University of Richmond history and international studies professor David Brandenberger has received a Fulbright grant for his research on Russia’s political landscape during the 1940s and 50s.

"A Fulbright grant at this time signals the priority that the U.S. government places on Russian research and U.S.-Russian research ties even in times of heightened international tension,” Brandenberger said.

Brandenberger will focus his research on the Stalin-era political elite and the Leningrad Affair, a series of fabricated criminal cases in the 40s and 50s that accused politicians and members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of treason, he said.

“This purge had an effect on the postwar history of Russia and the USSR, but remarkably little is known, largely due to the inaccessibility of the historical record,” he said. “I’ll be working to analyze the origins of the Leningrad Affair, as well as its destructive course and overall impact.”

“The study of the Soviet 1920s and 1930s has been revolutionized since 1991 by the declassification of important archives, but research on high-level decision making during the 1940s and 1950s remains much more restricted,” he said.

Brandenberger will spend most of his time in Moscow and St. Petersburg (the former Leningrad) between December 2017 and July 2018. He will also conduct research in Nizhny Novgorod, Pskov and other regional cities. 

The project will result in publications in both English and Russian. Brandenberger has conducted research in Russia using the party and state archives of the former Soviet Union for more than 20 years.

Brandenberger has taught at the University of Richmond since 2003 and is currently preparing an edition of Stalin’s party history textbook, “The Short Course on the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union” (1938) for Yale University Press.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Macalester College and his Master of Arts and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

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The Fulbright program, which aims to increase mutual understanding between people of the U.S and people of other countries, is overseen by the U.S. Department of State. Grants are made possible by funds appropriated annually by Congress along with contributions from partner countries and the private sector. The Fulbright Global Scholar Award allows U.S. academics and professionals to engage in multi-country, trans-regional projects. As a truly worldwide award, U.S. scholars will be able to propose research or combined teaching/research activity in two to three countries with flexible schedule options; trips can be conducted within one academic year or spread over two consecutive years.

Professor of History and International Studies
International Studies Concentration Advisor: Politics and Diplomacy, Modern Europe
Imperial Russia / Soviet Union / Post-Soviet space
Ideology & Propaganda
Nationalism
Interdisciplinary methodology (esp. concerning literature and film)