David Abulafia

The history professor sanctioned by Putin


February 14, 2024
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This week, Vladimir Putin’s government announced a new round of sanctions on British individuals. Where most have focused on politicians and military leaders, this list was the first to focus on cultural figures.

It was accompanied with a statement that claimed the Kremlin was sanctioning “Russophobic British representatives” for “trying to discredit the constitutional system and socio-political processes in our country” and “pushing the Zelenskyy regime to continue the bloodshed” in Ukraine. They wrote that “the so-called brain trusts operating [in] British educational institutions make a significant contribution to the subversive work of London in the Russian direction” and that academics including Abulafia “bore responsibility for crimes against civilians.”

One of those sanctioned was David Abulafia, a Professor of History at the University of Cambridge, specialising in Renaissance and Mediterranean history, the Holy Roman Empire, and most recently, the oceans. For a maritime historian, this seemed like an usual situation, so UnHerd asked if he would talk about it.

He joined UnHerd’s Freddie Sayers live from Cambridge to share the interpretation of history that had caught the eye of the Kremlin.

You can watch the full interview above.


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Peter F. Lee
PL
Peter F. Lee
2 months ago

So there is something to be said for what Putin had to say.

thomas Schinkel
TS
thomas Schinkel
2 months ago

unfortunately, David Abulafia did not answer the question whether Victoria Nuland put her finger on the scale back in 2014. For an American, this is a crucial question.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
2 months ago

Anyone who thinks Victoria Nuland could carry out a revolution in a country of 40 million, is past delusional.
Given past CIA/US efforts to achieve just that, I find it also quite comical.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
2 months ago

Shows the very different outcomes when:

1) A trained historian looks at the documents from a given period;
2) And when a stupid slum kid from St Petersburg begins to read the trash that passes for history in most bookstores in Russia today.

I recall scanning the history section in Moscow and St P on a number of occasions. Each time the quality of writing had deteriorated.
Russia’s chauvinistic ideology has arguably existed since the time of the Rurikids. Like all European nations it persisted up until WW2. The Soviet version was a reboot of Tsarist fantasies, just given a Marxist veneer.
Putin’s reading of history during covid seems to have driven him around the bend, as most chauvinistic literature in every century eventually does.
Sad that a very unremarkable man can ruin the lives of so many millions.

Peter F. Lee
PL
Peter F. Lee
2 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Don’t think it is as black and white and you pretend. One of the major elements in negotiation is listening (actually listening) to the other point of view. Things are never going to improve with mistaken views like yours.
The quality of writing in the US is abolutely appalling and continues its downward spiral.