Elena Racheva

Elena Racheva



Elena Racheva

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Elena Racheva is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Sociology. She contributes to the CrimGov project, exploring the role of criminal fraternity vory-v-zakone (thieves-in-law) in the history of the Soviet GULAG and its role in criminal governance in the Soviet and post-Soviet Russia.

Elena finished her DPhil project in Medieval and Modern Languages at the University of Oxford in 2022. Her thesis was focused on the legacies of wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya for contemporary Russian society as well as the militarisation and patriotic mobilisation of Russia. She is now working on transforming her thesis into a book.

Previously, Elena worked as a special correspondent for independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, covering different political and social issues in the former Soviet countries. She was a Fellow of Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2015-2016) in Washington, DC and published a book 'Article 58. Unseized. Stories of GULAG Survivors and Perpetrators' (2016), translated into four languages. She holds an MA in History from The University of Manchester and an MA in Journalism from The Moscow State University.

Elena’s main research interests are the legitimisation and justification of violence, its perpetrators, and its place in the popular consciousness.