May 19, 2018


Richard Pipes, Historian of Russia and Reagan Aide, Dies at 94 (William Grimes, May 17, 2018, NY Times)

Professor Pipes, who spent his entire academic career at Harvard, took his place in the front rank of Russian historians with the publication of "Russia Under the Old Regime" in 1974. But he achieved much wider renown as a public intellectual deeply skeptical about the American policy of d├ętente with the Soviet Union.

In 1976, he led a group of military and foreign-policy experts, known as Team B, in an ultimately pessimistic analysis of the Soviet Union's military strategy and foreign policy and the threats they posed to the United States.

The group's report, commissioned by the Central Intelligence Agency as a counterweight to an analysis that had been generated by the C.I.A.'s own experts -- Team A -- helped galvanize conservative opposition to arms-control talks and accommodation with the Soviet Union. And it set the stage for Ronald Reagan's policy of challenging Soviet foreign policy and seeking to undermine its hold over Eastern Europe.

While writing ambitious histories of the Russian Revolution and the Bolshevik regime, Professor Pipes continued his campaign for a tougher foreign policy toward the Soviet Union in the late 1970s as a member of the neoconservative Committee on the Present Danger and as director of Eastern European and Soviet affairs for President Reagan's National Security Council.

Despite this public role, he regarded himself, first and foremost, as a historian of Russian history, politics and culture -- a field in which he performed with great distinction. A forceful, stylish writer with a sweeping view of history, Professor Pipes covered nearly 600 years of the Russian past in "Russia Under the Old Regime," abandoning chronology and treating his subject by themes, such as the peasantry, the church, the machinery of state and the intelligentsia.

Stinkin' immigrants....

Posted by at May 19, 2018 7:16 PM