The Moscow Kremlin

Russia’s Fortified Heart

The Moscow Kremlin cover


A detailed study of the tumultuous history of the Moscow Kremlin, a metaphor for Russia, a symbol for its government and an enduring icon of the country.

A fortified complex covering 70 acres at the heart of Moscow, behind walls up to 18m high and watched over by 20 towers, the Kremlin houses everything from Russia's seat of political power to glittering churches. This is a fortress that has evolved over time, from the original wooden guard tower built in the 11th century to the current stone and brick complex, over the years having been built, burnt, besieged, and rebuilt.

Starting with the initial building of a wooden watch tower on the banks of the Moskva river in the 11th century, this book follows the Kremlin's tumultuous history through rises and falls and various iterations to today. In the process, it tells a story of Russia, and also unveils a range of mysteries around the fortress, from the 14th-century underground tunnels built to permit spies to enter and leave it covertly through to today's invisible defenses such as it GPS spoofing field (switch on your phone inside the walls and it may well tell you you're at Vnukovo airport, 30km away) and drone jammers.

Table of Contents

The Moscow Gorod – The early wooden incarnations, including detail on design and construction, culminating in the razing of the later fort by the Mongols in the 13th century.
A White-Stone Fortress – The construction of the first stone Kremlin by Dmitry Donskoi in the 14th century, again with information on the design and construction.
Red Brick Kremlin – The expansion and development of the Kremlin over the years, including the building of new walls and towers and evolution to keep pace with military technologies.
Times of Troubles – The 17th century: A summary of the actual combat experiences of the stone Kremlin, especially looking the 1680 siege of the city by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Napoleon and Nicholases – The fate of the Kremlin when Napoleon took it in 1812.
Red Fortress – The Kremlin in the 20th century, including a description of the defences added as the Germans approached and attacked Moscow in 194–42.
Twenty Towers - Analysis of the 20 towers around the Kremlin walls.
Today's Kremlin – An overview of its current roles, including detail about its defences, from the Presidential Regiment barracked in the old Arsenal Building (known as Block 14) to the systems jamming drones and GPS in the area and the helipad built for a rapid evacuation of the president.
Bibliography – including a few of the best Russian-language sources.

Product details

Published Feb 15 2022
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 64
ISBN 9781472845498
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations Black & white and colour photos. Full colour artwork.
Dimensions 248 x 184 mm
Series Fortress
Short code FOR
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Mark Galeotti

Mark Galeotti is a scholar of Russian security aff…


Donato Spedaliere

Donato Spedaliere was born in Switzerland and move…


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