I studied history at the University of Liverpool, and then completed an MA in Politics, Security and Integration at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL.
My research interests are in Soviet domestic intelligence and Soviet cultural and social history.
My thesis concentrates on the NKVD and the repression of writers in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. In many western histories of the Soviet intelligence apparatus, the NKVD of the 1930s is still characterized as ‘all-powerful’, ‘disciplined’, ‘sophisticated’ or ‘deadly’. Through my research I hope to establish whether it is possible to find an alternative image of the NKVD: one that shows us an organisation made up of individuals, which although undoubtedly capable of mass terror, may also have been prone to confusion, to contradictory behaviour, and compromise.
My focus on the repression of writers stems from the central role that culture and especially writing took in the 1930s. It also allows me to examine the systems and structures of the NKVD, how decisions were taken, and some of the broader context of the Soviet society in which they operated. Through establishing whether mistakes were made in this decade, I hope to establish a more accurate picture of the NKVD.