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Kathleen E. Smith on Moscow 1956: The Silenced Spring

November 27, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm


The year 1956 in Russia started with Nikita Khrushchev’s bombshell “Secret Speech” denouncing Stalin’s purges and ended with Soviet intervention to quash the Hungarian uprising.  Kathleen Smith pinpoints the beginning of the unraveling of the Soviet system in the traumatic events of the year. Through the life stories of former GULAG prisoners-turned policy makers, persecuted geneticists, idealistic students, wary writers, and reeling propagandists, Smith captures the painful dynamic of reform and retreat that shaped the political views of the generation that would mastermind perestroika..

Kathleen E. Smith is a teaching professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.  She is also the author of Mythmaking in the New Russia: Memory and Politics in the Yeltsin Era (Cornell, 2002) and Remembering Stalin’s Victims: Popular Memory and the End of the USSR (Cornell, 1996). Smith is currently beginning a study of cultural politics in Russia through the lens of Peredelkino, the elite writers’ community created under Stalin.

The Washington History Seminar thanks the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute for their co-sponsorship of this event.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.


November 27, 2017
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Wilson Center
1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20004 United States


National History Center
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars