New Humanist

United Kingdom

It is true that the Stalinist state treated clerics militantly. Communists, however, were never unified in their approaches to religion or its institutions. Some of them promoted patience and persuasion, others even allied with believers, sometimes despite the fierce rejection of the Catholic church.

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A 30-hour train journey from Vienna to Moscow offers the chance to connect with the Russian past: contraband, bribery and all. Alexei Korolyov returns to the place of his birth.

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Whether as heritage or as kitsch, landscape is often thought of as being detached from everyday life. In literature, too, human history tends to be separated from geography. Writing from the Balkans reminds us of this intimate connection, says British poet Fiona Sampson.

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