Yuri Slezkine

Professor of the Graduate School

Jane K. Sather Professor of History Emeritus

Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Research Interests

Late Modern Europe: Russia


PhD, History, University of Texas at Austin, 1989

MA, Russian Language and Literature, University of Moscow, USSR, 1978


Professor of the Graduate School, UC Berkeley, 2019-present

Senior Research Fellow, St. Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, 2020-present

Senior Research Associate, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration


Jane K. Sather Professor of History, UC Berkeley, 2009-2019

Professor of History, UC Berkeley, 1998-2009

Associate Professor of History, UC Berkeley, 1994-1998

Assistant Professor of History, UC Berkeley, 1992-1994 

Assistant Professor of History, Wake Forest University, 1989-1992

Assistant Editor, Slavic Review,  1985-87

Assistant Instructor of Russian, U of Texas, Austin, 1983-86

Instructor of English, "Linguacoop" Institute, Lisbon, Portugal, 1982-83

Foreign Language Editor, "Progress" Publishers, Moscow, USSR, 1980-82

Translator of English and Portuguese, Port of Beira, Mozambique, 1978-79

Visiting Professorships

European University at St. Petersburg, 2023

Instituto de História Contemporanea, Lisbon, 2022

Latvian University, 2021

St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University, 2020

New College, Oxford University, 2019

École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, 2020

Sciences Po, Paris, 2018 

Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich, 2018 

The University of Nottingham (Honorary Professor), 2006–7 

Vassar College (Distinguished Visiting Professor), 2002

Recent Awards

Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen/Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna, 2022

Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin Fellowship, 2013-14

W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow and the William C. Bark National Fellow, the Hoover Institution, 2009-10 

NEH Fellowship, 2009-10

ACLS Fellowship, 2009-10

The National Council for Soviet and East European Research, 2009-10

Invited writer (les Belles Étrangères festival), le Centre National du livre and le Ministère de la Culture, France, November 2009 

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 2001-2

NEH Fellowship, 2001-2

Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences Fellowship, 2001-2

Selected Service

Director of the Berkeley Program for Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies, 2013-2019

Director of the Berkeley Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, 2004-13 (designed, organized, supervised and introduced numerous conferences, workshops, and speaker series, served as a PI on a large number of projects)

Board membership at various times: American Historical Association; American Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies; Kritika, Ab Imperio


Talks, including named lectureships and keynote addresses, delivered in numerous universities and book stores in the US, Canada, UK, Russia, China, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Israel, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Popular Writings

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Review of Books


Ivar Smilga and the Russian Epilogue of the Latvian Revolution [in Russian and Latvian] (Riga: Rigas Laiks, 2022)

The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution (Princeton UP, 2017) 

Winner of the 2018 Prose Award in World History, Association of American Publishers

Winner of the American Historical Association's 2018 George L. Mosse Prize

Winner of 2018 Book of the Year Award,  Amer. Hist. Assoc, Pacific Coast Branch

Translations: French, German, Italian, Russian, Polish, Dutch, Spanish, Chinese, Estonian

Selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice, Aug 24, 2017

One of The Spectator 2017 Books of the Year

One of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2017

One of The Times Literary Supplement’s Books of the Year 2017

One of The Guardian’s Best Books of 2017

One of Open Letters Monthly’s “Our Year in Reading 2017

One of the Economist.com "Wise Words 2017 Books of the Year" in History

One of the Millions.com “A Year in Reading 2017: Stephen Dodson”

One of World’s 2017 Books of the Year in “History”

One of London Review Bookshop’s Best History Books, Christmas 2017

Selected for Le Monde’s “Monde des livres” 2017 (chosen by Nicolas Weill)

One of The Australian’s Books of the Year 2017 (chosen by Louis Nowra)

One of the Times Colonist Favorite Books of 2017 (chosen by Adrian Dix)

The Jewish Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004)

Winner of 2005 National Jewish Book Award (Ronald S. Lauder Award, East European Studies)

Winner of 2005 Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize (Best Book in Any Discipline, Am. Assoc. for the Adv. of Slavic Studies)

Winner of 2004 Award for Best Scholarly Book in Religion (Assoc. of American Publishers).

