history of Ukraine has revealed the turning points in the history of Europe. On 25 May both Ukrainians and EU citizens can decide which way things will turn this time. Ukraine has no future without Europe, but Europe also has no future without Ukraine.

Holocaust memorial in Berlin

Commemorative causality, the confusion between present resonance and past power, denies history its proper subject, writes Timothy Snyder. What is easiest to represent becomes what it is easiest to argue and, in lieu of serious explanations, only emotional reflexes remain.

If we concentrate on Auschwitz and the Gulag – generally taken to be adequate or even final symbols of the evil of mass slaughter – we fail to notice that over a period of twelve years, between 1933 and 1944, some 12 million victims of Nazi and Soviet mass killing policies perished in a particular region of Europe, one defined more or less by today’s Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.

In the European political climate today, more than sixty years since the end of WWII, eastern European experiences of subjugation are often glossed over. This creates misunderstandings that could be avoided by an awareness of a common European history, argues Timothy Snyder. Then, solidarity rather than national prejudice would motivate public opinion on matters of European politics.

Globalisation along rich-poor divides is less the swan song of state power than its siren song, writes Timothy Snyder.

There are moments in history when one must think broadly and ambitiously. To secure democracy in Ukraine is certainly in the interest of the European Union, writes Timothy Snyder. It is also a test for a Europe that wishes to play a role in the world.

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