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Steven Emmett Harris
University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, VA 22401-5300)
Flying Aeroflot: A History of the Soviet Union in the Jet Age

Research and writing of two chapters for a book on the history of the Soviet airline Aeroflot.

My book project, “Flying Aeroflot,” uses commercial aviation to rethink how Soviet state and society evolved from the end of World War II to the communist system’s collapse in 1991. Aeroflot’s dramatic growth from an undeveloped sector under Stalin to the “world’s largest airline” under Brezhnev tells the broader but still little understood story of the Soviet Union’s postwar transformation from an inward-looking terror state focused on industrial production to a superpower that wagered its legitimacy on fulfilling consumer needs at home and establishing a formidable global presence abroad. By examining Aeroflot as a microcosm of the Soviet system, my project explains the country’s broader, sustained growth in the postwar era as the result of the state’s successful attempts to create a consumer-oriented, but not consumer-driven economy, propelled by technological development, global expansion, and the legitimizing discourse of Marxist-Leninist ideology.

Project fields:
Cultural History; International Studies; Russian History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/15/2021 – 7/15/2021