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First Name
Last Name
Tufts University
Website URL
Soviet Union; Eastern Bloc; Czechoslovakia; Cold War; Socialist Internationalism; Cultural Diplomacy; Russian Language; Global History
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Personal Info

About Me

I am a historian of the Soviet Union and communist Eastern Europe. My first boo, Empire of Friends: Soviet Power and Socialist Internationalism in Cold War Czechoslovakia, is forthcoming from Cornell University Press in 2019. The book examines how Soviet and Eastern Bloc officials sought to unify their diverse countries during the Cold War by promoting a policy of transnational “friendship” between their citizens in the realm of everyday life. It tells the story of the rise and fall of this friendship project through a social and cultural history of the Soviet Union’s relations with Czechoslovakia from the end of World War II until the collapse of communism. I focus on four aspects of Soviet-Czechoslovak friendship: cultural diplomacy, interpersonal relations, the trade of consumer goods, and the legacy of the Soviet Army’s liberation of Czechoslovakia at the end of the Second World War. I argue that ordinary citizens in the superpower and its satellite, by engaging in the friendship project, were integral to the construction of the international socialist system—and ultimately, its demise. The book is based on extensive archival research in Russia and the Czech Republic, as well as in Hungary and the United States.

I have also recently begun working on a second book project, on Russian as a world language during the Cold War. The book examines the export and reception of Russian as a foreign language in the three worlds of the Soviet imagination: the socialist, the capitalist, and the “developing.” In addition, it explores how Russian competed and clashed with simultaneous British and American efforts to promote English abroad. Finally, it investigates how foreign languages during the Cold War served as both tools of systemic competition, and as instruments to promote international understanding.

Recent Publications

Empire of Friends: Soviet Power and Socialist Internationalism in Cold War Czechoslovakia (under contract with Cornell University Press, expected publication date Spring 2019)

“The Friendship Project: Socialist Internationalism in the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia in the 1950s and 1960s.” Slavic Review, volume 74, number 3, 484–507 (Fall 2015)

 “A Test of Friendship: Soviet-Czechoslovak Tourism and the Prague Spring.” In The Socialist Sixties: Crossing Borders in the Second World, edited by Anne Gorsuch and Diane Koenker, 213–232. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Eastern Europe, Russia
Expertise by Chronology
Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic