Dr Zbigniew Wojnowski

Associate Professor in Soviet History


I am a historian of Ukraine, Russia, and Central Asia. I obtained my PhD from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at UCL in 2011. Before joining Oxford in 2022, I spent several years working at Nazarbayev University in Astana and the University of Roehampton in London.

My research has focused on interethnic relations and imperial dynamics in the USSR. My book entitled The Near Abroad: Socialist Eastern Europe and Soviet Patriotism in Ukraine examines how the flow of people and ideas across borders shaped Ukrainian and Soviet identities after the death of Stalin. I have also published on identity politics in Crimea, the role of popular culture in the Ukrainian national project, and the impact of de-Stalinisation in the USSR’s Central Asian peripheries.

My current work seeks to extend the study of Soviet identity politics into the 1980s and the 1990s, as well as to better integrate Soviet Central Asia into histories of late socialism and the Cold War. I am writing a book which examines the collapse of the USSR and the advent of capitalism in the region through the prism of Soviet and post-Soviet show business., This project analyses how economic reform transformed approaches to entrepreneurship, patterns of cultural consumption, and the limits of permissible expression in the late Soviet and early post-Soviet periods. I am also working on the environmental history of Kazakhstan in the late twentieth century.

I would be keen to supervise research students working on any aspect of the history of non-Russian republics of the USSR, the history of systemic transformation in the USSR and its successor states in the late twentieth century, and the role of the USSR in the Cold War.

Research Disciplines: History 

Research Keywords: Cold War, the Soviet bloc, systemic transformation, popular music

Countries/Regions: Ukraine, Kazakhstan, USSR, Central Asia, East-Central Europe

Selected Publications: 


Other Peer-Reviewed Publications

Other Publications