Date & time

Wed, 2 Dec 2020
9:45 - 14:45



Bookings closed

Bookings are now closed for this past event.

About this day

For A-level and IB students

This illuminating and highly informative day will feature a stimulating series of talks delivered by world-class historians. Guaranteed to inform and enthuse, the presentations will focus on the period 1894–1964, journeying from the end of Romanov rule, through the Revolutions and Communist government under Lenin and arriving in the Stalinist 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, University of Cambridge, who will also chair the day.

Programme & speakers

Rethinking Lenin as Revolutionary and Statesman Lara Douds, Northumbria University

Liberator or tyrant? Ideologist or pragmatist? Few historical figures have been so influential in shaping the course of history, but did the outcomes of the October Revolution reflect Lenin’s aspirations? This talk explores the contrasting historiography and offers new findings on Lenin’s role of leader of the Bolshevik Party and architect of the Soviet state.

Lara Douds

About Dr Lara Douds

Dr Lara Douds is Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow in Russian History at Northumbria University. She is a specialist in the history of state building, political practice, and political culture in the first decade of Soviet power and author, among other things, of Inside Lenin’s Government: Power, Ideology and Practice in the Early Soviet State (2018).

How Khrushchev dismantled Stalinism...and how he didn't Polly Jones, University of Oxford

In his decade in power, Khrushchev swung repeatedly between attacking and defending Stalin and Stalinism. In addition to analysing these shifts in memory politics, and the reasons behind them, this lecture will also consider the broader continuities and changes between Stalinism and the post-Stalinist Soviet project, in terms of the economy, political system and the everyday life of Soviet citizens.

Polly Jones

About Professor Polly Jones

Polly Jones is Professor in Russian at University College, Oxford. She is the author and editor of several books on Soviet cultural history and politics, including Revolution Rekindled. The Writers and Readers of Late Soviet Biography and Myth, Memory, Trauma: Rethinking the Stalinist Past in the Soviet Union, 1953-70. Professor Jones appears regularly on radio and TV to talk about Russian culture and history, and was consultant to Armando Iannucci’s film ‘The Death of Stalin’.


Was Stalin a Revolutionary? Christopher Read, University of Warwick

Professor Read will examine the question of what motivated Stalin in his transformation of the USSR. The nature of the political, economic, social and cultural revolutions will be considered. The international context will also be taken into account as a key element.

Christopher Read

About Professor Christopher Read

Christopher Read is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Warwick, specialising in twentieth century Russian history. He has published widely and his most recent book is Stalin: From the Caucasus to the Kremlin.

"NEP Be Damned!”: Revolution and the New Economic Policy Andy Willimott, QMUL

How did revolution play out in the NEP-era?  After victory in the Russian Civil War, the Bolsheviks set about remaking Russian society in the 1920s. They enacted policies that revolutionised law, economics, culture, art and education. This lecture will assess what happened when revolutionary dreams met the economic realities of the Soviet 1920s

Andy Willimott

About Dr Andy Willimott

Dr Andy Willimott is a Senior Lecturer in Modern Russian History at Queen Mary University of London. His research interests include the Russian Revolution in global context and the Soviet urban environment and everyday life.

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.

George Gilbert

About Dr 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.