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Forced Trust: Emotional Bonds between People and State in Soviet Russia (1917-1991), A History of Trust and Mistrust

Final Report Summary - FORCEDTRUST (Forced Trust: Emotional Bonds between People and State in Soviet Russia (1917-1991), A History of Trust and Mistrust)

The Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship for Career Development was crucial experience in terms of training in research and academic management, networking and knowledge transfer. The Fellow has achieved important goals:

1. Publications:

During the fellowship the researcher has published two peer-reviewed articles in leading journals in the field of Russian/Soviet studies:

a) Tikhomirov A. (2013): The Regime of Forced Trust: Making and Breaking of Emotional Bonds Between People and State in Soviet Russia, 1917-1941, in: The Slavonic and East European Review, Special Issue “Trust and Distrust in the USSR”, Vol. 91, No. 1 (January 2013), 78-118.

b) Tikhomirov A. (2012): Symbols of Power in Rituals of Violence: The Personality Cult and Iconoclasm on the Soviet Empire’s Periphery (East Germany, 1945-61), in: Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, Vol. 13, No.1 (Winter 2012), 47-88.

He has completed his first monograph “Luchshii drug nemetskogo naroda”: kul’t Stalina v Vostochnoi Germanii (1945-1961 gg.) [“The Best Friend of the German People”: The Stalin Cult in East Germany, 1945-1961] based on PhD-Thesis, which will be published by ROSSPEN in a prestigious series “History of Stalinism” in due course.

He is currently working on two articles:
a) Tikhomirov A., Care, Sensitivity and Trust: the Paradox of Stability of the Soviet Political Order in Brezhnev’s Russia, for: Cahiers du Monde russe.
b) The Russian translation of The Regime of Forced Trust: Making and Breaking of Emotional Bonds Between People and State in Soviet Russia, 1917-1941 for the peer-reviewed journal “Neprikosnovennii Zapas”, to be published in January 2014.

2. Research:

The fellow has started his proposed project and focused the chronological framework from 1917 to 1941. First, he worked with the theoretical literature on trust and distrust from a multidisciplinary perspective (social and political sciences, psychology). Second, he read literature on Soviet history and deepened his expertise in the history of trust/distrust with deep roots in early Modern European history. Third, he collected and analysed published sources (published collections of letters of ordinary people to Soviet authorities, newspapers – “Pravda” and “Izvestia”, published collections of party documents, propaganda literature on trust and letter writing published in the Soviet Union). All three research steps were done in the first-class library of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL.

Moreover, the researcher travelled twice to Russia and collected original (non-published) sources from Russian central and regional archives. Letters of Soviet citizens to state and party leaders were collected from the Russian State Archive of Contemporary History (RGANI), the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History (RGASPI), the State Archive of Russian Federation (GARF) and the Yaroslavl’ Party Archive.

As a result, the fellow has written two chapters of his future book on the history of trust and distrust taking Soviet Russia as a case study.

Monthly, the fellow met the scientist in charge to discuss research progress. Also emeritus Professor Geoffrey Hosking and Professor Alena Ledeneva provided help and advice at different stages of the project. The friendly, collegial and supportive climate in SSEES has helped the fellow to integrate very well into the UCL academic community and provided exchange of views from multiple interdisciplinary perspectives.


3. Academic management

The researcher organized an interdisciplinary panel “At the boundary of trust and distrust: the shifting of normality and deviance in Soviet Russia” at the ASSEES Annual Convention in New Orleans, 15-18 November 2012.

Dr. Tikhomirov organized a peer-reviewed international conference “Trust and Distrust in The Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union, 1956-1991” at UCL (4-5 July 2013). He was successful in securing funding for this academic event (£5000 from UCL Grand Challenges of Intercultural Interaction and £3000 from SSEES conference grant). Thanks for organizing this conference, the fellow established international contacts with scholars from Central and Eastern Europe. He is going to publish the conference proceedings with a leading publishing house (a proposal was submitted to the Indiana University Press, Series “Indiana-Michigan Series in Russian and East European Studies”).

He became a member of two important, international professional organisations - the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) and the British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES), a crucial step to improve knowledge transfer, networking and integration into the world-wide academic community.