Alexander Statiev



Alex Statiev
I 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 Russia in World War II
  • HIST 316 The Russian Revolution
  • HIST 356 20th Century Russia
  • HIST 359 Fascism beyond Germany
  • HIST 422 War, strategy and power in 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 am studying Soviet adventure tourism: 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.  

Recent publications

  • “The Thorns of the Wild Rose: Russian Ordeals at the Shipka Pass during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878”, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies 32/3 (July-September 2019), 367-387.
  • “The Dargo Expedition of 1845: Lessons Learned and Unlearned” The Journal of Slavic Military Studies 32/2 (April-June 2019), 210-234.
  • At War’s Summit: The Red Army and the Struggle for the Caucasus Mountains in World War II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).
  • “The Strategy of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists in Its Quest for a Sovereign State, 1939–1950,” the Journal of Strategic Studies (15 October 2018), 1-29.
  • “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.