Stephen Mark Kotkin is Professor of History and director of the Program in Russian Studies at Princeton University. He specializes in the history of the Soviet Union and has recently begun to research Eurasia more generally.
Kotkin graduated from the University of Rochester in 1981 and studied history under Reginald Zelnik and Martin Malia at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his M.A. in 1983 and his Ph.D. in 1988.
He is perhaps best known for Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization, which exposes the realities of everyday life in the Soviet city of Magnitogorsk during the 1930s. He published Armageddon Averted, a short history of the fall of the Soviet Union, in 2001. He is currently working on a multi-century history of Siberia, focusing on the Ob River valley.
Kotkin frequently writes on Russian and Eurasian affairs for the popular American press, particularly The New Republic. He is currently a W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
While primarily known for his academic merits, Kotkin and his work was popularized and propelled to fame also by the rap song, Talking Kotkin, Speaking Bolshevik, which praised his magnum opus, Magnetic Mountain.
- Behind the Urals: An American Worker in Russia's City of Steel (editor, author of preface), Indiana University Press, 1989.
- Steeltown, USSR: Soviet Society in the Gorbachev Era, University of California Press, 1992.
- Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization, University of California Press, 1995.
- Rediscovering Russia in Asia: Siberia and the Russian Far East, M. E. Sharpe, 1995.
- Review Article: "1991 and the Russian Revolution: Sources, Conceptual Categories, Analytical Frameworks," The Journal of Modern History Vol. 70, No. 2, June 1998
- Mongolia in the 20th Century: Landlocked Cosmopolitan (editor), M. E. Sharpe, 2000.
- Political Corruption in Transition: A Sceptic's Handbook Central European University Press, 2002.
- Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of the Modern World (1300 to the Present) (co-author), W. W. Norton & Company, 2002.
- Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000, Oxford University Press, 2003.
- The Cultural Gradient: The Transmission of Ideas in Europe, 1789-1991 (co-author), Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
- Korea at the Center: Dynamics of Regionalism in Northeast Asia (co-author), M. E. Sharpe, 2005.
- Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment (co-author), J. T. Gross, 2009.