Look and Listen

Do you want to watch a video, hear an audio file, or read an interview to learn more about Gorbachev, about Russia, or about the author? We’ve included recordings of past events (marked with *), as well as stand-alone recordings. We’ve highlighted a couple as especially recommended; others are listed in reverse chronological order.


Elizabeth Franceschini, “Why Gorbachev Is One of the Most Important Leaders of the 20th Century,” an article in the McGill International Review (16 December 2019), is based on a conversation with Bill and on his talk at McGill University on 1 November 2019.

Reading Gorbachev in Moscow offers a report on Bill’s meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow in early December 2018, complete with several photos showing their lively discussion of the book, which Gorbachev said he is reading (the Russian edition is recently out) with great appreciation. (See video of another event during Bill’s Moscow trip.)


Especially recommended: “In Contrast: Exploring Culture in the Making,” with Ilan Stavans. Episode #18: In Search of Gorbachev, with William Taubman. Aired on New England Public Radio, March 7, 2018. 47 minutes

  • March 28, 2018, the podcast “Of Gorbachev, and of Writing About Gorbachev – Russian Roulette Episode 54” went online at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. In the podcast, Olga Oliker and Jeffrey Mankoff of CSIS discuss with Bill not only Gorbachev’s personality, political history and historical role, but also the process of writing and researching the book. Approx. 52 minutes. Scroll down on the page to find podcast link.
  • December 6, 2017, Bill Taubman’s interview on Sean’s Russia Blog Podcast went online. Hear the interview here. Approx. 54 minutes.
  • In early November, 2017, Radio New Zealand aired an interview with Bill Taubman discussing Gorbachev and Bill’s interpretation of his life and times. Approx. 38 minutes.
  • October 29, 2017,The Man Who Changed the World, But Deemed a Failure in His Own Country: The Legacy of Gorbachev,” Bill Taubman was interviewed on BizTalk Radio with Jim Campbell, 10-11pm. Approx. 39-minute recording.
  • October 26, 2017, The “Eurasian Enigma” podcast of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University posted a podcast and transcript of Cris Martin’s interview with Bill. Approx. 24 minute recording.
  • October 16, 2017, “Mikhail Gorbachev’s Legacy and Life”, on Late Night Live with Philip Adams on RN, Australian Broadcasting. Web page offers links to listen online or download audio file. 45 minutes, Bill Taubman interview begins around minute 3, after introduction. Original aired 16 Oct. 2017, 10:20 pm.
  • *October 11, 2017, NPR’S 1A: Speak Freely aired a radio discussion: “From Outside Moscow, He Continues Opposing President Putin,” featuring Mikhail Khodorovsky (businessman and former president of Yukos Energy) and William Taubman. Use the Listen link at top of the program announcement page. Approx. 35 minutes. Bill’s comments follow Khodorovsky’s, with some elements of Q&A touching upon the Gorbachev-Putin relationship.
  • *October 5, 2017, LSE, London, UK. Lecture on Gorbachev: His Life and Times (Hosted by LSE IDEAS and LSE International History). Podcast of recorded event now available for online listening or download.
  • In October 2017,Amherst College’s monthly online book club featured Gorbachev as the month’s selection. Several links related to the online discussion can be accessed during the month of October, including a recording of a conversation between Bill Taubman and Samuel Charup (Amherst ‘02). Approx. 43 minutes.
  • September 29, 2017, the Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC featured an interview with Bill Taubman, “How Gorbachev became the last leader of the Soviet Union. Listen to the podcast here.
  • September 8, 2017,The New York Times Book Review offered a fascinating interview podcast with Bill Taubman about the background to the book and his impressions of Mikhail Gorbachev (approx. 18 minutes at beginning of podcast).


Especially recommended: *October 15, 2017, C-SPAN’s Q&A with Brian Lamb aired an interview with Bill Taubman discussing his biography of Gorbachev. Approx. 59 minutes.

  • December 14, 2018: practice your Russian! Bill spoke in Moscow at a gathering at the Memorial Society, a non-governmental organization that works to keep memories of Stalin’s victims alive. Two commentators spoke after Bill. The talks and the Q&A that followed are available on YouTube. (all in Russian)
  • August 18, 2018 at KentPresents, Kent, CT. Russia on Top. The Putin-Trump relationship is conflicted and vexing. What do both men want, can they get it, and where do Europe and NATO fit in? Featuring Nicholas Burns, Michael Kramer and William Taubman.
  • *November 20, 2017, at New York’s 92nd Street Y, Dr. Gail Saltz’s course on Psychobiography featured “On Gorbachev with William Taubman,” with an interview highlighting psychological perspectives on Gorbachev’s life and times. View the video here. Approx. 70 minutes.
  • *November 9, 2017: Watch a conference panel at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs (“US Presidents Confront the Russians: A Century of Challenge, 1917-2017”). Bill Taubman spoke on the panel, “End of the Cold War: An Elusive Victory,” which concerned Gorbachev’s relations with Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Bill hailed the Gorbachev-Reagan relationship as “an almost perfect partnership,” but criticized the Bush administration for being slow to recognize that Gorbachev was the first Soviet leader to view the United States as a potential partner. Two ranking members of that administration responded. (approx. 2 hrs. 25 min.)
  • *October 26, 2017, San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club presented “One Russia, Two Taubmans” (William Taubman, in conversation with Philip Taubman). View the video recording of the conversation.
  • *October 23, 2017, the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC, presented “William Taubman on Gorbachev: His Life and Times” (a seminar organized by the National History Center and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; co-moderated by Christian F. Ostermann and Eric Arnesen, and with panelists Svetlana Savranskaya and Michael Dobbs). View the video recording of the conversation.
  • *October 19, 2017, John Batchelor Show on WABC Radio featured an interview with Bill Taubman. You can view the interview in a 6-part video recording here.
  • *October 1, 2017, DeBalieTV, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
    “Gorbatsjov and the (unintended) end of the Soviet era,” featuring Bill Taubman, Pavel Palazhchenko (Gorbachev’s interpreter/advisor), and Laura Starink (former Moscow correspondent for a leading Dutch national media company), discussing Gorbachev’s life and goals, major events of the historical period when he led the Soviet Union, and the West’s responses to him. With moderator Lennart Booij. Duration: 1:46:00.
  • *September 14, 2017, Amherst College. Video of “Gorbachev: His Life and Times,” a Conversation with Professors William Taubman and Pavel Machala (approx. 54 minutes).
  • Watch a short video clip of Bill Taubman talking about Gorbachev’s role in history.
  • See and hear Bill Taubman’s lecture at Wellesley College in winter 2017, “Why Did the Soviet Union Collapse?” (approx. 84 minutes).


The following are interviews for which only transcripts or published versions are available.