January 11, 2005

Greetings from Moscow

Posted by Ed

In recent weeks, as you may or may not have noticed, I haven't been the most active of bloggers. There are several different reasons for this, but one of them really stands out: last Thursday I left the United States for nine months of research in Russia. In the weeks before I left, I was too busy to do much reading, thinking, or writing, and my spare moments were taken up by completely different sorts of activities. Now that I'm here, I expect to begin blogging again semi-regularly, but I'll still need to figure out exactly what I'll be writing about.

The main point of my trip to Russia will be to do the research for my doctoral dissertation, a study of party discipline in the Soviet Union between 1945 and 1961. (In extremely simple terms, I'll be looking at why and how individual Communists were expelled from, and censured by, the party for their personal behavior.) I'll be in Russia until roughly the start of October, spending somewhere between a third and a half of my time in Moscow and the rest in several provincial centers. (I haven't decided which ones yet, but Ivanovo, Saratov, Ekaterinburg, Omsk, and Tver' are all candidates. I don't plan to go to Siberia until at least April or so, though.)

For now, I don't know how often I'll be blogging--probably once every few days while I'm here in Moscow and less often while I'm in the provinces. I'll probably write a bunch of entries on random everyday subjects that interest me--the idiosyncracies of Russian supermarkets, the joys of the Moscow metro, or the wonderful world of Russian bookstores, say. I'll also probably write some entries related to my archival work, though I probably won't want to discuss my research in too much detail. (I don't think I'll want to write publicly about annoying archive workers I encounter, fantastic archival discoveries I make, or brilliant thoughts that occur to me.) I'll probably also discuss my travels on this blog, though I hope to avoid turning this site into a typical livejournal, loaded with personal details of limited interest to anyone who doesn't know me.

My trip so far has been quite routine. The fearsome Russian winter has been rather mild, so far--there's snow on the ground, but the slush is much more of a pain. (My biggest annoyance, in fact, is the water dripping from the roofs of buildings, though I expect the temperature to start dropping any day now.)

Posted by Ed at January 11, 2005 06:45 AM

Good luck with the research. Being in the archives is always fun. We'll look forward to hearing about your trips when you have time to write.

Posted by: Caleb at January 11, 2005 07:05 AM

While I share your dislike of "what happened to me in Paris" travelogues, I love well-written and insightful accounts of places people visit. Please do post on some of these things.

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