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Social and Political History


The history collection covers all periods of Russian and Soviet history, including all the republics of the former Soviet Union, with a range of political and social viewpoints. The majority of titles are available in the loan collection. They are of interest to general readers, as well as researchers.

The key phases of Russian and Soviet history are covered - from Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and the Decembrists, to the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917, the Civil War, Stalinism, the Great Patriotic War (World War II), the Thaw, the Cold War, perestroika and the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The collection holds over 1,000 volumes on the Great Patriotic War. These include contemporary accounts by British writers (such as Alexander Werth) and Soviet wartime memoirs from partisans, military leaders (Marshals Zhukov, Chuikov and Rokossovsky) and war writers (such as Konstantin Simonov). There is also full coverage of the Siege of Leningrad, the Battle of Stalingrad, the fall of Berlin and other key events.

The social history of the Soviet period includes sections on culture, ethnicity, women and feminism, housing and welfare, trade, economics and peaceful co-existence.

Titles are predominantly in English from both Soviet and Western publishers. For researchers, the collection is supplemented by materials in the photo library and research collections. The art collection includes some rare titles on art of the Great Patriotic War (sculpture, drawings and posters), while there is a large selection of war photographs in the photo library. The Periodicals Collection holds bound volumes of Soviet War News and Soviet War News Weekly, published in London by Sovinformburo during the war. Detailed material on Soviet social projects is also available in the architecture collection.

Two special archives enhance the collection: the Andrew Rothstein Bequest and the Bill Pomeroy Bequest.

Andrew Rothstein Bequest

The Andrew Rothstein Bequest was received in 1997. Andrew Rothstein was one of the major historians of the early Soviet Union. Born of Russian émigré parents in London, he was a journalist, translator and historian, also acting as an economic go-between for Bolshevik Russia and Great Britain before the British Government's recognition of the Soviet Union in 1924.The archive covers Anglo-Soviet relations from 1917 to the 1970s and includes pamphlets, books and personal notes belonging to Andrew Rothstein.

Bill Pomeroy Bequest

The Bill Pomeroy Bequest covers Soviet journalism and Soviet society. Bill Pomeroy was a US-born journalist and author of several books on his life in the Philippines. He had served in the Philippines while in the US forces and later returned to study at the University of the Philippines, before eventually settling in London with his wife Celia. He was awarded a doctorate in history by the USSR Academy of Sciences for his book American Neo-Colonialism: Its Emergence in the Philippines and Asia, published in 1970. His extensive travels in the Soviet Union were the source for two books on life in the USSR.


The politics collection includes Russian and Western views of Russian diplomacy and foreign relations, particularly during the Soviet period. It also covers the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), Marxism-Leninism and political biography.

The CPSU section includes documents of meetings, congresses and policy decisions, covering the period up to the 27th Congress and perestroika. Titles are mainly in Russian and are of interest to researchers.

The Marxism-Leninism section includes the collected works of Lenin and Stalin in Russian and English, pamphlets, biographies and memoirs of key Russian Marxists.

There are also biographies, memoirs and collected works of leading Soviet political figures, including Lenin, Stalin, Molotov, Khrushchev, Gromyko, Andropov, Brezhnev, Chernenko, Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin.

Dennis Ogden Bequest

Dennis Ogden was a journalist, lecturer on Soviet history and trade relations, and former head of the Russian Department in the Faculty of Modern Languages at the University of Westminster. He worked in the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s as a translator and correspondent on the Daily Worker. The Dennis Ogden Bequest includes Dennis's journalistic publications - from his Moscow work to book reviews on Soviet history and society. A large part of the bequest covers his study of Soviet Georgia and the 'national question' in the early 1920s. There are notes, correspondence, drafts and a final copy of his work National Communism in Georgia: 1921-1923, published in 1978. In addition, the archive includes background research, letters and information relating to the article 'Britain and Soviet Georgia, 1921-22', published in the Journal of Contemporary History (April 1988 Vol 23, No 2). The collection also includes newspaper and journal articles collected by Dennis, mainly from the 1980s, and his University of Westminster course notes.


The education collection includes writings on Soviet education in English, as well as theoretical texts by leading Soviet pedagogues (Makarenko, Ushinsky and Krupskaya). There is also a representative range of Soviet educational textbooks from the 1920s-70s.

The Cicely Osmond Collection in the photo library also provides a rich visual resource on Soviet education in the 1920s-70s.


Jack Gaster Bequest

The Jack Gaster Bequest holds pamphlets and journals from the 1930s-90s. It also contains documents and bulletins of a number of organisations, including the SCR Legal Section, International Jurists, the World Peace Council and the British-Soviet Friendship Society. Jack Gaster was a leading international lawyer who also acted for the British trade unions and labour movement. He was a former president of the SCRSS and its legal adviser for many years.


The science collection covers all aspects of Soviet science. Titles are in English and Russian.

The loan collection includes titles on general science, ecology and the environment, mathematics, physics, optics, chemistry, medicine and health (the majority bequeathed by Brian Kirman), and a comprehensive section on the Soviet space programme. The research collections hold books by Michurin and other eminent scientists, as well as a section on military science.


Pioneer poster (Cicely Osmond Collection, SCRSS Library)


Related Links

SCRSS Online Catalogue

Photo Library

Cicely Osmond Collection


Roof-top fire watch during the Siege of Leningrad (SCRSS Photo Library)


Soviet poster: Glory to the Soviet People, Pioneers of the Cosmos, 1963 (SCRSS Library)