Skip to main content

Distributed for Reaktion Books

Patterns of Russia

History, Culture, and Spaces

This book provides a remarkable overview of significant themes in Russian history and culture, in each case starting well before the eighteenth century, while frequently following them up into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Robin Milner-Gulland shows how the public face of Russia developed and evolved through its distinct architecture, astonishing art, and its varied public spaces. What emerges is a clear picture of how Russians fashioned their identity, and the national monuments associated with it, in their setting: the Russian natural landscape as well as distinctive elements of traditional material culture. Tellingly illustrated, concise and free of jargon, Patterns of Russia will appeal to all those with an interest in the history and culture of this complex—and much discussed—country.

272 pages | 45 color plates, 62 halftones | 6 3/4 x 8 3/4

History: General History

Reaktion Books image

View all books from Reaktion Books


"Accessible and informed. . . . A series of reflections on the interrelationships between culture, history and place, Patterns of Russia makes no attempt to be comprehensive. It is a surprisingly personal account but nonetheless interesting for that. . . . Illustrated throughout by stunning photography and useful maps, this charming book comes highly recommended—it’s an ideal demonstration of what Lenin was to so fittingly term 'Great Russian national pride.'"

Morning Star

"From the outset, Milner-Gulland’s approach to Russia’s extensive continental landmass as the locus for his cultural history of the country is both stimulating and informative. . . . The book is excellently produced, generously illustrated, and benefits from a densely textured and elegantly written text which is further enhanced by the author’s personal experience of many of the spaces, places, and artifacts he so assuredly adduces throughout."

Journal of European Studies

“Any lively mind will have something to learn from this book. Students will welcome its range and clarity; scholars will find it provocative and illuminating; and the author’s vivacious style brings the vast and often unfamiliar cultural world of the early Russian lands within the reach of all interested readers.”

Simon Dixon, Sir Bernard Pares Professor of Russian History, University College London

"With its beautiful and unusual illustrations, Patterns of Russia sheds light on the historical development of Russian national self-awareness through its art, literature, and architecture. This is not a geography of Russia, nor a history of Russian art or Russian spirituality. . . . It is a study rather of the belief-systems and the symbolic dynamic through which the Russian people have formed their identity."

Ann Shukman, writer and translator

Table of Contents


1 North, South, East, West: The Spaces of Russia
2 Built Environment
3 Art and Artists of Old Russia
4 Art and Place
5 ‘Holy Russia’ and Its Jerusalems
6 Petersburg: Foundation and Fate
7 Ultimate Russia

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press