Elizabeth Teague OBE (1945-2022)

Dr Elizabeth Teague, OBE   SCR Member (from 2013)

Elizabeth Teague, who sadly passed away after a short illness, was an analyst on Russia and a very active member of the Russian and Eurasian studies community at Oxford. At the university those she worked with were considered friends, rather than colleagues. She drew on her extensive knowledge and shrewd judgment to help countless students, as well as staff, think deeply about the rapidly changing environment in the former Soviet states. She was a frequent diner in College, as a very regular participant in its Monday Seminar. From 2013 she convened the Press Group, with Julie Newton and later Anna Davis. This weekly discussion group in College for postgraduate students of Russian and East European Studies provided a venue for lively analysis of recent news items and important themes, often with visiting speakers. Elizabeth was generous with her time, mentoring many students and enjoying walks with them around the University Parks, the Botanic Gardens, and Port Meadow. Over many years she served as a bridge between the university world and the Foreign Office, drawing on her contacts for example to find speakers for academic seminars. Her open, warm and down to earth personality made her the ideal interlocutor.

Elizabeth graduated from the universities of Surrey and Birmingham, spending a year in the USSR as a British Council student in the mid-1970s. Her career as an analyst of Soviet affairs began at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich in 1980. In the 1990s she worked as an adviser to the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities in the Hague and she spent a year at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington D.C. In 1997 she moved to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, as a Research Analyst in what became the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Directorate. Here she helped inform policy on Russian domestic and foreign policy, until her retirement in 2012, with periods working in the British Embassies in Moscow and Minsk. Numerous scholars will remember Elizabeth from those years as a central figure bringing scholars together with FCO research analysts to think about the tumultuous changes in Russia from the Yeltsin presidency to the Putin’s re-election in 2012. In 2013 Elizabeth was awarded an OBE.  She will be remembered fondly by a generation of students, scholars and specialists.

Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre

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