Uldis Tirons

Moscow’s House on the Embankment was home to many of the first generation of Russian revolutionaries. Historian Yuri Slezkine, who has written the definitive account of the building, describes how it embodied the lives, hopes and fate of the Soviet project and its elite.

Legendary Georgian philosopher Merab Mamardashvili (1930-1990) was once ironically referred to by the Cheka as “the freest man in the country”. But Mamardashvili was no dissident, believing that the authorities, having “faced the truth about what I really am”, had no choice but to curtail his freedom. However, it is exactly the problem of what Mamardashvili really was that everybody is so interested in, says Rigas Laiks editor Uldis Tirons.