Alexander Statiev

Associate Professor


Alex StatievI started my career as an engineer at the Russian TV and then worked for the Geophysical Institute of the Soviet Academy of Science in the area of earthquake prediction. After moving to Canada, I found myself short of earthquakes and had to change my profession. I chose history; that’s what I have been doing ever since. 

I have worked on pro- and anti-Soviet resistance during World War II, Soviet counterinsurgency, Soviet and Romanian military history, Soviet deportations and Russian war memory.


  • B.Sc. Moscow Mining Institute
  • M.A. University of Calgary
  • PhD University of Calgary

Research and teaching interests

  • Soviet Union
  • Eastern Europe
  • Totalitarianism
  • Popular resistance
  • Counterinsurgency
  • Military history

Courses taught

  • HIST 265 Eastern Europe Since 1945
  • HIST 278 USSR in World War II
  • HIST 316 The Russian Revolution
  • HIST 356 20th Century Russia
  • HIST 401A Major topics in European Military History
  • HIST 401B Research Seminar in Modern European History
  • HIST 604 Theory and Practice of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency

Key Areas of Graduate Supervision

  • The Soviet Union and imperial Russia
  • Social conflicts
  • Forced migrations
  • Military history

Current projects

I have two current major projects: Soviet adventure tourism and the battle of the Caucasus in 1942. The first project investigates non-commercial multi-week trekking, rafting, climbing and skiing during the communist period. My goal is to analyze the culture of Soviet adventure tourism and pinpoint its peculiarities vis-à-vis western adventure tourism. The second project addresses the German attempt to cross the Caucasus Ridge and facilitate a major offensive towards the oilfields of Iran that was to satisfy Germany’s need for oil. The Caucasus Ridge was the highest battleground of World War II. I plan to find out why the elite German mountain formations were opposed merely by hotchpotch Soviet units who had never been in the mountains, how these units could defeat the battle-hardened Germans and what price they paid for their victory. 

Recent publications

  • “Soviet Partisan Violence Against Soviet Civilians: Targeting Their Own”, Europe-Asia Studies 66/9 (2014), 1525-52.
  • “The Soviet Union”, in Philip Cooke and Ben Shepherd, eds., European Resistance in the Second World War (Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2013), 188-212.
  • “‘La Garde meurt mais ne se rend pas!’: Once Again on the 28 Panfilov Heroes”, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, (October 2012), 13 (4), 769-798.
  • “Blocking Units in the Red Army”, The Journal of Military History, 76(2), April 2012, 475-495.
  • “Penal Units in the Red Army”, Europe-Asia Studies, 62(5), July 2010, 721-747.
  • The Soviet Counterinsurgency in the Western Borderlands. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, 368 pp.
  • “Soviet Ethnic Deportations: Intent versus Outcome”, Journal of Genocide Research, 11(2-3), June 2009, 243-264.
  • “Was Smuglianka a Lunatic or a Siguranţa’s Agent-Provocateur? Peculiarities of the Soviet Partisan Struggle in the Western Borderlands”, The Journal of Strategic Studies, 31/5 (October 2008), 743-770.
  • “Romanian Naval Doctrine and Its Tests in the Second World War”, War in History, 15 (2) 2008, 191-210.
  • “Motivations and Goals of the Soviet Deportations in the Western Borderlands”, The Journal of Strategic Studies, 28/6 (December 2005), 977-1003.
  • “The Nature of Anti-Soviet Armed Resistance, 1942-44: the North Caucasus, the Kalmyk Autonomous Republic, and Crimea”, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 6/2 (2005), 285-318.
  • “Antonescu’s Eagles against Stalin’s Falcons: the Romanian Air Force (1920-1941)”, The Journal of Military History 66 (October 2002), 1085-1114.
  • “When an Army Becomes ‘Merely a Burden’: Romanian Defence Policy and Strategy (1918-1941)”, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies 13/2 (June 2000), 67-85.
  • “The Ugly Duckling of the Armed Forces: Romanian Armour (1919-1941)”, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies 12/2 (June 1999), 220-244.
University of Waterloo
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