Translations: Russian, German, Polish, Hebrew, French, Italian, Lithuanian, Czech, Turkish, Chinese

In the Shadow of Revolution:  Life Stories of Russian Women from 1917 to the Second World War,  ed. by Sheila Fitzpatrick and Yuri Slezkine, trans. by Yuri Slezkine (Princeton UP, 2000)

Arctic Mirrors: Russia and the Small Peoples  of the North  (Ithaca: Cornell U P, 1994)

Winner of 1995 Book of the Year Award,  Amer. Hist. Assoc, Pacific Coast Branch

Translations: Russian

Between Heaven and Hell: The Myth of Siberia in Russian Culture,  ed. by Galya Diment and Yuri Slezkine (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993)


"The Two Faces of Tatiana Matveevna," in Golfo Alexopoulos, Julie Hessler, and Kiril Tomoff, eds., Writing the Stalin Era: Sheila Fitzpatrick and Soviet Historiography (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 37-41.

Coeditor and author of introduction: Reginald E. Zelnik, Perils of Pankratova: Some Stories from the Annals of Soviet Historiography (Seattle; University of Washington Press, 2005)

"N. Ia. Marr and the National Origins of Soviet Ethnogenetics," Slavic Review  55, no. 4 (Winter 1996): 826-862. Reprinted in Michael D. Kennedy and Ronald Grigor Suny, eds., Intellectuals and the Articulation of the Nation  (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999). Russian translation in Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, No. 36(1999): 48-82

"Ethnoterritorial Units in in the USSR and Successor States," in Victoria E. Bonnell, ed., Identities in Transition: Eastern Europe and Russia after the Collapse of Communism  (Berkeley: Center for Slavic and East European Studies, 1996), 92-102

"Primitive Communism and the Other Way Around," The South Atlantic Quarterly  94, no. 3 (Summer 1995): 947-976. Reprinted in Evgeny Dobrenko and Thomas Lahusen, eds., Socialist Realism without Shores  (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997)

"The USSR as a Communal Apartment, or How a Socialist State Promoted Ethnic Particularism," Slavic Review  53, no. 2 (Summer 1994): 414-452. Reprinted in Geoff Eley and Ronald Grigor Suny, eds., Becoming National. A Reader  (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996). Reprinted in Sheila Fitzpatrick, ed., Stalinism: New Directions  (Routledge, 2000). Russian Translation in Russian History in the United States: Landmarks of Recent Historiography  (Samara: Samarskii universitet, 2001)

"Naturalists versus Nations: Eighteenth-Century Russian Scholars Confront Ethnic Diversity," Representations,  47 (Summer 1994): 170-195. Reprinted in Daniel Brower and Edward Lazzerini, eds., The Russian Orient: Imperial Borderlands and Peoples, 1700-1917  (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997). Reprinted in Anthony Pagden, ed., Facing Each Other: The World's Perception of Europe and Europe's Perception of the World  (London: Ashgate, 2000) Russian translation in The Russian Empire in Foreign Scholarship  (Moscow: Novoe izdatel’stvo, 2005)

"Savage Christians or Unorthodox Russians? The Missionary Dilemma in Siberia," in Between Heaven and Hell

"From Savages to Citizens: The Cultural Revolution in the Soviet Far North," Slavic Review,  vol. 51, no. 1 (Spring 1992): 52-76

"The Sovereign's Foreigners: Classifying the Native Peoples in 17th-Century Siberia," Russian History/Histoire Russe  19, nos. 1-4 (1992): 475-485

"The Fall of Soviet Ethnography, 1928-1938," Current Anthropology , vol. 32, No. 4 (August-October 1991): 476-484. Russian translation: "Sovetskaia etnografiia v nokdaune, 1928-1938," Etnograficheskoe obozrenie,  No. 2 (1993): 113-125

Doctoral dissertations (chaired and co-chaired)

Robert Geraci, "Window on the East: Ethnography, Orthodoxy, and Russian Nationality in Kazan, 1860-1914," 1995 

Peter Blitstein, "Stalin's Nations: Soviet Nationality Policy between Planning and Primordialism, 1936-1953," 1999

Adrienne Edgar, "The Creation of Soviet Turkmenistan, 1924-38," 1999

Ethan Pollock, "The Politics of Knowledge: Party Ideology and Soviet Science, 1945-1953," 2000

Brian Kassof, "The Knowledge Front: Politics, Ideology, and Economics in the Soviet Book Publishing Industry," 2000

David Shneer, "A Revolution in the Making: Yiddish and the Creation of Soviet Jewish Culture," 2001

Jan Plamper, "The Stalin Cult in the Visual Arts," 2001

Rebecca Manley, "The Evacuation and Survival of Soviet Civilians, 1941-1946," 2004

Stephen Brain, "Transforming Nature: The Russian Forest and the Soviet State, 1900-1953," 2007

Deborah Yalen, "Red Kasrilevke: Ethnographies of Economic Transformation in the Soviet Shtetl, 1917-1939," 2007

Zygmunt Ronald Bialkowski, "The Transformation of Academic Criminal Jurisprudence into Criminology in Late Imperial Russia," 2007

Jacqueline Lee Friedlander, "Psychiatrists and Crisis in Russia, 1880-1917," 2007

Miriam Neirick, "When Pigs Could Fly: A History of the Circus in the Soviet Union," 2007

John Holmes, "The Life and Times of Noah London," 2008

Jarrod Tanny, "City of Rogues and Schnorrers: The Myth of Old Odessa in Russian and Jewish Culture," 2008

Koo, Ja-Jeong, "Cossack Modernity: Nation-Building in Kuban, 1917-1920," 2008

Shawn Salmon, "To the Land of the Future: A History of Intourist and Travel to the Soviet Union, 1929-1991," 2008

Eleonory Gilburd, "'To See Paris and Die': Western Culture in the Soviet Union, 1950s and 1960s," 2010

Christine Evans, "From Truth to Time: Soviet Central Television, 1957-1985," 2010

Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock, "A Sacred Space is Never Empty: Soviet Atheism, 1954-1971," 2010

Elizabeth McGuire, "The Sino-Soviet Romance: How Chinese Communists Fell in Love with Russia, Russians, and the Russian Revolution," 2010

Erik Scott, "Familiar Strangers: The Georgian Diaspora in the Soviet Union," 2011

Alexis Peri, "Minds Under Siege: Rethinking the Soviet Experience inside the Leningrad Blockade, 1941-45," 2011

Nicole Eaton, "Exclave: Politics, Ideology, and Everyday Life in Königsberg–Kaliningrad, 1928-1948," 2013

David Beecher, "Ivory Tower of Babel: Tartu University and the Languages of Two Empires, a Nation State, and the Soviet Union," 2014

Brandon Schechter, "Government Issue: The Material Culture of the Red Army, 1941-1945," 2015

Charles Shaw, "Making Ivan-Uzbek: War, Friendship of the Peoples, and the Creation of Soviet Uzbekistan, 1941-1951," 2015

Bathsheba Demuth, "The Power of Place: Ideology and Ecology in the Bering Strait, 1848-1988," 2016

Katherine Zubovich, "Moscow Monumental: Soviet Skyscrapers and Urban Life under High Stalinism," 2016

Rhiannon Dowling, "Brezhnev's War on Crime: The Criminal and Soviet Society, 1963-1984," 2017

Jason Morton, "The Creation of a ‘People’s Hero’: Vasilii Ivanovich Chapaev and the Fate of Soviet Popular History," 2017

Joseph Kellner, "The End of History: Radical Responses to the Soviet Collapse," 2018

Yana Skorobogatov, "Killing the Soviet Man: The Death Penalty in the Soviet Union, 1954-1991," 2018

Mirjam Voerkelius, "Evolution in Times of Revolution," 2018

Joy Neumeyer, "Dying Empire: Visions of the End in Late Socialism," 2020

Michael Coates, “The Sources of Soviet Knowledge: A History of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia,” 2021