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Dr Mark B. Smith

Dr Mark B. Smith

University Lecturer in Twentieth-Century European History

Subject groups/Research projects

Modern European History:

Departments and Institutes

King's College:

Research Interests

Mark B. Smith’s primary research interest is the history of the Soviet Union in its domestic and international contexts. He also has more general interests in East-West connections during the Cold War, urban history, the history of modern dictatorships, and in Russian history in the longue durée.

Mark has written widely about life in the Soviet Union, from property to elections, from law to class, and from cities to pensions. His work has usually focused on the post-1945 period and has addressed the questions of how and why the Soviet Union became a stable and durable society. He has written a book on the post-war mass housing programme and a sequence of articles on the Soviet ‘welfare state’. He continues to develop research articles on his Soviet social welfare project.

Mark is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He writes a blog on Russian history, Beyond the Kremlin, and occasionally tweets @beyondkremlin.

Research Supervision

Mark welcomes enquiries from potential PhD and MPhil students interested in any aspect of the history of the Soviet Union.


MPhil in Modern European History: 'The Soviet Union and Russia since 1970: Contemporary History in Practice' (not running, 2017-18)

Part II: ‘Stalinism and Soviet Life’

Part I: Papers 17, 18

Director of Studies in History and History & Modern Languages (Part I first years), King's College

Key Publications


Property of Communists: The Urban Housing Program from Stalin to Khrushchev (Northern Illinois University Press, 2010)

Journal special issue

Edited with Moritz Foellmer, Urban Societies in Europe, in Contemporary European History 24:4 (2015)

Articles & chapters

  • 'Faded red paradise: welfare and the Soviet city after 1953', Contemporary European History 24:4 (2015): 597-615
  • ‘The withering away of the danger society: the pensions reforms of 1956 and 1964 in the Soviet Union’, Social Science History 39:1 (2015): 129-48
  • with Moritz Foellmer, 'Urban societies in Europe since 1945: towards an historical interpretation', Contemporary European History 24:4 (2015): 475-91
  • ‘The life of the Soviet worker’, in Simon Dixon (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Modern Russian History (Oxford University Press, 2016; currently available online)
  • ‘Peaceful coexistence at all costs: Cold War exchanges between Britain and the Soviet Union in 1956’, Cold War History 12:3 (2012): 537-58
  • ‘Social rights in the Soviet dictatorship: the constitutional right to welfare from Stalin to Brezhnev’, Humanity 3:3 (2012): 385-406
  • ‘Popular sovereignty and constitutional rights in the USSR’s Supreme Soviet elections of February 1946’, in Ralph Jessen and Hedwig Richter (eds), Voting for Stalin and Hitler: Elections under Twentieth Century Dictatorships (Campus Verlag, 2011): 59-80
  • ‘Khrushchev’s promise to eliminate the urban housing shortage: rights, rationality and the communist future’ in Melanie Ilic and Jeremy Smith (eds), State and Society Under Nikita Khrushchev (Routledge, 2009): 26-45
  • ‘Individual forms of ownership in the urban housing fund of the USSR, 1944-64’, Slavonic and East European Review, 86:2 (2008): 283-305
Book reviews
  • Cultural and Social History, Democratization, English Historical Review, Europe-Asia StudiesH-Memory, Journal of Contemporary History, Journal of Modern HistoryReviews in History, Russian ReviewSlavonic and East European ReviewSlavic ReviewSlovo, Social History of Medicine