Applebaum, Rachel

Assistant Professor of Modern Russia and Eastern Europe

Tufts University, United States

United States

Max Weber alumnus

Department of History and Civilization

Cohort(s): 2013/2014

Ph.D. Institution

University of Chicago, United States


I am a historian of modern Russia and East-Central Europe. My research focuses on transnational contacts within the post-war Soviet bloc and between the socialist and capitalist systems during the Cold War. I received my PhD from the University of Chicago in June 2012. In 2012-2013 I was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Modern European History at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.
As a Max Weber Fellow, I will be working on revising my dissertation into a book manuscript, tentatively titled Empire of Friends: Soviet Power and Socialist Internationalism in the Eastern Bloc, 1945–1989. The manuscript is based on extensive research in state, and former Communist Party, archives in Russia and the Czech Republic, as well as in the National Archives in the United States. It examines the Soviet imperial project in post-war Eastern Europe through the lens of cultural, interpersonal, and commercial contacts between ordinary Soviet and Czechoslovak citizens. I argue that the Soviet Union tried to maintain its hegemony in Czechoslovakia – as well as the cohesion of the broader socialist bloc ¬– by promoting friendship with the citizens of its satellite states. Empire of Friends explores three aspects of this ‘friendship project’: arts and culture (including films, fine arts, and music); interpersonal contacts (including student exchanges, tourism, friendship societies, pen-pal correspondences, and veterans’ relations); and the trade of consumer goods.
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