Wilson Center Experts
Elizabeth A. Wood
Elizabeth A. Wood is Professor of Russian and Soviet History at MIT. She has published two monographs in Soviet History, The Baba and the Comrade: Gender and Politics in Revolutionary Russia (Indiana University Press, 1997) and Performing Justice: Agitation Trials in Early Soviet Russia (Cornell University Press, 2005). At MIT serves as co-director of the MIT-Russia Program, coordinator of Russian Studies, and adviser to the Russian Language Program, as well as teaching Russian, Soviet, and post-Soviet Russian history and politics. Nationally, she serves as vice-chair of the board of NCEEER. Her current work centers on the performance of power under Vladimir Putin in Russia today.
Russia today is in the grip of an onslaught of domestic legislation that is nationalist and extremely conservative, even as the Kremlin struggles with the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Laws against homosexuality, foreign adoptions, offenses against believers, offshore holdings and bank accounts, even criticism of the Soviet Red Army in World War II have all been passed in a blizzard of claims that these are what “the people” want. Professor Elizabeth Wood’s monograph, “Power and Performance in Putin’s Russia,” explores the build-up of the Russian President’s control of the political sphere in the years 1999-2008, his continued exertion of his authority during the Medvedev years and the protests against his return to power, as well as the new post-2012 development of a conservative, expansionist ideology. It culminates in an exploration of the political theater in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine in 2014 and Moscow’s role in supporting the separatists.