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Professor Orlando Figes

Contact details

Birkbeck, University of London,
Room 4.03, 28 Russell Square, Bloomsbury
London WC1B 5DQ

Tel: +44 (0)20 7631 6205 

Research interests

  • My most recent book is Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991 (Pelican, 2014), a short history of the Russian Revolution in the longue durée, which is featured in an educational website [] with free materials (photo essays, articles and extracts from the book). Before that I published Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag (Penguin, 2012), which was based on an extraordinary archive of 1246 letters smuggled in and out of one of Stalin's most notorious labour camps between 1946 and 1954; Crimea: The Last Crusade (Penguin, 2010); and The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia (2007). My next book will be a cultural history of nineteenth-century Europe as the first age of globalization.
  • I have a website with more information about my publications and materials from my research that you may use. Visit my website.

Areas of research supervision

  • I encourage applications in all fields of European history. I particularly welcome projects in cultural and social history, the politics of nationality, peasant studies and the social, political and intellectual history of the socialist and communist movements.
  • If you are interested in pursuing research in any of these areas, you should first read our advice on how to apply for MPhil/PhD research before submitting an application.

Teaching interests

  • Russian and European history in the modern period.
  • My current courses include an MA module: 'The Soviet Experience: Stalinism Through the Eyes of the Individual'; a BA Group 2 course, 'A Hundred Years of the Russian Revolution, 1891-1991'; and (from the 2014-15 academic year) two BA one-term options in historiography: Reading History and Oral History.
  • I have a new website for schools and colleges with materials which you may use. []


  • Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991 (2014)
  • Just Send Me Word: A true Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag (2012)
  • Crimea: The Last Crusade (2010)
  • The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia (2007).
  • Natasha's Dance: a cultural history of Russia (London, Penguin 2002).
  • Interpreting the Russian Revolution: the Language and Symbols of 1917 (with Boris Kolonitski, Yale University Press, 1999)
  • A People's Tragedy: the Russian Revolution, 1891-1924 (London: Pimlico, 1996).
  • (This book won the Wolfson history prize, the NCR book award, the W.H. Smith literary award, the Longman/History Today book of the year award and the Los Angeles Times book prize).
  • Peasant Russia, Civil War: the Volga Countryside in Revolution, 1917-21 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989)