Monday 10 July 2006 21:30-22:15 (Radio 3)
Russian Matryoshka dolls, featuring world leaders
Photo by Jeff Overs / BBC.
From July 15 the great city of St Petersburg becomes the showcase for Putin's new Russia.
The city where Shostakovich was born, where Rasputin raged, where Dostoevsky set many of his stories and where Pushkin died in a snowy duel will host the G8 Summit.
The elegant streets of St Petersburg are now filled with the shops, cafes and night clubs of the consumerist new Russia, a state that its leaders insist is a forward looking European-styled democracy.
In tonight's 'Night Waves' Paul Allen and guests explore the cultural reality of the new Russia.
Does Putin's state really even qualify for the political and democratic criteria of the G8?
Scratch the surface of the new Russia and how deep is the trauma of the disintegration of the Soviet Union? How profound are confusions about Russian history and identity?
Paul Allen's guests include the journalist Arkady Ostrovsky, the historian Anatol Lieven and Geoffrey Hosking, author of a new book about the Russians in the Soviet Union.
The human rights analyst Ekaterina Sokirianskaia sends a "letter" from Chechnya and Paul Allen talks to the great Russian director and head of the Mariinsky theatre (formerly the Kirov) in St Petersburg.
'Rulers and Victims: The Russians in the Soviet Union' by Geoffrey Hosking is published by Harvard University Press.