Vladislav M. Zubok, Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Specialist in Cold War and Soviet-Russian history, director of Russia global affairs programme at the LSE IDEAS, and head of Europe-Russia-Ukraine group in the LSE-Hertie School Dahrendorf Project. The list of publications include Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev with C. Pleshakov (Harvard University Press, 1996), A Failed Empire: the Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev (University of North Carolina Press, 2007), and Zhivago’s Children: The Last Russian Intelligentsia (Belknap Press, 2009). Currently finished the book manuscript “Patriotism of Pity” about life of the 20th century Russian intellectual Dmitry Likhachev

Project Summary

The proposal is to write a book on the destruction of the Soviet Union by the people and policies from Moscow. The project is based on a wealth of new Russian and international sources. The book goes beyond teh familiar narrative about the struggle between Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin and on the role of the August 1991 coup.  The explores the factors (previously understudied) that conditioned Gorbachev’s failure and Yeltsin’s phenomenal success. These factors are: the “anti-totalitarian” rebellion of the Moscow intelligentsia; the rise of new parliamentary elites and splits in the old bureaucratic class; financial implosion; the constitutional reform and constitutional crisis; the struggle for Soviet property; and the search for leadership that could take responsibility for radical economic reforms. I reconsider the role of the West in the demise of the Soviet Union. While rejecting triumphalist interpretations, the book  demonstrates considerable Western involvement, especially below the government, on the level of IGOs and NGOs.
The book also seeks to elucidate the long-term consequences of the Soviet collapse, including its calamitous impact on the Russian-Ukrainian relations.

Major Publications


  • D.S.Likhachev v obshchestvennoi zhizni Rossii kontsa XX veka [Dmitry Likhachev in the public life of Russia at the end of the 20th century] (St. Petersburg: Evropeiskii Dom, October 2011);
  • Zhivago’s Children: The Last Russian Intelligentsia (Harvard University Press, 2009);
  • A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev (The University of North Carolina Press, 2007) Published in translation in Russia, Poland, Spain, and Estonia;
  • Anti-Americanism in Russia: From Stalin to Putin, with Eric Shiraev (Palgrave Press, 2000);
  • Inside the Kremlin's Cold War. From Stalin to Khrushchev, with Constantin Pleshakov (Harvard University Press, 1996) Published in translation in Germany, Poland, and the People’s Republic of China.

Edited Collections

  • Società totalitarie e transizione alla democrazia [Totalitarian society and transition to democracy] (il Mulino, Bologna 2011), editor; 
  • Masterpieces of History: A Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe, 1989, editor with Svetlana Savranskaia and Thomas Blanton (Central European University Press, 2010).

Selected Papers and Chapters

  • “Soviet intellectuals after Stalin’s death and their visions of the cold war’s end” in: Frédéric Bozo, Marie-Pierre Rey, N. Piers Ludlow, and Bernd Rother, eds,. Overcoming the Iron Curtain: Visions of the End of the Cold War in Europe, 1945–1990. Vol. 11, Contemporary European History (Berghahn Books, March 2012);
  • “Gorbachev’s Policy toward East Asia, 1985-1991,” in: Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, ed., The Cold War in East Asia 1945-1991 (Stanford University Press, 2011);
  • “Soviet foreign policy from Détente to Gorbachev, 1975-1985,” in: Melvyn Leffler and Odd Arne Westad, eds., Cambridge History of the Cold War, Vol. 3 (Cambridge University Press, 2010);
  • “The Soviet Union and détente of the 1970s,” Cold War History, Vol. 8, Issue 4 (November 2008);
  • "Khrushchev and the Berlin Crisis, 1958-62" (CWIHP Working Paper 6);
  • "Soviet Intelligence and the Cold War" (CWIHP Working Paper 4).

Previous Terms

Sep 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012; "1991: "Russia" Destroys the USSR" January 2007 - December 2008; "Children of Zhivago: The Generation of Russian Intelligentsia After Stalin" Kennan Institute Research Grant (Feb 01, 1993 - May 01, 1993): The Rise, Continuity, and Fall of Soviet Cold War Behavior: Organizational Aspects