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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Almost 40 teams took part in the ‘Through the pages of Basmania’ quest, organized by the Higher School of Economics as part of an annual citywide event, Library Night. Event participants also staged passages from Romeo and Juliet and attended lectures about theatre at HSE library.
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.