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My thesis focuses on the life and writings (poetry, letters, diaries, memoirs, and philosophical essays) of the prominent Soviet dissident and son of Sergei Esenin, Alexander Esenin-Vol'pin. Drawing on theoretical insights of the Russian Formalists and Lydiya Ginzburg, I scrutinize differing conceptions of Alexander Esenin-Vol'pin's personality that he constructed in his many writings about himself in dialogue with major literary and intellectual traditions. I also look into how Esenin-Vol'pin's poetic imagery and ethical ideas went through initial preparation in his autobiographical texts. Using a substantial amount of archival sources, I try to bring together Esenin-Vol'pin's literary, intellectual and political biography.


Gross, Andrei. Odna Rossiya – dve istorii. Neozhidannie vpechatleniya ot istoricheskogo parka “Rossiya – moya istoriya” v Rostove-na-Donu [One Russia – two histories. Unexpected impressions of the historical park ‘Russia – my history’ in Rostov-on-Don], Istoricheskaya ekspertiza, 2018, № 4. pp. 273-282. (in Russian). 

Gross, Andrei, Ponomareva, Maria. Kibernetika, teoriya demokratii i neoliberal'nyi diskurs v sovetskom samizdate 1970-h gg. [Cybernetics, theory of democracy and neoliberal discourse in Soviet Samizdat in 1970s], Izvestiya vuzov Severo-Kavkazskogo regiona. Obshchestvennye nauki. 2019, № 2. pp. 74-81. (in Russian).

Gross, Andrei. Moralnaya filosofiya dlya svobodnoi Rossii [Moral philosophy for free Russia (in memory of Alexander Esenin-Vol'pin)], 12 May 2020: (in Russian).

Gross, Andrei. Kak dissidenti s pomosh'yu kibernetiki pitalis' izmenit' mir [How the Soviet dissidents tried to change the world with cybernetics]: Arzamas.Academy (in Russian).

Gross, Andrei. Formation of Early Dissident Movements Ideology in USSR in 1960s Years: Ethics of Alexander Yesenin-Volpin. Nauchnyi dialog, 2021. № 11(2): 376-394. (In Russian).

Gross, Andrei, Ponomareva, Maria. Dissident Subjectivity: Moral Quests and Self-fashioning in the Life, Autobiographical Texts and Poetry of Alexander Esenin-Volpin (1930-1960s), Voprosy Istorii, 2022, № 6(2): 140-154. (In Russian).


Anti-soviet – republican? The Soviet ‘democratic’ dissidents’ discourses of (un)freedom, December 2018, Moscow (Faculty of Law, Higher School of Economics).

Cybernetics, theory of democracy and neoliberal discourse in Soviet samizdat in the 1970s, March 2019, Moscow (International Memorial Society).

The ethics of the dissident movement and the ‘small deeds theory’ in the 1960s: the case of Alexander Ginzburg's "repentance'', September 2019, Moscow (Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences)

The beginning of Alexander Esenin-Vol'pin’s political biography: arrest and exile in 1949-1953, June 2020, Iofe Fund, International Memorial Society, Saint Petersburg.

Dissident subjectivity: the (late)Soviet personality beyond the boundaries of "the Soviet" (the case of Alexander Esenin-Vol'pin), May 2021, European University at St.Petersburg. 

Awards,  grants

German Historical Institute in Moscow scholarship for postgraduate students (2020)

Russian Foundation for Basic Research grant for PhD students (2020-2022)

Hill Foundation Scholarship (2020-2023)