My colleague, Dina Khapaeva, has published another book, on Putin and neomedievalism, Putin's Dark Ages. This will be my next read after Your Brain on Art.
Publisher's description: Two decades before the war against Ukraine, a “special operation” was launched against Russian historical memory, aggressively reshaping the nation’s understanding of its history and identity. The Kremlin’s militarization of Russia through World War II propaganda is well documented, but the glorification of Russian medieval society and its warlords as a source of support for Putinism has yet to be explored. This book offers the first comparison of Putin’s political neomedievalism and re-Stalinization and introduces the concept of mobmemory to the study of right-wing populism. It argues that the celebration of the oprichnina, Ivan the Terrible’s regime of state terror (1565–1572), has been fused with the rehabilitation of Stalinism to reconstruct the Russian Empire. The post-Soviet case suggests that the global obsession with the Middle Ages is not purely an aesthetic movement but a potential weapon against democracy.