hero image
Matthew Lenoe - University of Rochester. Rochester, NY, US

Matthew Lenoe Matthew Lenoe

Associate Professor of History | University of Rochester


Matthew Lenoe is a national expert in Russian/Soviet history.

Areas of Expertise (10)

Russian History


History of Mass Media

Soviet Soldiers in World War II

Stalinist Culture and Politics

Russian and Soviet


Russia in East Asia

Russia and the former Soviet Union

Joseph Stalin



Matthew Lenoe Publication Matthew Lenoe Publication







Matthew Lenoe's first book, "Closer to the Masses: Stalinist Culture, Social Revolution and Soviet Newspapers," which examined the origins of high Stalinist culture, including Socialist Realist literature, in the newspaper press of the 1920s, was published by Harvard University Press in 2004. His second, "The Kirov Murder and Soviet History," which used new archival documents on the Kirov murder to demonstrate that Stalin was not involved in orchestrating the murder, came out with Yale University Press, in 2010.

Education (3)

University of Chicago: PhD, Russian History 1997

University of Chicago: MA, Russian History 1993

University of Chicago: BA, General Studies in the Humanities 1988

Selected Media Appearances (6)

It’s time to do away with laws enforcing triumphal national histories

Washington Post  print


Matthew Lenoe says such ‘memory laws’ have become weapons for right-wing nationalists

Media Appearance Image

view more

Russian Soldiers Are Complaining On Social Media – In The Past, Would They Have Been Shot?

Forbes  online


"The negative comments included hints of the desperate military situation, accounts of hunger, cold, homesickness, poor weapons, insomnia, and the like," explained Dr. Matthew E. Lenoe, associate professor of history at the University of Rochester, and author of the book Closer to the Masses: Stalinist Culture, Social Revolution and Soviet Newspapers.

Media Appearance Image

view more

EU leaders pledge increased military aid for Ukraine — live updates

MSN News  online


University of Rochester's Matthew Lenoe called Russia's invasion of its neighbor "a brutal act of aggression with absolutely no justification."

view more

Why it’s time to give the Soviet Union its due for World War II

Washington Post  print


Today is the anniversary of the opening of the 1941 Soviet offensive at the Battle of Moscow: the first major defeat suffered by Nazi Germany and perhaps the most important turning point of World War II in Europe. It is a day to remember the immense losses that Russians and other peoples under Soviet rule suffered in the war, and to acknowledge their central role in Allied victory.

Media Appearance Image

view more

This article was published more than 4 years ago Made by History About Made by History and Contact Right-wing warnings pose far more danger to America than left-wing violence

Washington Post  print


Authoritarians historically have gained power by pointing to non-existent violence from their opponents.

Media Appearance Image

view more

Authoritarian rhetoric about left-wing violence ‘distorted,’ ‘dangerous’

University of Rochester  online


Historical authoritarian regimes or rulers have cemented their power by pointing to non-existing violence from their opponents, argues Matthew Lenoe, associate professor of history and the immediate past chair of the University of Rochester’s history department.

Media Appearance Image

view more

Selected Articles (3)

Fear, Loathing, and Conspiracy: The Kirov Murder as Impetus for Terror

Oxford University Press

Matthew Lenoe


It is generally agreed that in the period 1936–9 there were several distinct waves of terror. The chapter discusses the Kirov assassination of December 1934 as a precipitant of the terror against the former opposition and the elite in general. The assassination surprised Stalin, who was not its organizer, and turned his long-time fear of assassination and conspiracy and mistrust of the police into a rage that became the pretext for his terror against opponents: real, imagined, and possible.

view more

Khruschchev Era Politics and the Investigation of the Kirov Murder

Acta Slavica Iaponica

Matthew Lenoe


The assassination of Sergei Kirov, Leningrad party chief, on December 1, 1934, was a political sensation inside and outside the USSR. Although the killer, a disgruntled Communist named Leonid Nikolaev, insisted in early interrogations that he had acted alone, Soviet police could not accept this. In a Soviet culture where even rotten vegetables on store shelves could signal counterrevolutionary sabotage, investigators interpreted the murder as a conspiracy by hostile capitalist powers, internal “class enemies,” or both.

view more

In Defense of Timasheff’s Great Retreat

Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History

Matthew Lenoe


In a number of commentaries, Nicholas Timasheff has been raked over the coals. It is an easy game to take apart a work that was written 60 years ago without access to archives or even much firsthand reporting from inside the USSR other than the Soviet press itself. Lenoe believes that Timasheff deserves better.

view more