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Current Research Projects: Davies and Rees

Principal investigator

R.W. Davies and E.A. Rees

Institutional affiliation

Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham, and European University Institute, Florence

Other investigators

Oleg Khlevniuk (GARF, Moscow)
Valery Vasilev (Vinnitsa Pedagogical Institute)

Title of project

The Soviet Politburo and Economic Decision-making and Development in the Stalin Era

Starting date


Sources of funding

UK Economic and Social Research Council

Brief description

The project is examining economic decision-making in the Stalin era, with special reference to the 1930s, primarily using newly-available Russian and Ukrainian archives. The assessment of the role of the Politburo has been a crucial and highly controversial issue for historians, and has been central to all ‘models’ of the Soviet economic and political system. All previous studies were undertaken before the archives became available. We expect that a series of case-studies of the operation of the Politburo in practice will throw fresh light on the nature and behaviour of the Soviet system.

Related research

In addition to study of the operation of the Politburo, several complementary studies are being prepared:

  • Rees is writing a political biography of Lazar Kaganovich, and Derek Watson (Birmingham) of Vyacheslav Molotov
  • Davies and Rees, with Khlevnyuk and two Russian archivists, are editing the Stalin-Kaganovich letters for publication in Russian and (by Yale UP) in English
  • With Mark Harrison and S.G. Wheatcroft, Davies is undertaking a series of reassessments of Soviet economic statistics in the light of new material from the archives
  • With Khlevniuk, Yoram Gorlizki is undertaking a study of the role of the Politburo in the years after World War II
  • Wheatcroft and a group of colleagues in the University of Melbourne have prepared a computerised record of Stalin’s appointments from 1924 to his death in 1953, and are preparing a similar record of all the items discussed by the Politburo in the 1930s
  • Wheatcroft and Davies are working with other Russian and American scholars on a collection of archival documents, Tragediya Sovetskoi Derevni, 1927-1941; the first two volumes of five have already appeared in Russian. Yale UP will publish an edition in three volumes, one to be edited by Davies and Wheatcroft with the Russian historian I.E. Zelenin.

Results available?

Go to index of Publications

Research in Former Soviet Archives on Issues of Historical Political Economy

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