Campus News

Book explores science under Stalin

Stalin’s Great Science: The Times and Adventures of Soviet Physicists
By Alexei B. Kojevnikov
Imperial College Press

World-class science and technology developed in the Soviet Union during Stalin’s dictatorial rule under conditions of political violence, lack of international contacts and severe restrictions on the freedom of information.

Stalin’s Great Science, written by UGA associate professor of history Alexei ­Kojevnikov, investigates this paradoxical success by following the lives and work of Soviet scientists-including Nobel Prize-winning physicists and others-throughout the turmoil of wars, revolutions and repression that characterized the first half of the USSR’s 20th century.

The book examines how ­scientists operated within the Soviet political order, communicated with Stalinist politicians, built a new system of research institutions and conducted groundbreaking research under extraordinary circumstances. Unlike most previous studies, Stalin’s Great Science recognizes the status of science as an essential element of the Soviet polity and explores the nature of a special relationship between experts (scientists and engineers) and Communist politicians that enabled the initial rise of the Soviet state and its accomplishments, until the pact eroded in later years, undermining the Communist regime from within.