Soviet Union Events

Bursting the Plutonium Bubble: How Utopian Communities Made Dystopian Nuclear Landscapes

May 18, 2015 // 4:00pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
Historian Kate Brown draws on official records and dozens of interviews to tell the extraordinary stories of Richland, Washington and Ozersk, Russia – the first two cities in the world to produce plutonium. To contain secrets, American and Soviet leaders created plutopias – communities of nuclear families living in highly-subsidized, limited-access atomic cities. Brown shows that the plants' segregation of permanent and temporary workers and of nuclear and non-nuclear zones created a bubble of immunity, where dumps and accidents were glossed over and plant managers freely embezzled and polluted.

Remembering WWII: the 70th Anniversary of Victory

April 20, 2015 // 3:00pm6:00pm
Kennan Institute
May 2015 marks 70 years since the momentous victory of the allied forces in Europe. Victory was achieved only through enormous sacrifice and global cooperation amongst the allies. The Kennan Institute hosted a panel discussion of U.S.-Soviet partnership during the war. The panel was followed by a reception, sponsored by the Russian Embassy, to launch a month-long exhibit of archival photos that chronicle the U.S.-Soviet war effort.

Book Talk: "Gulag Town, Company Town Forced Labor and Its Legacy in Vorkuta"

March 25, 2015 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Kennan Institute
What was the relationship between the Gulag and Soviet society? What was the legacy of Stalin's massive system of forced labor? This talk explored answers to these questions using the case of Vorkuta, one of the Soviet Union's most notorious prison camp complexes.

“Legacy of Soviet Dissent for Russia's Post-Soviet Generations”

February 24, 2015 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Kennan Institute
Many young Russians, whether politically active or indifferent, know little about the dissidents of the Soviet era. They don’t understand what motivated people of the time to speak out, why some dissidents decided to leave the country, or what was the significance of samizdat, the “self-published” writings and poetry that people passed around in secret at the time. The Voice of America launched a documentary series in 2013 featuring interviews, documents, and narration to tell the stories from this part of Russian history.

Forecasting Nuclear War: Stasi/KGB Intelligence Cooperation under Project RYaN

December 01, 2014 // 1:00pm2:30pm
Cold War International History Project
Join us for a discussion with Bernd Schaefer, Nate Jones, and Benjamin Fischer on the unprecedented significance of newly translated documents detailing Soviet KGB and Easter German Stasi cooperation under Project RYaN, a system for detecting signs of an impending western nuclear first strike.

Empowering Revolution: America, Poland, and the Moderates who Ended the Cold War

October 20, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
Based on significant new international research, Domber reassesses the nature of Western influence on the end of the Cold War, highlighting where Soviet reforms created space for change in Eastern Europe and rejecting claims of any direct U.S. responsibility for the collapse of Communism.

"The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union"

October 03, 2014 // 10:00am11:30am
Kennan Institute
Serhii Plokhii presented his latest book, "The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union." Using recently declassified documents and original interviews, Plokhii examines the events leading up to the collapse of the Soviet Union. He reveals that it was largely inter-republic disunity and not American influence that led to the surprising dissolution of one of the world's two superpowers. Plokhii provides new insight into the events leading up to 1991, which continue to reverberate to the present day.

The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book

September 08, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
In The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book, Peter Finn and Petra Couvée bring readers intimately close to the charming, passionate, and complex artist that was Boris Pasternak. First to obtain CIA files providing concrete proof of the agency’s involvement, the authors give us a literary thriller that takes us back to a fascinating period of the Cold War—to a time when literature had the power to stir the world.

Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State

June 27, 2014 // 3:30pm5:00pm
Kennan Institute
The prevalence of drunkenness in Russia is often dismissed as cliché— a cultural quirk of little political significance. But just as vodka plays a central role in Russian society, so too is it central to understanding Russian history and politics.

Great Powers, Small Wars: Asymmetric Conflict since 1945

May 13, 2014 // 10:00am11:30am
Kennan Institute
In a sophisticated combination of quantitative research and two in-depth case studies, Larisa Deriglazova surveys armed conflicts post–World War II in which one power is much stronger than the other. She then focuses on the experiences of British decolonization after World War II and the United States in the 2003 Iraq war. Great Powers, Small Wars employs several large databases to identify basic characteristics and variables of wars between enemies of disproportionate power. Case studies examine the economics, domestic politics, and international factors that ultimately shaped military events more than military capacity and strategy.

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