• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

HSE – An Ideal Choice for History Students

Samrat Sil, a student from Presidency University in Kolkata, India is currently studying on the Master’s programme in Applied and Interdisciplinary History at HSE St. Petersburg. The programme focuses on the analytical part of history and how it can be used and applied in our day to day life. It comprises a wide variety of crucial topics like memory, identity narratives and the use of sources in history and historiography. It also focuses on heritage and its relation to history and economy. The students are encouraged to develop their own research topics for their Master’s thesis.

In an interview with the HSE News Service, Samrat told us about his studies and the reasons why he would recommend every history student to take the opportunity to head to HSE St. Petersburg.

— Samrat, you are currently studying at HSE in St. Petersburg. Is Russia a popular destination among Indian students? Why did you decide to come to Russia?

— It's a very popular destination among Indian students, especially among medical students, but, as far as I know, I'm the first who came to St. Petersburg to study history. St. Petersburg is famous for its museums and historical sites, so if you’re a history student, this is the place to be!

— Tell us about your first impressions of St. Petersburg.

— This is my first time in Russia, as well as my first experience abroad. I’m thrilled to be here; the city and its architecture are amazing. I like to venture out and discover more about my surroundings, so I have already been to many places, like Kazan Cathedral, Isaac's cathedral and many Russian museums.

— How has your perception of Russia changed while being here?

— Back in India, people generally think that Russia is a cold place with cold people, but when I met them, my perception changed totally. They are open, warm and sociable. Russians are interested in the surrounding world and they love to show off their own culture, as well. As an Indian, I was fascinated to see Russian culture.

I also discovered that many Russians are interested in Indian culture, too. This has been such an amazing cultural experience. I have learnt something new every day, not only at the university, but also in everyday life.

The education process here is very engaging; you learn more about the basic concepts. My historical knowledge is increasing; I'm opening myself up to new topics and conversations

— Was it hard to adjust to a new culture and environment?

— Honestly, yes, it was. I don't really speak Russian, so it was hard to get used to the new conditions during my first few weeks. But once you overcome the language barrier, it becomes a lot easier.

— What do you like the most about your studies at HSE? How does the Russian higher education system differ from the Indian system?

— I love my studies at HSE. In Russia, I'm more engaged in the study process and student activities. In India we have a lot of lectures, after which we have to pass examinations. Studies in Russia are more interactive than in India; here we regularly have conversations, seminars and meetings, and the discussion often continues outside the classroom. Higher education in Russia is about learning from each other! 

— How did you hear about our university and the MA programme in history?

— I was looking for a university where I could do my Masters' degree, when I saw your site on the Internet, I discussed it with one of the professors in my school and he said that Russia is a place where you can learn more about history.

— Do you think that studying at HSE will boost your career prospects?

— Absolutely. The education process here is very engaging; you learn more about the basic concepts. My historical knowledge is increasing; I'm opening myself up to new topics and conversations.

— What advice would you give to any international students who want to study at HSE?

— Take the opportunity! You really must see St. Petersburg at least once in your lifetime. In addition, HSE offers brilliant courses. If you're a history student, HSE should be your number one destination!

— What are you going to do in the future? Could you, for example, see yourself working in Russia?

— I'm going to finish my Master’s degree studies and I'm also thinking about some research projects offered by HSE. I would also like to do an internship in a Russian museum.

I can see myself working in Russia in one or two years. Maybe at the Hermitage - that's my target!

Prepared by Ida Salomaa, CIMO Trainee at the Centre for International Cooperation, HSE St. Petersburg

 

See also:

Financial Front: The USSR State Budget during World War II

After June 1941, the Soviet budget was no longer the same. Marking the end of peaceful life, budget revenues dwindled, and the Treasury was drained of billions of rubles. But because the war required money, the government had to find it from somewhere. Oleg Khlevnyuk, Professor at the HSE University’s School of History, examines the Soviet Union’s wartime and post-war financial policies in his paper.

Slut-Shaming by Lend-Lease

Russian women who associated with Soviet allies during World War II were subjected to unusually harsh persecution. This was especially true in the north of the country that saw the arrival of thousands of U.S. and British sailors. For having contact with these foreigners, Soviet women received the same severe punishment meted out to Nazi collaborators: charges of treason and 10 years in a forced labour camp. HSE Associate Professor Liudmila Novikova studied how and why this policy shaped their destinies.

Studying Cultural History of Ethnic Minorities in the USSR

Isabelle R. Kaplan, a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences, talks about her research on non-Slavic minorities in the Soviet Union in an interview to the HSE Look.

Scarcity Trauma: Why Russia in the 1990s Was not Nostalgic about Soviet Life

In 2001, ten years after the launch of reforms in Russia, 54% of Russians  believed  the main achievement of the reforms was the availability of consumer goods, rather than freedom of speech or the possibility of travelling  abroad. A decade later, public attitudes had not changed, and the availability of goods on store shelves was still perceived as the number one priority. The massive trauma caused by scarcity was particularly strong. How it was addressed and in what way it influenced public attitudes after the USSR collapse is examined in a study  by HSE professor Oleg Khlevnyuk.

Underground Capitalist in Soviet Russia

Nikolai Pavlenko, a shadow entrepreneur and creator of a successful business in Stalin’s USSR, was executed by firing squad in 1955. Running a successful commercial enterprise right under the dictator’s nose in a strictly planned economy was a striking but not so uncommon case in the Soviet Union at the time, according to HSE professor Oleg Khlevniuk who made a number of unexpected findings having studied newly accessible archival documents. Below, IQ.HSE offers a summary of what his study reveals.

From Chains to Art Therapy: The Evolution of Mental Health Care

Mental health disorders are among the leading worldwide causes of disease and long-term disability. This issue has a long and painful history of gradual de-stigmatization of patients, coinciding with humanization of therapeutic approaches. What are the current trends in Russia regarding this issue and in what ways is it similar to and different from Western countries? IQ.HSE provides an overview of this problem based on research carried out by Svetlana Kolpakova.

Introduction to Daurian Gothic: What It Is and How It Has Emerged in Transbaikalia

Medieval horror, vampires, sorcerers, mysterious monks and the rising dead, alongside real historical figures and stories about the Russian Civil War wrapped in the aura of mysticism – this is perhaps the shortest formula for Daurian Gothic. Alexei Mikhalev, Doctor of Political Science, discusses this phenomenon and its evolution.

Russian and French Scholars Present Research on Soviet History at Graduate Seminar

The International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and its Consequences at HSE University held a Graduate Student Seminar in Soviet History together with Sciences Po (France) on June 17 – 18, 2019. HSE News Service spoke with participants and instructors of the seminar, which examinedthe impact of WWII on the Soviet Union and surrounding regions, as well as aspects of the Soviet system from Stalin up to the 1980s.

In Search of Truth in the Pravda Newspaper

On June 24-25, HSE University held the international academic conference, ‘The 1990s: A Social History of Russia’ organized by International Center for the History and Sociology of World World War II and its Consequences, the Boris Yeltsin Center, the Egor Gaider Foundation, and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. HSE News Service spoke with Roberto Rabbia, one of the international participants, about how he became interested in Soviet history, why he reads Soviet newspapers, and what he has learned from his research.

HSE History Professor Feels at Home in Moscow’s Multicultural Environment

Martin Beisswenger has been a professor in HSE’s School of History since 2013. Recently, HSE News Service sat down with him to learn about his impressions of Moscow, his research projects, the course he is currently teaching and more.