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Durham University

Department of History

Staff Profile

Dr Lara Douds

Assistant Professor (20th Century Russian History) in the Department of History

Contact Dr Lara Douds (email at

Lara Douds is a specialist in the history of the institutions and political culture of the early Soviet government. Her current research explores continuity across the revolutionary divide of 1917, specifically the Soviet government’s inheritance, in structure, culture and practice, from the Tsarist past and how this legacy interacted with revolutionary ideology and circumstance.

Her first monograph Inside Lenin’s Government: Power, Ideology and Practice in the Early Soviet State was published by Bloomsbury in February 2018. This book is the first English-language, archive-based study to examine the practical functioning and internal culture of the early Soviet cabinet, the Council of People’s Commissars, to explore its period as a coalition government, and to elucidate the process by which governmental decision-making authority migrated from ‘state’ to supreme Communist Party bodies during the early years of Soviet power, in part due to the dysfunction generated by experimental ‘democratizing’ features introduced by Soviet state-builders.

Lara is currently working on the volume Liberation to Tyranny: The Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution (forthcoming with IB Tauris), contributing a chapter ‘Lenin’s Living Link? The Soviet Government Reception, 1917-21’ and co-editing alongside her collaborators Professor James Harris (Leeds) and Dr Peter Whitewood (York St John).

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Douds, Lara (Accepted). Executive Power in the Early Soviet Government: From State to Party, 1917-22. In Russia's Great War and Revolution. Read, Chris, Lindenmeyer, Adele & Waldron, Peter Slavica. 3.

Edited book

  • Douds, Lara, Harris, James & Whitewood, Peter (Forthcoming). From Liberation to Tyranny: the Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution. I.B. Tauris.

Journal Article

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