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Dr Olena Palko

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Contact details

Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street



  • Olena Palko joined Birkbeck in January 2018 as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. Her research interests lie in the field of early Soviet cultural history and the interwar history of Eastern Europe. She was awarded her PhD from UEA in 2017, and held a research fellowships at Humbold University (Berlin) and Basel University. She also holds a Degree of ‘Candidate of Sciences’ (kandydat nauk) from the Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
  • Her current research examines the interwar minority policies in Eastern Europe. It aims to investigate the links between foreign-policy considerations of the Polish and Soviet governments and promotion of ethnic diversity in the region. Thereby, the project focuses on the competing policies towards the Polish minority in Ukraine/Belarus, and the Ukrainian/Belarusian minorities in Poland
  • Olena has taught various courses in Modern European, Russian and Soviet history at the University of East Anglia and the University of Basel


  • Journal articles
  • In co-authorship with Roman Horbyk “Righting the Writing: the Power Dynamic of Soviet Ukraine Language Policies and Reforms in the 1920s-1930s”, Studi Slavistici XIV (2017): 67-89
  • “Between two Powers: a Soviet Ukrainian Writer Mykola Khvyl'ovyi” Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas” 4 (2016): 575-598
  • “Ukrainian National Communism: a Challenging History,” Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, Volume 22, 1 (2014): 27-48
  • Edited volumes
  • “The October Revolution and the Competing Projects of Soviet State-Building on the Western Border (Ukraine and Belarus)”, in Olga Bronnikova, Matthieu Renault (eds.) 1917: A Revolution at the Margins of the Russian Empire (upcoming in Éditions Amsterdam, 2018)
  • Other Publications
  • “The captive of ideologies: Mykola Khvyl’ovyi in the views of the Ukrainian Diaspora”, Ucraina Magna, 1 (2016), 118-134. (In Ukrainian)
  • ‘Bolshevik Party with a National Face: Being Ukrainian among Communists’ in Marta Bucholc (ed.) The Transformation of Society: Theory and Practice (2013)
  • ‘Ukrainian National Communist Opposition to Bolsheviks Authoritarianism’, in Peter Jasek (ed.) Anthology of the international scientific conference «Anti-Communist Resistance in Central and Eastern Europe» (2012): 272-292
  • Book Reviews
  • ‘Review of Mayhill C. Fowler, Beau Monde on Empire’s Edge: State and Stage in Soviet Ukraine.’ European History Quarterly, 47 (4) (2017): 738-740
  • ‘Review of Serhii Plokhy, The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine.’ History, 102 (349) 2017: 112-114
  • ‘Review of Grigol Ubiria, Soviet Nation-Building in Central Asia. The Making of the Kazakh and Uzbek Nations.’ European History Quarterly, 47 (1) (2017): 197-199
  • ‘Review of Jeffrey Veidlinger, In the Shadow of the Shtetl: Small-town Jewish Life in Soviet Ukraine.’ European History Quarterly, 46 (4) (2016): 787-788
  • ‘Review of Per Anders Rudling, The Rise and Fall of Belarusian Nationalism, 1906-1931.’ European History Quarterly, 46 (3) (2016), 384-386
  • ‘Review of Vasyl Danylenko (ed.) Ukrains'ka Inteligentsia i Vlada: Zvedennia Sekretnoho Viddilu DPU USRR 1927-1929 rr. [Ukrainian Intellectuals and the Authorities. Summaries of the Secret Department of the State Political Administration of Ukrainian SSR for 1927-1929].’ East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Vol. II, no. 1 (2015), 153-155
  • Blog Posts
  • “Away from Moscow”: a battle against provincialism in Soviet Ukrainian literature, The Peripheral Histories? Blog, 11th December 2017

Professional membership

  • Member of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies
  • Member of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
  • Member of the Royal Historical Society


  • Funding awards from the Leverhulme Trust, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Open Society Foundation, German Historical Institute, Royal Historical Society, Initiative “Ukrainian Research in Switzerland”, Study Foundation of the Berlin House of Representatives, Visegrad Fund, Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna and Center for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv
  • Olena has also received the UEA Faculty of Arts and Humanities Graduate School Prize for Best Article written by a PhD Student (2017) and The Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN) Annual PhD Scholarship (2013)