Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Labour History of Russia and the Soviet Union: Work in Progress

31 March 2005 to 2 April 2005

The conference brought together specialists on Russian and Soviet labour history from North America, Western and Eastern Europe, representing the 'state of the art' of current research in the discipline. Labour history is broadly defined as the history of work and of the people whose livelihood depends on work. These include craftsmen, peasants, convicts, white collar and professional workers, service personnel, servants, and housewives, as well as waged workers. Such a definition no longer makes sharp distinctions between pre- and post-industrial, town and countryside, and is intended to contribute to a labour history which is both universal and global in scope.

Programme and participants

Worker Militancy and Revolution

Gerald Surh (North Carolina State University) - "The Russian Pogroms of October 1905"
Christine Ruane (University of Tulsa) - "Constructed Out of Whole Cloth: The 1906 Moscow Garment Workers' Strike"
Sarah Badcock (University of Nottingham) - "Politics, Parties and Power: Workers in Nizhnii Novgorod during 1917"

Workers, Opposition, the Party and the Ascent of Stalinism

Simon Pirani (University of Essex) - "Mass mobilisation vs. mass participation: the Bolsheviks and Moscow workers 1921-22"
Alexei Gusev (Moscow State University) - "Bolshevik-Leninist' Opposition and the Soviet working class in 1928-1929"
Kevin Murphy (University of Massachusetts) - "Strikes during the First Third of the Twentieth Century: From Working Class Militancy to Working Class Passivity?"
Viktoria Tyazhel'nikova (International Institute of Social History)- "Proletarian Vanguard on the Eve of the Great Stalin's Project. Case Study of All-Union Party Census in Udmurtskaya Avtonomnaya Oblast"

Workers and Politics under Stalin

Hiroaki Kuromiya (Indiana University) - "Stalin and the 'Narod'"
Wendy Goldman (Carnegie Mellon University) - "The Mass Dissemination of Terror: Workers and the First Moscow Show Trial"
Barbara Allen (La Salle University) - "Alexander Shliapnikov, Sergei Medvedev, and the 'Baku Affair', 1924-1926: Factionalism, Provocation or Just a Misunderstanding?"
Getting Workers to Work: Motivation, Incorporation and Compulsion

Andrei Sokolov (Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences) - "Motivation of Labor in Russia and in the USSR. Some Observations from Research Project 'Incentives to Work in Russia. 1861-2000' and Perspectives for Futher Investigations"
Diane Koenker (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) - "Soviet Worker Leisure Travel in the 1930s" (
Beate Fieseler (University of Bochum) - "Workers at any price: Soviet definitions and inspections of 'fitness for work' during the 1930s and 1940s"

Rural Labour

Lynne Viola (University of Toronto) - "Taiga Conditions: Soviet Company Men and the Special Settlers at Work"
Lyubov' Denisova (Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences) - "'Women In Collective Farms - Great Force!' Female Labour in Rural Russia in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century"
Jean Levesque (Département d' histoire Université du Québec) - "Foremen in the Field: Collective Farm Chairmen and the Fate of Labour Discipline after Collectivization, 1938-1953"

Working-class Families

Greta Bucher (West Point) - "Identity 'na remont': Fatherhood and Masculinity in Stalinist Russia"
Yulia Gradskova (Baltic and East European Graduate school) - "When a 'worker' becomes a 'mother': 'soviet women's' stories from 1940-50s"
Olga Tkach (European University St. Petersburg) - "Economic Status of Workers' Dynasties in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Factory"

Standard of Living

Donald Filtzer (University of East London) - "The 1947 Food Crisis and it's Aftermath: Worker and Peasant Consumption in Non-famine Regions of the RSFSR"
Olaf Mertelsmann (University of Tartu) - "The standard of living of Estonian workers, 1938-1955"
Nathalie Moine (EHESS) - "Khrushchev 's Thaw and the gap between urban and rural standard of living, 1945-1960"

Survival Repertoires of Soviet and Post-Soviet Urban Households

Gijs Kessler (International Institute of Social History) - "War, Women, Work and Weddings. Urban Households and the Construction of Socialism, 1917-41"
Andrei Markevich (International Institute of Social History) - "Finding additional income: subsidiary agriculture of soviet urban households, 1940s - 1960s"
Sergey Afontsev (Institute for World Economy and International Relations) - "Harvesting the Fruits of Transition: post-soviet urban household strategies"

Organising committee: Gijs Kessler (International Institute of Social History), Donald Filtzer (University of East London), Wendy Goldman (Carnegie Mellon University), and Simon Pirani (University of Essex)

A selection of the papers presented at the conference has been published with Peter Lang Press: - Donald Filtzer, Wendy Goldman, Gijs Kessler and Simon Pirani (eds), A Dream Deferred: New Studies in Russian and Soviet Labour History, International and Comparative Social History 11 (Bern, Switzerland ; New York, 2008)

For further information please contact Dr. Gijs Kessler (