About this day
For A-level and IB students
An invaluable opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the fascinating world of Russian history
This popular and exciting day will appeal to all A-level students studying Russian history, with a focus on the period 1894 – 1964. World-class historians and outstanding communicators will present stimulating and relevant talks which are sure to inspire, inform and entertain. Topics will cover the end of Romonov rule and the Revolutions to communist government under Lenin through to the Stalin era. This year we are delighted to announce that the day will also feature a session on Khrushchev, exploring reform and de-Stalinisation. The day will include an examination session providing first-hand guidance and insights to help boost students’ confidence and grades. Dr Robin Bunce from the University of Cambridge will chair the day.
Programme & speakers
Khrushchev, Reform and De-Stalinisation Richard Sakwa, University of Kent
In his decade of rule between Stalin’s death in March 1953 and his ouster in October 1964, Nikita Khrushchev grappled with the legacy of Lenin and Stalin, and sought to transform the Soviet Union into a dynamic, modernising society that could compete with the West. He believed that the Soviet Union could create what is called an ‘alternative modernity’, fulfilling the potential of Western modernity but without its alleged downsides, above all capitalist exploitation. This was a vision of ‘reform socialism’, and it was an agenda to which Mikhail Gorbachev returned during perestroika in the late 1980s. In the event, Khrushchev failed to devise an adequate programme of reform, and the Stalin question remains unanswered.
About Richard Sakwa
Professor Richard Sakwa is Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent and an Associate Fellow at Chatham House. He has published widely.
The Russian Revolutions of 1917 George Gilbert, University of Southampton
This talk will look back at the year 1917 in Russia. It will consider the impact of the Great War (1914-17) in Russia and then summarise the events of the revolutionary year, considering how the Bolsheviks were adept at sloganizing the people’s concerns (e.g., the April Theses’ calls for peace, land and bread). It will then briefly look at the Civil War period, and consider why commemoration of the centenary of 1917 was downplayed in contemporary Russia.
About George Gilbert
Dr George Gilbert is a Lecturer in Modern Russian History at the University of Southampton. He specialises in modern European and world history, specifically of Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union.
Russia in 1913: On the road to reform or revolution? Jennifer Keating, Institute of Historical Research
This session takes a snapshot of Russia in 1913, on the eve of the First World War, examining the traditional question of whether Russia was modernising and reforming by this point, or was in fact already close to revolution?
About Jennifer Keating
Dr Jennifer Keating is Past & Present Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research. She works on the Russian empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Her research interests lie in the social and environmental history of the late imperial and early Soviet state.
The "Russian" Civil Wars, 1916-1926 Jonathan Smele, Queen Mary University of London
This talk will examine the series of overlapping conflicts that spread across and beyond the Russian Empire before during and after the revolutions of 1917. These civil wars involved political forces (Reds, Whites, Greens and anarchist Blacks), social movements (peasant wars and worker protests) and national and religious forces, as well as foreign intervention by both the Central Powers and the Allies. It will conclude with a discussion of the reverberations of these conflicts that can still be felt in the contemporary world.
About Jonathan Smele
Dr Jonathan Smele is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at Queen Mary University of London and a specialist in the history of the Russian revolutions and civil wars. He is a long-standing member of the Study Group on the Russian Revolution and edited its journal, Revolutionary Russia, for a decade (2002–12).
Stalin: Revolutionary or Revolution's Traitor? Vladislav Zubok, London School of Economics
Professor Zubok will explore the essence of the Stalnist era in broad brushes, including political, economic, and international issues. He will touch on the importance of culture and propaganda and discuss how the Second World War ended up consolidating Stalin’s power.
About Vladislav Zubok
Vladislav Zubok is professor of international history at the London School of Economics, with expertise on the Cold War, the Soviet Union, Stalinism, and Russia’s intellectual history in the 20th century.