About this day
For A-level and IB students
Here is an invaluable opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the fascinating world of Russian history. This exciting day will appeal to all A-level students studying Russian history, focusing on the period 1894 – 1953. World-class historians and outstanding speakers will present exciting and relevant talks to inspire, inform and entertain. Topics covered will range from the end of Romonov rule and the Revolutions to communist government under Lenin through to the Stalin era. An examination session providing first-hand guidance and insights to help boost students’ confidence and grades, will be delivered by Dr Robin Bunce of Homerton College, Cambridge, who will also chair the day.
Programme & speakers
Revolution, Civil War and the rise of Communism Robert Service, University of Oxford
Revolution in Russia in 1917 changed the course of twentieth-century history. This talk will explore this revolutionary period and deal with a range of important questions. Why did the Bolsheviks seize power? How much did their ideas contribute to their use of terror? What part did the Western powers play in enabling the Bolsheviks to survive? Were the Bolsheviks simply another variant of Russian autocracy? What was the importance of individuals such as Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin?
About Robert Service
Robert Service is Emeritus Professor of Russian History at St Anthony’s College, University of Oxford. His research interests cover Russian history from the late 19th century to the present day, with a particular focus on the period from the October Revolution to Stalin’s death. He has published widely, including biographies of Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky.
'NEP Be Damned!': The fate of the New Economic Policy Andy Willimott, University of Reading
Andy Willimott seeks to explain how the NEP years were a contradiction. While economic policy was conservative, it initiated more radicalism in the cultural sphere (hence the publication of Trotsky’s Problems of Everyday Life, focusing debate around the socialist lifestyle).
About Andy Willimott
Dr Andy Willimott is Lecturer in Modern Russia/Soviet History at the University of Reading. He has published on the social and cultural history of revolutionary Russia and the Soviet state. He has a particular interest in the formation and experience of radical ideology. His most recent book is Living the Revolution: Urban Communes & Soviet Socialism, 1917-1932.
The last Tsar: the reign of Nicholas II and the collapse of the Romanov dynasty Daniel Beer, Royal Holloway, University of London
In this talk, Daniel Beer will examine the autocracy’s failure to meet the challenges of modernisation and to adapt to the rise of mass politics. He will show how the revolutionary movement in 1905 was only contained but never defeated. Daniel will also explore how the First World War sealed the fate of the Tsarist regime.
About Daniel Beer
Daniel is Senior Lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of Renovating Russia and The House of the Dead, shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize.
British women visitors to Stalin’s Russia: from fellow traveller to Purge victim Jane McDermid, University of Southampton
Jane will examine the experiences and responses to travel in Stalin’s Russia during his imposed ‘revolution from above’. Most British visitors in the 1920s and 1930s were male and from a variety of backgrounds including MPs, trade unionists, academics and journalists . Some were committed communists but more were sympathetic non-communists termed ‘fellow travellers’ (or more pejoratively, Lenin’s ‘useful idiots’) who were courted by the Soviet authorities. Yet though fewer British women than men visited Soviet Russia, a significant number did. Some might be seen as critical friends, others victims of the terror and one infamous visitor embraced the Stalinist image of communists as ‘engineers of human souls’. This talk will examine the variety of experiences and responses to travel in Stalin’s Russia during his imposed ‘revolution from above’.
About Jane McDermid
Dr Jane McDermid is Emeritus Fellow in History at Southampton University, specialising in 19th and 20th century British and Russian history. Her areas of expertise focus on gender, war and revolution, and she is the author or co-author of a number of books, including Women and Work in Russia 1880-1930, Midwives of the Revolution and Revolutionary Women in Russia, 1870-1917.
Stalin: his dictatorship and legacy Martin McCauley, Historian
Was Stalin a psychopath? Why did he become the dominant lead by 1928? How did he keep control in the 1930’s? When was he his most dangerous? Martin will explore Stalin’s rise to power and the effect of his dictatorship on politics, society, security and the economy and the many lasting legacies left from his years in power.
About Martin McCauley
Martin is a British historian and former senior lecturer at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, at University College London. He is a regular commentator in the media on Russian affairs and has published widely, including on the Soviet Union and Stalin.