In these first 25 episodes from the landmark BBC radio series, Martin Sixsmith brings his first-hand experience of reporting from Russia to this fascinating narrative, witnessing the critical moment when the Soviet Union finally lost its grip on power. Power struggles have a constant presence in his story, from the Mongol hordes that invaded in the 13th century, through the iron autocratic fists of successive Tsars. Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, Peter the Great—all left their mark on a nation that pursued expansion to the East, West, and South. Many Tsars flirted with reform, but the gap between the rulers and the ruled widened until, in 1917, the doomed last Tsar, Nicholas II, abdicated. The first part of Sixsmith's history ends with Lenin and the Bolsheviks forcing through the final Revolution and paving the way for the Communist state. Eyewitness accounts and readings from Russian authors and historians, from Pushkin to Solzhenitsyn, enhance this fascinating account, as well as music taken from a wide range of Russian composers including Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Shostakovich.