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W&L’s Richard Bidlack to Lecture on The Leningrad Blockade

Richard A. Bidlack, professor of history at Washington and Lee University, will give his inaugural lecture marking his appointment as the Martin and Brooke Stein Professor of History on Wednesday, March 18, at 4:30 p.m. in the Northen Auditorium of Leyburn Library.

The title of his lecture is “The Leningrad Blockade and Why It Matters.” It is free and open to the public.

The nearly 900-day blockade of Leningrad by German and Finnish armies during World War II resulted in the death of close to one million Leningraders. Based on Bidlack’s extensive research in formerly top-secret Soviet documents, he will discuss several topics, including the tense relationship that existed between Stalin and Leningrad’s political bosses, how ordinary Leningraders tried to endure hunger and extreme cold, as well as how the populace regarded their political leaders and the enemy.

“I will also show how the blockade history affected post-war Soviet life and politics and has helped shape President Vladimir Putin’s portrayal of Russia and its place in the world,” said Bidlack.

Bidlack joined the faculty of Washington and Lee in 1987. He earned his B.A. from Wake Forest University, his M.A. and Ph.D. from Indiana University and also has a Russian and East European Institute Area Studies Certificate. He is the co-founder of the Russian Area Studies Program at W&L.

Bidlack is the co-author of “The Leningrad Blockade, 1941-1944: A New Documentary History from the Soviet Archives” (2012). He has also written a short monograph, “Workers at War: Factory Workers and Labor Policy in the Siege of Leningrad,” in “The Carl Beck Papers” at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Russian and East European Studies (1991).

He has written 12 articles and book chapters including “Contending with Stalin: Smolny’s Policy Differences with the Kremlin during the Darkest Days of the Leningrad Blockade” in “Russia’s Century of Revolutions: Parties, People, Places” (2012); “Propaganda and Public Opinion” in “The Soviet Union at War” (2010); and “Lifting the Blockade on the Blockade: New Research on the Siege of Leningrad,” in “Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History” (2009).

Bidlack is the author of encyclopedia entries and reviews and has also critiqued book-length manuscripts for Indiana University Press, University of Pittsburgh Press, Cambridge University Press, Palgrave Macmillan and Westview.

He is currently doing research on Protestants in the Soviet Union from 1945-1985 and is writing a textbook, “Russia and Eurasia” (The World Today Series).