RED FORTRESS The Secret Heart of Russia’s History

By Catherine Merridale

The extraordinary story of one of the most significant, mysterious and emblematic buildings in Russian history – the Kremlin; a stage set for Russia’s secretive power and the heart of Russian history.

“Catherine Merridale is a superb historian, among the very best of her generation”
- Tony Judt

Both beautiful and profoundly menacing, the Kremlin has dominated Moscow for many centuries. A threatening palace of astonishing scale, it is one of the very few buildings in the world which still keeps its original, late medieval function: built to intimidate and to consolidate the ruler’s power.

Catherine Merridale’s exceptional new book revels in the drama of this frightening compound, taking us behind its great red walls and towers and revealing the most startling events in Russia’s history. From sacred Orthodox religious site to tyrant’s lair, from sumptuous palace to greasy Bolshevik canteen, the Kremlin has been continually reshaped to accord with shifting ideological needs, bearing the traces of each ruler’s social, spiritual, military or regal priorities. It has allowed all its inhabitants to claim to be the heirs of Russia’s great historic destiny, as potent now under Vladimir Putin as it was under earlier, baleful inhabitants.

Catherine Merridale is the author of Night of Stone: Death and Memory in Russia , which won the Heinemann Prize for Literature and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, as well as Moscow Politics and the Rise of Stalin and Ivan’s War: The Red Army, 1939-1945 . She is professor of contemporary history at Queen Mary, University of London.

Praise for Ivan’s War :

"A harrowing but unforgettable report on the chaos and tragedy that brought this Europe to birth…magnificent”

- Boyd Tonkin, Independent

“Essential reading, not just for those interested in the Eastern Front, but for anyone who wants to understand Russia”

- Antony Beevor, Sunday Times

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