Orlando Figes

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Orlando Figes, 2013

Orlando Figes (born November 20, 1959 in London ) is a British historian .

Figes has been Professor of Modern and Contemporary Russian History at Birkbeck College at the University of London since 1999 . According to his own statement, since February 13, 2017, he has also had German citizenship because he does not want to be “a Brexit -Brite”.


His mother is the British writer and feminist Eva Figes . Figes studied history at Cambridge University , where, after completing his studies and earning his doctorate in 1984, he accepted the academic post of Fellow and Lecturer in Russian History, which he held until 1999. Famous than the scientific community, he was it by the publication of his book on the history of Russian revolutions, "The tragedy of a people", for which he was awarded several times by the following in almost all major newspapers of Britain and the New York Times published Articles on the subject. His second important work, “The Whisperers. Living in Stalin's Russia ”has been translated into around 20 languages. In Germany he wrote articles for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Die Welt .

Figes caused quite a stir in 2009/2010 with fake online reviews . As a supposed layman, he had panned the works of colleagues in so-called customer reviews on amazon.co.uk under a pseudonym and praised his own works.

In 2012, his work The Whisperers was criticized on the basis of Russian-language original interviews that Figes used for the book. Some of the statements made by the British historian were not covered by the interviews. Critics accused Figes of major inaccuracies and errors. A planned Russian edition of Die Flüsterer was delayed or hardly possible.



  • Peasant Russia, Civil War: The Volga Countryside in Revolution, 1917–21. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1989, ISBN 0-19-822169-X .
  • A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924. Pimlico, London 1996, ISBN 0-7126-7327-X .
  • (with Boris Kolonitski) Interpreting the Russian Revolution: the Language and Symbols of 1917. Yale University Press, New Haven 1999, ISBN 0-300-08106-5 .
  • Natasha's Dance: a cultural history of Russia. Penguin , London 2002. ISBN 978-0-14-029796-6 .
    • Translation: Natasha's dance. A cultural history of Russia. Berlin Verlag, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-8270-0487-X .
  • The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia. Lane, London 2007 ISBN 978-0-7139-9702-6 .
  • The Crimean War: A History. Lane, London 2010. ISBN 978-0-7139-9704-0 .
  • Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag. Lane, London 2012, ISBN 978-0-8050-9522-7 .
    • Translation: Send a greeting, sometimes through the stars: A story of love and survival in times of terror . Hanser, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-446-24031-5 .
  • Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991. Pelican, London 2014, ISBN 978-0-14-104367-8 .
    • Translation: Hundred Years of Revolution. Russia and the 20th century. Translated from the English by Bernd Rullkötter. Hanser Berlin, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-446-24775-8 .
  • The Europeans: Three Lives and the Making of a Cosmopolitan Culture. Lane, London 2019, ISBN 978-0-241-00489-0 .

Web links


  1. “77 years ago my family fled to England from Nazi Germany. Today I became a German citizen bec I don't want to be a Brexit Brit. " Twitter , January 13, 2017.
  2. See Figes website .
  3. ^ Fake online reviews. A whisperer. The historian Orlando Figes as an anonymous reviewer on the Internet . In: Die Zeit , April 19, 2010.
  4. Robert Booth, Miriam Elder: Orlando Figes translation scrapped in Russia amid claims of inaccuracies , in: The Guardian , May 23, 2012 (accessed June 4, 2012); Controversy about Orlando Figes , in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , June 4, 2012 (accessed June 4, 2012).