About me

I am a sociologist and contemporary historian specializing in the study of protest and social movements in Russia as well as Soviet war memorials. My intellectual temperament is vulpine rather than erinaceous; nevertheless, my research interests are connected by a number of common themes, which include an interest in the sociology of knowledge and boundaries, the study of commemorative practices, and the social role of material objects, from protest posters to bronze soldiers.

My publications include Putin kaputt!? Russlands neue Protestkultur, the first monograph on the 2011- Russian protest movement (Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2013), and Pamiat’ o voine 60 let spustia: Rossiia, Germaniia, Evropa (Moscow: NLO, 2005), an edited volume on the memory of World War II in Russia, Germany, and elsewhere that grew out of a joint special edition of the journals NZ and Osteuropa. I have also edited or co-edited thematic journal issues or sections on nonviolent protest, doing ethnographic fieldwork in Russia, Russian sociology, the Islamic revival in Russia, the memory of the 1905 revolution, and other topics.

Having grown up multilingual, I publish in English, German, French, and Russian. (I also have some familiarity with nine other languages.) In the past I also worked as a professional translator of scholarly essays and books between those four languages (I was young and needed the money). From 2002 to 2006 I was editor-in-chief of the Moscow-based journal Neprikosnovenny zapas (NZ), and later served as founding editor-in-chief of Laboratorium: Russian Review of Social Research, a bilingual (Russian/English), peer-reviewed journal. Between 2005 and 2009, I served on the editorial board of kultura: Russland-kulturanalysen, a bilingual (German/English) online publication about Russian culture.

I am a research fellow at the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany, where my work on a collective biography of Soviet war memorials has been funded since 2013 by the Hamburg Foundation for the Advancement of Research and Culture. I am also a board member, and regular convenor, of the Berlin Colloquia on Contemporary History. A graduate of Oxford University and a former visiting student at the Ecole normale supérieure in Paris, I am also an alumnus fellow of the Princeton University Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. In addition, I am an associate member of the Center for Russian, Caucasian, and Central European Studies at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris, where I received my PhD, and the Center for East European Studies at Bremen University.

I am currently directing two collective research projects: the construction of a detailed database of protest events in Russia since 2011 based on first-person witness reports and photographs and including a register of every single documented protest slogan, and an international project that studies the significance of Soviet war memorials during May 9 Victory Day celebrations in over 20 postsocialist cities from Berlin to Kutaisi, and from Tiraspol to Saint Petersburg. The latter project is supported by the French-Russian Center for Social Sciences and Humanities and Memorial in Moscow.

This site is under construction, and will soon be updated with information about my research and publications, as well as resources for research on Russia, nonviolent protest, and other topics.