Olga Velikanova | Department of History

Olga Velikanova

WH 237

I am an historian of Russia and I teach classes about the country from ancient times to Putin. Russian by origin and a witness of socialism and its collapse in the USSR, I use the firsthand experience of national culture and policies in my classes and innovative teaching instruments. I was lucky to make two important discoveries in my professional life. Starting as an archeologist, I unearthed a unique treasure from the 6-10 century, which is on display in the Hermitage museum now. Then in 1991 I discovered in the newly opened Soviet archives the huge complex of the declassified Communist party and security police documentation relating to secret surveillance of the population. It defined my academic interests in Soviet popular opinion studies and state policies of social mobilization and surveillance. My thirty years of work in the Russian archives resulted in five books and numerous articles published in seven languages. I have been a recipient of twelve awards from different international research foundations and before landing at UNT I worked in Russia, Germany, France, Italy and Canada. My research about everyday Stalinism, the cult of Lenin, and mass political culture in the USSR has been broadcast by the BBC, Finnish and Russian radio and TV, as well as the History Channel.

UNT Faculty Profile

Select publications:


Mass Political Culture under Stalinism: Popular Discussion of the Soviet Constitution of 1936, Palgrave MacMillan, 2018, 275 pp. https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9783319784427

Popular Perception of Soviet Politics in the 1920s. Disenchantment of the Dreamers. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, 280 pp. (also published in Russian language) https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781137030740 280 pp.

The Public Perception of the Cult of Lenin Based on the Archival Materials. The Edwin Mellen Press, 2001, 284 pp. (in Russian) http://www.amazon.com/Perception-Archival-Materials-Studies-Russian/dp/0773473718 https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501442/

Articles and Chapters:

The Myth of the "Besieged Fortress". Soviet Mass Perception in the 1920s-1930s. Toronto: Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Toronto, Munk Centre for International Studies, 2002. 33 pp. (in English) http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc174713/

"Stalin's Moderation and the Turn to Repression. Utopianism and Realpolitik in the Mid-1930s" in The Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution: Illiberal Liberation, 1917-1941. James Harris, Peter Whitewood and Lara Douds (eds.), Bloomsbury Academic, 2019 https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-fate-of-the-bolshevik-revolution-9781350117907/

"Soviet Practices of Secret Surveillance" in Alexey Tikhomirov. Kirill Postoutenko and Dmitri Zakharine (eds.) Media and Communication from Lenin to Stalin (1917-1941): General Perspective, Palgrave 2019 (forthcoming)

"The First Stalin Mass Operation in 1927," The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review, 40.1 April 2013, pp. 64-89. https://www.academia.edu/18047328/The_First_Stalin_Mass_Operation_1927_

"Aftermath of the Famine: 1922-1923," in: Hunger and Scarcity under State-Socialism, eds. Mathias Middell and Felix Wemheuer, Leipziger Universitatsverlag, Germany, 2012, pp. 83-114. (in English) https://independent.academia.edu/Velikanova/Papers

"The Peasant Union Movement: The Quest for the Political Organization of Peasants in the Soviet Union in the 1920s," in: Jahrbuch fur Historische Kommunismusforshung, (Yearbook for Historical Communist Studies), Berlin, Aufbau-Verlag, 2007 pp. 91-117. (in English) http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc181691/m1/4/?q=velikanova

O.Welikanowa "Berichte zur Stimmungslage. Zur den Quellen politischer Beobachtung der Bevolkerung in der Sowjetunion" (Secret Police reports on Public Moods in the USSR as a Historical Source) in: Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas 47,1999, H 2, p.227-243. (in German) https://www.academia.edu/7079525/Berichte_zur_Stimmungslage._Zur_den_Quellen_politischer_Beobachtung_der_Bevolkerung_in_der_Sowjetunion_1999

Select Awards:

Award for Excellence for Teaching from Dalhousie University, Canada, 2007

International Grants and Research Fellowships from

European University Institute, Florence, Italy;

International Research and Exchanges Board, USA;

Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Germany;

Foundation Maison des Sciences de l´Homme, Paris, France;

Volkswagen-Stiftung, Germany;

Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung, Germany;

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

and other foundations.