Author Archives: Miriam Dobson

Baptists and repression – one oral history account

In my first blog about the oral history interviews conducted as part of my study of Protestant life in the USSR I wrote about the life of Z. who was born in 1925 on the outskirts of Moscow. She came … Continue reading

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Win a beautiful book of posters – we have a winner!

Last month I wrote about a great new collection of posters by the Soviet artist Koretsky. The publisher, The New Press, very kindly offered a free copy to be won in a prize draw. On the blog / facebook page … Continue reading

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Win a beautiful book of posters!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by The New Press and offered a copy of their new publication, Koretsky. The Soviet Photo Poster: 1930-1984, for a prize draw to be launched from this site.  This beautiful edition includes 200 … Continue reading

Posted in Russian and Soviet Art, Soviet Era 1917-1991, Teaching Russian History, Uncategorized | 26 Comments

Child of the Cold War

Like most people studying Russian history, I’m sure, I’ve been asked many times what drew me to the subject in the first place. I give different answers depending on my mood and the person asking. They include: TV coverage of … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, Historiography | 3 Comments

Soviet Baby Boomers – locality, gender, and class

I teach an MA class which explores Soviet identity from Stalin to Gorbachev in a whistle-stop tour over five weeks. Not all students have studied Russian history before which can sometimes make it challenging, but it does ensure that a … Continue reading

Posted in Soviet Baby Boomers, Soviet Era 1917-1991, Soviet Intelligentsia | 1 Comment

Soviet Baby Boomers – preliminary thoughts

I am happy to launch the fourth “blog conversation” which will be about Donald Raleigh’s recent Soviet Baby Boomers. His excavation of late Soviet society through the medium of oral history is highly readable and I will be recommending it strongly … Continue reading

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The meaning of 1991: Some thoughts on oral history

“Could you explain in what ways life before and after 1991 was different?” I asked. My interviewee, Z. did not immediately understand my question, even when reformulated in clearer Russian by a native colleague. The question seemed alien to her. … Continue reading

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Research Guide to Moscow

Two researchers here at Sheffield (Alun Thomas & Oliver Johnson) are designing a guide to help historians arriving in Moscow for the first time. They’ve created a map indicating key landmarks: archives and libraries, but also cafes, art galleries, theatres etc. … Continue reading

Posted in Archives, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Death and Redemption – a newspaper article and some thoughts on release

It’s  been pointed out that the translated newspaper article I pasted into a comment at the bottom of a long discussion might go unnoticed, and – given it might be useful to others teaching on the Gulag – I thought I’d add it … Continue reading

Posted in Blog Conversations, Death and Redemption, Gulag | 1 Comment

Death and Redemption

Over the past eighteen months I have come to realise that I’m not an ideal blogger in the sense that I’m not always very good at checking the internet! I’ve been busily writing my first thoughts about Death and Redemption … Continue reading

Posted in Death and Redemption, Gulag | 3 Comments

The Time of Women

Over the weekend I read, and greatly enjoyed, the recent translation of Elena Chizhova’s The Time of Women which won the Russian Booker Prize in 2009.  Set in the early 1960s, the short novel tells the story of a “family” struggling … Continue reading

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Aleshka the Baptist

This short blog is just to share what was – for me at least! –  a fascinating intersection of different research interests. A number of years ago, when I was researching my PhD on the impact of de-Stalinisation, I worked with … Continue reading

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A guard’s perspective: Dovlatov’s Zona

After a slightly longer blogging ‘vacation’ than I had intended, I used some of the Christmas break to catch up on the posts I missed. Like many others, I particularly enjoyed the Gulag Boss discussion. It motivated me to start … Continue reading

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Forgive me, Natasha and Sergei!

In my first blog I wrote about the film The Way Back and the question of authenticity in memoirs. In the one of the responses which followed, I was directed towards Forgive Me, Natasha by Sergei Kourdakov. At first glance, … Continue reading

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Cartier-Bresson in Moscow

Over the Easter weekend, I was reading The Guardian and came across a full-page photograph taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson on a visit to the Soviet Union in 1954. This stunning photograph was used the following year as the front cover … Continue reading

Posted in Digital Russian History, Nostalgia and Memory, Soviet Era 1917-1991, Teaching Russian History, Uncategorized | 11 Comments

This is just a short blog to point any interested readers to the interview I recorded with Sean Guillory for his recently launched New Books in Russian Studies.  I was pleased that my Khrushchev’s Cold Summer could still count as a new book, even … Continue reading

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Images of Peace and Nuclear War

In the autumn I attended a conference on “Unthinking the Imaginary War: Intellectual Reflections of the Nuclear Age, 1945-1990” in London. The very same weekend another cohort of academics were attending a conference on “Accidental Armageddons: The Nuclear Crisis and … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, Soviet Era 1917-1991 | 4 Comments

The Way Back: Cold War Emotions Revived?

  Just before Christmas I saw the newly released The Way Back, in many ways a typical escape story. Directed by Peter Weir, the film tells the incredible story of how a young Polish officer, arrested in 1939 and sent … Continue reading

Posted in Films, Gulag, Soviet Era 1917-1991 | 6 Comments