Dr Robert Hornsby

Dr Robert Hornsby

Associate Professor in Modern European History

Summary: Post-Stalin USSR; post-war Europe; political protest and methods of social control.


I hold a doctorate (2009) from the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Russian and East European Studies. Before coming to Leeds I was a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the University of Kent.

Research interests

My research focuses upon the post-Stalin Soviet Union. I am particularly interested in questions of social control, conformity and non-conformity in authoritarian political systems, and in regime attempts to shape the attitudes and behaviours of young people.

Current or forthcoming research projects

I am presently working on a Leverhulme-funded research project, entitled ‘Careerism, Idealism and Social Control in the Post-Stalin Komsomol’, which examines the Soviet Union’s Young Communist League between the mid-1950s and the mid-1980s. To date, this project has included archival research in Georgia, Latvia, Estonia, and Belarus as well as in Moscow, Yekaterinburg, and Petrozavodsk.


Protest, Reform and Repression in Khrushchev’s Soviet Union, 1953-64, Cambridge University Press, 2013

Journal articles:
‘The Post-Stalin Komsomol and the Soviet Fight for Third World Youth’, Cold War History, 16: 1 (2016), 83-100

‘Soviet Society after Stalin: a Review Essay’, Soviet and Post-Soviet Review, Vol. 41, 2014, No. 3, pp. 325-334

‘The Enemy Within? The Komsomol and Foreign Youth inside the Post-Stalin Soviet Union, 1957-1985’, Past and Present, 232: 1 (2016), 237-278  

‘Soviet Youth on the March: The All-Union Tours of Military Glory, Journal of Contemporary History, forthcoming (available in ‘online first’)

 Book chapters:
‘Women and girls as both members and professionals in the Komsomol’, in M. Ilič ed. Palgrave Handbook on Women and Gender in Twentieth Century Russia, (Palgrave, forthcoming, 2016)

‘“A Merciless Struggle”: deStalinization and the 1957 clampdown on dissent’, in R. Einax, T. Bohn and M. Abesser eds. DeStalinization Reconsidered: Persistence and Change in the Soviet Union, Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2014, pp. 45-64

‘The outer reaches of liberalization: combating political dissent in the Khrushchev era’, in J. Smith ed. Khrushchev in the Kremlin: policy and governance in the Soviet Union, 1953-1964, London: Routledge, 2011, pp. 61-78
‘Voicing discontent: political dissent from the Secret Speech to Khrushchev’s ouster’, in M. Ilič and J. Smith eds. Soviet state and society under Nikita Khrushchev, London: Routledge, 2009, pp. 162-180
Postgraduate supervision

I would welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students interested in any aspect of post-Stalin Soviet history.

Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching

At second year level I teach the modules ‘HIST2309 Communist Eastern Europe, 1945-89’ and HIST2310 ‘Russia under the Romanovs, 1812-1917’. I also teach a third year special subject entitled ‘HIST3390 The Soviet Sixties’ and co-teach on the MA module ‘HIST5035M Approaches to Contemporary European History’.

Research Supervision

I welcome enquiries from potential postgraduate researchers interested in the post-Stalin USSR, communism in the former Eastern Europe, and youth movements more generally.