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Book Launch | Hero Projects. The Russian Empire and Big Technology from Lenin to Putin

Friday April 19, 2024, at 12:00
Room 24.009 (Ground Floor). Building Mercè Rodoreda 24. UPF Ciutadella Campus

Paul Josephson (Colby College). ChairUmut Özkırımlı (IBEI). DiscussantTatiana Kasperski (Södertörn University)

Registration is required

In Hero Projects, Paul R. Josephson traces how, over the last one hundred years, the Russian tsars, commissars, and oligarchs embraced megaprojects to create the world's largest empire. Built by peasants, gulag prisoners, and Communist volunteers, the wide-ranging projects—including pipelines across the tundra, railroads from Europe to the Pacific Ocean, hydropower stations and canals from the northwest to arid Central Asia, and nuclear facilities—forever altered the landscape, politics, and society.

As Josephson argues, if hero projects were embraced by the public as showcasing technological wonder, they have always ultimately served to enrich the Kremlin and demonstrate the nation's technological prowess on the global stage. And they continue to be a major feature of authoritarian Russian political rule in the twenty-first century; having rebuilt Russia's resource state and pushed a self-proclaimed "renaissance" of nuclear weapons and reactors, Putin has determined in 2022 to expand the empire to its Soviet borders by war on Ukraine, in Crimea, and against Georgia and Moldova.

Paul R. Josephson is a specialist in Soviet and Russian history, the history and politics of twentieth century science and technology, and environmental history.  He first visited the USSR in 1984 and has conducted research in the former Soviet Union including in Ukraine, and in Siberia and the Arctic, for a total of three years. Josephson is the author of 15 books including the forthcoming NUCLEAR RUSSIA and scores of articles and chapters. He is one of the world's foremost specialists on nuclear issues in the Cold War and beyond. He is now writing a global environmental history of the nuclear age. Josephson has lectured in Europe, Asia, South and North America.

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