Matthias Neumann graduated with an M.A. in Modern History, Social and Economic History, and Political Science from the Dresden University of Technology, Germany. He completed a PhD on the history of the Communist Youth League (Komsomol) in the early Soviet period at the University of East Anglia and has since joined the School of History as a Lecturer in Modern European History.

His book The Communist Youth League and the Transformation of the Soviet Union, 1917-1932 was published by Routledge in 2011. He is currently editing a volume with Andy Willimott entitled Rethinking the Russian Revolution as Historical Divide: Tradition, Rupture and Modernity which is forthcoming with Routledge in 2017. His new research project examines cultural exchange programmes which enabled American children to visit the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Academic Background

M.A.  Modern History, Social and Economic History, and Political Science; Dresden University of Technology, Germany (2004)

Ph.D. Modern History; University of East Anglia (2008)

All Publications

Neumann, M.


Communism, Youth, and Generations,

in The Cambridge History of Communism : Volume 1. World Revolution and Socialism in One Country, 1917–1941.

Cambridge University Press

ISBN 9781107092846

(Chapter (peer-reviewed))


Neumann, M.


Mobilizing Children: Youth and the Patriotic War Culture in Kiev during World War I,

in Russia’s Great War and Revolution, 1914–1922 : The Centennial Reappraisal Book 2 - Russia’s Home Front, 1914-1922: The Experience of War and Revolution .


pp. 279-306

(Chapter (peer-reviewed))


Neumann, M.


Reforming Communism,

in Socialist History


pp. vi-xiii

UEA Repository



Neumann, M.


"Youth, It's Your Turn!": Generations and the Fate of the Russian Revolution (1917-1932),

in Journal of Social History



pp. 273-304

UEA Repository



Neumann, M.


The Communist Youth League and the Transformation of the Soviet Union, 1917-1932,


ISBN 978-0415559577

UEA Repository



Neumann, M.


Revolutionizing Mind and Soul? Soviet Youth and Cultural campaigns during the New Economic Policy 1921-8,

in Social History


pp. 243-67

UEA Repository



Neumann, M.


Class Ascription and Class Identity – Komsomol'tsy and the Policy of Class during NEP,

in Revolutionary Russia



pp. 175-196

UEA Repository



Key Research Interests

Dr Neumann is particularly interested in the interrelationship between social, cultural and political developments in 20th century European history and the period of revolutionary Russia in particular. His PhD research dealt with the Communist Youth League (Komsomol) in Soviet Russia between 1917-1932. It broadens our understanding of the social and political dimension of membership in the Komsomol during this momentous period in Russian history and in doing sheds light on the complicated interchange between ideology, policy and reality in the league’s evolution and development.

He is currently preparing a new research project examining the children's experience of World War I in the Russian empire. He is also organising a collaborative research project entitled 'Across 1917 – Tradition, Rupture and Modernity in Revolutionary Russia'. Building upon recent academic developments, to help bridge the 1917 divide in Russian/Soviet Studies, the project seeks to enhance our understanding of (Soviet) Russia’s idiosyncratic encounter with ‘modernity’ in the first half of the Twentieth century. 

Dr Neumann is willing to supervise MA and research students interested in various aspects of the history of revolutionary Russia and the history of childhood and youth.

Supervision of PhD-projects to date:

  • ‘Cult of the 'Urka': criminal subculture in the Gulag, 1924-53’
  • ‘Becoming Soviet: Lost Cultural Alternatives in Ukraine, 1917-1933’
  • ‘The Soviet Children’s Picture Book, 1917-1935’
  • ‘Understanding and Treatment of Mental Illness in the Soviet Union after Stalin’

Forthcoming publications:


Rethinking the Russian Revolution as Historical Divide: Tradition, Rupture, and Modernity, edited by Matthias Neumann and Andy Willimott (forthcoming with Routledge in 2017)

‘Communism, Youth, and Generations’, in: The Cambridge History of Communism: Volume I: Socialism in One Country and World Revolution, edited by Silvio Pons and Steve A. Smith (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017)



Book Reviews:

Magaret Peacock, Innocent Weapons: The Soviet and American Politics of Childhood in the Cold War, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014. Pp. 286. In Slavic Review, Vol. 75, No. 2 (Summer 2016), pp. 510-511

Andrew L. Jenks, The Cosmonaut Who Couldn’t Stop Smiling: The Life and Legend of Yuri Gagarin. DeKalb: NIU Press 2012. Pp. 315. In European History Quaterly 44, No. 3 (July 2014), pp. 544-546

Dahlke, Sandra, Individuum und Herrschaft im Stalinismus: Emel’jan Jaroslavskij (1878–1943).

Munich: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 2010. Pp. 484. In: Revolutionary Russia 25, No. 1 (June 2012), pp. 108-111

Thachter, Ian (ed.) Reinterpreting Revolutionary Russia. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2006, 219 pp. In: European History Quarterly 40, No. 3 (July 2010), pp 566-568

Karsch, Stefan: Die bolschewistische Machtergreifung im Gouvernement Voronez (1917 1919). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag 348 pp. In: Revolutionary Russia 20, No. 2 (December 2007), pp 232-234

Apor, Balázs and Behrends, Jan C., et al. (ed.). The Leader Cult  in Communist Dictatorships. Stalin and the Eastern Bloc. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2004, 298 pp. In: Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 7, No. 3 (December 2006), pp 386-388




Teaching Interests

Dr Neumann has been teaching and contributing to a number of modules in Modern European History at the School of History:

Level 4:    

  • Introduction to Modern History
  • Visual(ising) History
  • The Holocaust in History
  • Age of Extremes

Level 5:  

  • Imperial Russian and Soviet History, 1861-1941
  • The Cold War: A New History
  • Propaganda

 Level 6:    

  • Stalin and Stalinism: The USSR 1924-1953
  • Youth in Modern Europe


  • Modernity in Russia


External Activities and Indicators of Esteem

  • Dr Neumann is currently member of the Executive Committee of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES) and the academic conference organisers of the BASEES annual conference in Cambridge.

Administrative Posts

  • Dr Neumann is the Director of Employability and Deputy Head of School