HSE Academic Wins Prize of Dinasty Foundation
Stalin: Zhizn odnovo vozhdya or Stalin: New Biography of A Dictator by Oleg Khlevniuk, Leading Research Fellow at the International Centre for the History and Sociology of WWII and Its Consequences, has won the Prosvetitel [Enlightener] 2015 Prize for Biography.
‘This book will be of no interest to the authors of Inoi Stalin - The Other Stalin, Podlye mify o Staline - Sordid Myths about Stalin, Stalin Veliki - Stalin the Great, Rossiya za Stalina - Russia for Stalin, Nastolnaya kniga Stalinista - The Stalinist’s Handbook, Ubistva Stalina - The Murder of Stalinand other similar works and their readers,’ warns Oleg Klevniuk in his foreword. ‘I wrote this for people like me, who want to understand Stalin and his era and the nature and logic of the Soviet dictator’s actions which have had such an enormous influence over our country’s development.’
Khlevniuk explains that his book is ‘the result of a long study of the 1920s-1950s period in Soviet history - the Stalin years’. In an interview with the website postnauka he said, ‘Like other historians, when I looked at the history of institutions and the history of major events the question kept arising, how did happen? Why was it like this and not otherwise? The documents often presented an irrefutable answer, because Stalin decided it would be so.’ The logic of my work led me to examine the dictator’s personality, to try to understand what kind of person Stalin was, how he was formed as a politician and won undivided power, what role he played in the destinies of the country, how his view of the world, his interests, preferences and prejudices influenced politics on a grand scale. In general, if you want to learn about what we call the subjective factor, write a biography of the country’s leader.’
The author based his work entirely on verified sources, including archives - from original copies of speeches and Stalin’s own writings, to his correspondence with Politbureau members and registers of visitors to his office in the Kremlin.
Klevniuk’s book is published in English by Yale University Press under the title Stalin: New Biography of a Dictator.
Today, we have moved from the political concept of panem et circenses (bread and circuses) to keep the masses happy to the dangers of culture driven by spectacle and politics driven by algorithms. Post-war theoreticians of the crowd had personal experience of fascism, and today contemporary artists are attempting to address similar problems. During the XX April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development, scheduled this year for April 9-12 at the Higher School of Economics, Sarah Wilson, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, will explore some of these issues in her presentation 'Culture and Emigration, Crowds and Power.'
Legally, the 1917 revolution solved the gender issue in the Russian academic community. The doors to the profession opened for women, but a ‘glass ceiling’ remained. Ekaterina Streltsova and Evgenia Dolgova studied who it affected and why. This study is the first to present a socio-demographic analysis of the female academic community in Moscow and Leningrad during the early Soviet era.
Dr Anna Whittington is currently a Research Fellow at The International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences through the end of August 2019. She recently spoke with the HSE News Service about her work on changes in Soviet-era language policy, her thoughts on life in Moscow and how the city has changed, and much more.
Exploring Political and Cultural Space of St Petersburg through the Summer School 'Topography of Imperial Power'
On a grey autumn day, it is always nice to warm up by reliving memories of summer adventures. This year, the balmy weather did not leave our city till mid-October, and a summer mood also lingered at HSE University – St Petersburg with the IV International Summer School 'The Topography of Imperial Power: Political and Cultural Space of Saint Petersburg' which ran from September 11 till October 2, 2018.
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and HSE University – St Petersburg launch the Paulsen Programme, funded by the Dr Frederik Paulsen Foundation, in order to support historians in Russia who have been working on the period from the mid 17th century to 1918.
Alexandra Kolesnik, Junior Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer at HSE’s Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities recently completed her post graduate studies in History and successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled ‘Historical representations in British popular musical culture of the 1960-1980s’. Here, Alexandra talks about her research into modern pop-culture.
Jessica Werneke, who completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa and her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, joined the International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and its Consequences as a Research Fellow in 2016. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, she has spent a considerable amount of time living internationally – in both the UK and Latvia – and following her post-doc plans to start a new position as a Newton International Fellow of the British Academy at Loughborough University, where she will continue her research on Soviet photography clubs and amateur photographers in the RSFSR and the Baltic Republics.
The October Revolution created a new cinema. At first, 'the most important of all arts' struggled to keep up with social transformations and was not yet used as a weapon in the fight for a communist culture. But the mid-1920s, an innovative, cutting-edge film industry had emerged from sources such as theatre, street performance, posters, poetry and circus shows. This industry was able to do what the politicians had failed to achieve, namely trigger a world revolution.
On October 11, Professor Dominic Lieven of the University of Cambridge, where he serves as Senior Research Fellow, Trinity College, gave a public lecture at HSE St Petersburg entitled ‘Reflections on empire, Russia and historical comparison’. The event was organized by the Center for Historical Research.
A hundred years has passed since the October Revolution of 1917, but this event still hasn’t reached its logical conclusion. Its consequences are still crucial in defining the political system in Russia today and fostering divisions in society, believes Andrey Medushevsky, Professor at the HSE Faculty of Social Sciences, political scientist, historian and author of the book A Political History of the Russian Revolution: Norms, Institutions and Forms of Social Mobilization in the 20th Century.