UR History Professor Awarded $18,000 to Research Mysterious Political Purge in the Soviet Union

March 28, 2019

David Brandenberger, professor of history at the University of Richmond, will travel to Moscow this summer to review newly declassified documents related to the Leningrad Affair from the former Soviet archives.

His project, The Leningrad Affair: The Purge of Stalin’s Would-Be Successors, 1949-1952, is being supported by an $18,000 Title VIII National Research Competition Grant from the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research.

“The Leningrad Affair skewed the postwar history of Russia and the USSR,” said Brandenberger. “It led to the purge of Stalin’s heirs and destabilized Soviet domestic and foreign policy into the mid-1960s.”

While in Moscow, Brandenberger plans to work together with four Russian researchers to assemble a two-volume Russian document collection that will resolve fundamental questions about the purge concerning who triggered the purge, the role that Stalin played in the bloodletting, and the overall impact that this tragedy had on the Soviet leadership at the beginning of the Cold War. Brandenberger will also write a book on the Leningrad Affair for English-speaking audiences. 

Brandenberger has conducted research in Russia using the party and state archives of the former Soviet Union for more than 20 years. He was awarded a Fulbright grant in 2017 for research on Russia’s political landscape during the 1940s and 50s. 

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