My research interests lie in the history of the Soviet Union, with a particular emphasis on the social and cultural history of post-war Russia. My first book explored popular responses to the reforms of the Khrushchev era, in particular the massive exodus of prisoners from the Gulag. Khrushchev's Cold Summer: Gulag Returnees, Crime, and the Fate of Reform After Stalin examined the impact of these returnees on communities and, more broadly, Soviet attempts to come to terms with the traumatic legacies of Stalin's terror.
My current project explores the history of Baptist and Pentecostal communities in the Soviet Union. It draws on archival material and oral history interviews conducted as part of a AHRC-funded project entitled Protestants Behind The Iron Curtain: Religious Belief, Identity, And Narrative In Russia And Ukraine Since 1945. I have published a major document collection (with N. Beliakova) and four articles relating to this research: on the sensationalist depiction of evangelicals in the Soviet press; on interviews conducted with believers by social scientists; on the role of women in Protestant communities; and on pacifism and apocalyptic fears during the early Cold War. I am completing a monograph which is provisionally entitled Unorthodox Communities in the Cold War: Protestants, Secularisation, and Soviet Atheism, 1945-1985.
My current project focuses on a very specific group – evangelical Protestants – but continues to develop my earlier research interest in how individuals and communities related to the Soviet project.