Alex Hazanov

Ph.D. Student

BA, summa cum laude, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2007, MA, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel


Benjamin Nathans
Peter Holquist
Thomas Childers

Proposed Dissertation:

Porous Empire: Foreign visitors and the post-Stalin transformation of the Soviet Union.

Personal Statement:
My dissertation studies the the interaction among foreign visitors, the Soviet state and Soviet society in the post-Stalin era. It aims to reconstruct both the socio-cultural impact of the tens of millions of foreigners who visited the Soviet Union between the late 1950s and the early 1980s, and the dilemmas the Soviet authorities faced as they negotiated the clashing imperatives of Cold War cultural diplomacy and their fears of foreign ideological and moral contamination. The myriad everyday personal, commercial, and political interactions between foreigners and Soviet citizens  constituted, I will argue, a powerful transnational network the Soviet authorities could not sever. This existence of this network weakened  the ideological control mechanisms of the Soviet party-state and demonstrates the extent to which the post-Stalin Soviet Union became enmeshed in the emerging global regime of ever-growing human, information and capital flows. The Soviet experience of foreign travel and its contribution to the disintegration of the socialist project constitutes therefore a case study of globalization and its impact on the late 20th century erosion of authoritarian regimes and non-capitalist socio-economical systems. By studying the Soviet Union's foreign encounters, I aim to place the post-Stalin era in a global comparative context, to contribute to the growing literature on the influence of transnational forces on Soviet history, and to integrate the Soviet experience into our understanding of the emergence of the globalized world order.
Research Interests: 

Twentieth Century Russian and Soviet history
Cold War history
Late 20th century international history
The history and sociology of travel