Robert Service

Senior Fellow

Robert Service, a noted Russian historian and political commentator, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford.

His research interests concern Russian history and politics in all its aspects, from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Service was awarded the 2009 Duff Cooper Prize for his biography Trotsky (Harvard University Press, 2009).

His most recent publication is Russia and Its Islamic World (Hoover Institution Press, 2017). He is the author of Spies and Commissars: Russia and the West in the Bolshevik Revolution (McMillan, 2011), Dictionary of 20th Century Communism (Princeton University Press, 2010) coedited with Silvio Pons, The Russian Revolution 1900–1927, 4th edition (London, 2009); author of Lenin: A Biography (London, 2000); “Architectural Problems of Reform in the Soviet Union: From Design to Collapse” in Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, vol. 2 (2001); Russia: Experiment with a People (London and Harvard, 2002); “Stalinism and the Soviet State Order” in Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, vol. 1 (2003); A History of Modern Russia. From Tsarism to the Twenty-First Century, 3rd edition, expanded and updated (London and Cambridge, MA, 2009); Stalin: A Biography (London and Cambridge, MA, 2004); “Military Policy, International Relations and Soviet Security after October 1917,” in Russia: War, Peace and Diplomacy. Essays in Honour of John Erickson (London, 2004); “Soviet Political Leadership and 'Sovietological' Modelling,” in Leading Russia: Putin in Perspective: Essays in Honour of Archie Brown (Oxford , 2005); and Comrades: A World History of Communism (London and Cambridge, MA, 2007).

Service holds an MA in modern languages from the University of Cambridge and an MA and a PhD in government from the University of Essex.

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Recent Commentary

Vladimir Putin
Analysis and Commentary

How Not To Pressure Putin

by Robert Servicevia Foreign Policy
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Britain needs strategic patience, not shrill denunciations, to keep Russia in check.


Britain Must ‘Take Back Control’ From Russia

by Robert Servicevia The Spectator
Saturday, March 10, 2018

Putin relies on mischief and mayhem. We need to push back.


Russia Is Meddling In Western Politics As It Has Nothing To Lose

by Robert Servicevia The Guardian
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Putin knows Russia is no longer a superpower, but he can bolster his standing at home by destabilising the west.


Russia And The US Are Jittery About Spies. But Facts Are Hard To Come By

by Robert Servicevia The Guardian
Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Amid the allegations swirling around Washington sits a private company called the Kaspersky Lab. But beyond that, nothing is clear.

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Russia Wrestles With Islam

by Robert Servicevia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Putin merely poses as the Muslim's world's best friend. 

Russia and Its Islamic World

by Robert Servicevia Hoover Institution Press
Friday, July 14, 2017

In Russia and Its Islamic World, Robert Service discusses Russia’s long and difficult relationship with Islam, within its borders and across the world, from the thirteenth century to the present. He maps Russia’s complex and sometimes contradictory interactions with its Muslims, nearby Muslim states, and the Middle East, exploring centuries of Russian territorial expansion and occupation, Muslim jihad, the Soviet assault on Islam, the fall of the Soviet Union, and Russia’s current bid to reestablish itself as a world power.

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The End of the Cold War: 1985-1991

by Robert Servicevia Books by Hoover Fellows
Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Cold War had seemed like a permanent fixture in global politics, and until its denouement, no Western or Soviet politician had foreseen that an epoch defined by games of irreconcilable one-upmanship between the world’s most heavily armed superpowers would end in their lifetimes. Under the long, forbidding shadow of the Cold War, even the smallest miscalculation from either side could result in catastrophe.

Analysis and Commentary

Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist By Niall Ferguson, Review: 'Provocative'

by Robert Service featuring Henry A. Kissinger, Niall Fergusonvia Telegraph
Thursday, October 15, 2015

No American secretary of state has been such a magnet for abuse as Henry Kissinger. His witty appearances on television and visits to restaurants with young beauties on his arm made no difference: even at the peak of his power, he never won much affection.

Red Tales

by Robert Service, Jonathan Derbyshirevia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 26, 2012

Imitate it, destroy it, trade with it? In the years after the Bolshevik revolution, the West didn’t know what to make of the new Soviet state. Hoover fellow Robert Service explores a time of conflict and disillusionment. By Jonathan Derbyshire.

masked guerrilla theater group

The Next Russian Revolution?

by Robert Servicevia Hoover Digest
Friday, April 6, 2012

The Soviet Union has been gone for twenty years, but the people of Russia are only just awakening. By Robert Service.


Spies and Commissars: Russia and the West in the Bolshevik Revolution

 Spies and Commissars: Russia and the West in the Bolshevik Revolution, Service's most recent book.