Richard Pipes, who died today, was one of the most pre-eminent and controversial English-speaking historians of Russia. To his admirers, he was a trenchant and original historian with a broad vision. To his detractors, he was a Russophobe who propagated a distorted view of Russia’s past and who ignored the work of other historians which didn’t fit his prejudices. There is an element of truth to both points of view. What made Pipes a poor historian in some respects was also what made him a great one in others, and vice versa. For all his deficiencies, he was one of those who inspired me to take up Russian history professionally.