Kolonitsky, Boris

Professor, Department of History

Doctor of Science in History, Professor, Head Research Fellow at the St. Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Boris Kolonitsky is a visiting professor at the University of Illinois, Princeton, and Yale (USA), as well as the universities of Tartu, Helsinki, and Tübingen. He is the recipient of scholarships and grants for Eastern European Studies from Trinity College in Cambridge, the Russian Foundation for Humanities Research, the Open Society Institute, the Volkswagen Foundation, the Lev Kopalev Foundation, the Kennan Institute, the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation, and the Oxford-Russia Foundation. Kolonitsky is a well-known scholar of the Russian Revolution of 1917. His article “Antibourgeois Propaganda and Antibourgeois Consciousness in 1917” (The Russian Review. 1994. Vol. 53. P. 183-196) is included on a list of works by Russian historians, and is often cited in English-language publications. Kolonitsky is a member of the editorial boards of “Kritika” and “Vestnik Permskogo universiteta: Seria istoria [Journal of the University of Perm: A Series History]” as well as a member of the editorial board of the international project “Russia’s Great War and Revolution, 1914-1922: The Centennial Reappraisal.”


Education and Degrees
1976 - Graduated from the History Department at Herzen State Pedagogical University in Leningrad.
1987 – Candidate’s Degree in History, dissertation topic: “Tsentry burzhuaznoi pechatnoi propagandy Petrograda i ikh krushenie. Mart-oktyabr’ 1917 g. [Centers of Bourgeois Propaganda Printed in Petrograd and Their Downfall. March-October 1917.]”
1994-1995 – Trained at the University of Cambridge (UK).
2002 - Doctor of Science in History, dissertation topic: “Politicheskie simvoly i bor’ba za vlast’ v 1917 godu. [Political Symbols and the Struggle for Power in 1917.]”


Research interests: The
 history of Russian revolution of 1917, World War I, the history of the Russian intelligentsia, historical memory.



"Tovarisch Kerensky": Antimonarkhicheskaya revoluzia i formirovaniye kulta “Vozdya naroda” mart- ijun 1917 goda ["Tovarisch Kerensky”: antimonarchical revolution and the cult of the “Leader of the people” March – June, 1917Moscow: New Literary Review, 2017.

 Tragicheskaya erotika: Obrazy imperatoskoi sem’i v gody Pervyi mirovoi voiny [Tragic Erotica: Images of the Royal Family During WWI] Moscow: New Literary Review, 2010.

• Simvoly vlasti i bor’ba za vlast’: K izucheniyu politicheskoi kul’tury Rossijskoi revoliutsiya 1917 goda [Symbols of Power and Power Struggle: To a Knowledge of the Political Culture of the 1917 Russian Revolution] SPB: “Dmitri Bulanin,” 2001. 349 p. (2nd ed. “Faces of Russia, 2011).
• Pogony i bor’ba za blast’ v 1917 godu [Epaulets and Power Struggle in 1917] SPB: Ostrov, 2001.
• Interpreting the Russian Revolution: The Language and Symbols of 1917. New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1999. 198 p. Co-authored with Orlando Figes. Translated into Spanish in 2001.  


