IU historian Rabinowitch elected to respected Russian institute

Oct. 23, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University historian Alexander Rabinowitch has been elected an affiliate research scholar of the Russian Academy of Sciences St. Petersburg Institute of History, one of Russia's most prestigious research facilities for the study of Russian and world history.

Rabinowitch received the title for his lifelong research and writing on the Russian Revolution and Civil War and for his close collaboration with the institute's faculty over many years. Fewer than a half-dozen non-Russian scholars have received the honor since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The election was marked by a ceremony this fall at which Rabinowitch delivered a lecture about his late father, Eugene Rabinowitch, an eminent St. Petersburg-born physical chemist, public intellectual and poet. Eugene Rabinowitch was co-founder of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and of the international Pugwash movement of concerned scientists, both of which focus on critical nuclear and environmental issues.

The St. Petersburg Institute of History is especially important as a center for original research on the late Russian imperial period and the revolutionary and civil-war periods of the early 20th century. Its faculty members include leading Russian specialists in these areas, several of whom have worked with Rabinowitch. He and two of the institute's scholars co-edited a recently published collection of archival documents relating to the immediate post-revolutionary era in Petrograd.

Rabinowitch is a professor emeritus of history in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington. His book "The Bolsheviks in Power: The First Year of Soviet Rule in Petrograd," published in 2007 by IU Press and simultaneously in Russia, resulted from over a decade of research, including unprecedented access to previously closed government, secret police and Communist Party archives. Focusing primarily on events in Petrograd, now St. Petersburg, the book shows that the early hardening of authoritarian rule in Russia resulted more from struggles to defend the October 1917 Revolution than from ideology.

His earlier book, "The Bolsheviks Come to Power: The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd," was the first scholarly study of the Russian Revolution by a Western author to be published in the Soviet Union during perestroika. He is also the author of "Prelude to Revolution: The Petrograd Bolsheviks and the July 1917 Uprising" as well as numerous essays in Western and Russian historical journals and is co-editor of "The Soviet Union Since Stalin" and "Russia in the Era of NEP." Rabinowitch is completing research for a book on the impact of military crises in 1919 on the earliest development of the Soviet authoritarian political system.