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'Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past', George Orwell wrote in Nineteen Eighty-Four. In this glorious work of history, Orlando Figes argues that the maxim is truer for Russia than for any other country in the world.

The Story of Russia begins in the first millennium, when Russia's lands were first settled by the Slavs, and ends with Putin in the third. From Boris and Gleb, the first saints of the Russian Church, to the crowning of sixteen-year-old Ivan the Terrible in a candlelit cathedral; and from Catherine the Great, riding out in a green uniform to arrest her husband at his palace, to the bitter last days of the Romanovs, Orlando Figes takes us on an intimate and enthralling journey through the stories that have shaped Russia.

How the Russians came to tell their story and to reinvent it as they went along is not only a vital aspect of their history, but is also the best means we have of understanding the country today. The Story of Russia is quintessential Figes- sweeping, suspenseful, masterful.