Selected Articles:
• Fevral’skaya? Burzhuaznaya? Demokraticheskaya? Revoliutsiya… [February? Bourgeois? Democratic? Revolution…] // Neprikosnovennyi zapas: Debaty o politike i kul’ture [Emergency Supply: Debates on Policy and Culture]. Moscow, 2002. № 2 (22). p. 82-88.
• "We" and "I": Alexander Kerensky in His Speeches // Autobiographical Practices in Russia. Autobiographische Praktiken in Russland / Eds. J. Hellbeck; K. Heller. Göttingen: V&R Unipress, 2004. S. 179-196.
• Metamorphosen der Germanophobie: Deutschland in den politischen Konflikten der Februarrevolution von 1917 // Verfuehrungen den Gewalt: Russen und Deutsche im Ersten und Zweiten Weltkrieg. Muenchen, 2005. S. 121-144.
• Voin ‘starogo vremeni:’ Obrazy velikogo knyaznya Nikolaya Nikolaevicha v gody Pervoi mirovoi voiny [Warrior of ‘The Old Times:’ Images of the Great Prince Nikolai Nikolaevich During WWI] // Studia Russica Helsingiensia et Tartuensia. Tartu, 2006. Т. Х. Ч. 2. С.297–326.
• ‘Russkaya ideya’ i ideologiya Fevral’skoi revoliutsii [‘The Russian Idea’ and Ideology of the February Revolution] // Toronto Slavic Quarterly. 2007. № 21.
• Preodolenie grazhdanskoi voiny: Sluchai Ameriki [Overcoming Civil War: The Case of America] // The Star. 2007. № 1. p. 123–143.
• Pamyat’ o pervoi rossijskoi revoliutsii v 1917 godu: Sluchai Sevastopolya I Gel’singforsa [Memory of the First Russian Revolution in 1917: The Case of Sevastopol and Helsingfors]// Neprikosnovennyi zapas: Debaty o politike i kul’ture [Emergency Supply: Debates on Policy and Culture]. 2009. № 2 (64).
• A. F. Kerensky kak Louis Blanc: Obraz ‘revoliustionnogo ministra’ v propaganda bol’shevikov (mart-aprel’ 1917 goda) [A. F. Kerensky as Louis Blanc: The Image of the ‘Minister of Revolution’ in Bolshevik propaganda (March-April, 1917)]// Istoriko-filologichekij sbornik v chest’ Liubovi Nikolavenyi Kiselevoi [The Historical-Philological Anthology in Honor of Libov’ Nikolaevna Kiseleva]. Мoscow, 2010. p. 231–242.
• Krasnie protiv krasnykh: K 90-letiu okonhaniya Grazhdanskoi voiny v Rossii [Reds vs. Reds: On the 90th Anniversary of the End of the Russian Civil War]// Neva. 2010. № 11. p. 144–164. Awarded by the editorial board of “Neva” magazine for the best publication in the field of journalism.
• “Revoliutsionnye imena”: Russkaya antroponimika i politicheskoe soznanie [Revolutionary Names: Russian Anthroponymics and Political Consciousness]//The Political History of 20th Century Russia: The 80th Anniversary of Professor Vitaly Ivanovich Startsev: Collection of Scientific Works. St. Petersburg, 2011.
• Intelligent kontsa XIX—nachala XX veka: Problemyi identifikatsii (K postanovke voprosa) [The Intelligent at the End of the 19th-Beginning of the 20th Century: Problems of Identification]// Social History: Daily Journal. 2010. SPB, 2011. p. 9–42.


Projects:  Russia's Great War and Revolution, 1914-1922: The Centennial Reappraisal.


Historical Memory, 28 lectures, 4 ECTS credits. Recently, historians, sociologists and ethnographers have placed a great deal of emphasis on “historical memory,” and have also used the concepts of “social memory,” “cultural memory,” “collective memory,” and the “politics of memory.” In this course, students will become acquainted with various theoretical approaches as well as individual case studies concerning “historical memory.”

WWI as a Topic in National and Foreign Historiography, 28 lectures, 4 ECTS credits. In this course we will explore different aspects of the archeology and historiography of WWI. Topics of particular interest will be the study of diplomatic, military, economic, social, political, and cultural history of the conflict from which the most striking trends in 20th century historiography emerged. In this light, it will be especially important to compare Russian historiography with foreign research.

The Russian Revolution as a Field of Historical Research, 28 lectures, 4 ECTS credits. In this special topics course we will explore different aspects of the historiography of the 1917 revolution. In lectures and seminars students will become acquainted with both classic and new works on this theme. Special attention will be paid to the history of the revolution from the perspective of the so-called “new political history” (political culture, the language of politics, political representation, etc.){/slides}


Students with a Candidate’s Degree in the Historical Sciences

• Rogoznyi, Pavel “Fevral’skaya revoliutsiya 1917 goda i vyshee dukhovenstvo Rossijskoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi [The February Revolution of 1917 and the High Clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church]” (2005). Research associate at the St. Petersburg Institute of History at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Author of the book “Tserkovnaya revoliutsiya 1917 goda [The Church Revolution of 1917].”

• Pavlenko, Tatyana “Protestnoe dvizhenie uchashchikhsya pravoslavnykh seminarij v period Pervoi rossijskoi revoliutsii 1905-1907g [The Protest Movement of Orthodox Seminary Students in the First Russian Revolution of 1905-1907].” Deputy Director of the E. D. Felitsyn Krasnodar State Historical and Archaeological Museum.

• Saginadze, Ella "Obrazy otstavnogo sanovnika: S. I. Vitte i obshchestvennoe mnenie (1906-1915 g) [Images of a Retired Dignitary: Sergei Witte and Public Opinion (1906-1915)]” (2013). Deputy Dean of the Department for Comparative Political Studies at the Northwestern Management Institute of the Russian Academy of National Economy and national service on behalf of the President of the Russian Federation.

• Alexander Reznik "The Left Opposition in RCP(b), 1923-1924" (2014). Associate research fellow at the Centre for Comparative History and Politics (Perm), ESKAS scholarship holder (Scholarships for foreign scholars and artists).

A Short Address to Students and Applicants:

“It seems to me that the History Department at the European University at St. Petersburg is an interesting place to study. Active students can implement a variety of initiatives. For example, in 2007 students conceived of an interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate conference titled ‘Constructing the Soviet.’ The university supported this initiative, and since then a similar conference has taken place every year. Over the years hundreds of talented historians, anthropologists and sociologists have given reports and listened to lectures by renowned specialists. We await new initiatives!”