Geoffrey Hosking

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Geoffrey Alan Hosking OBE FBA FRHistS (born 28 April 1942)[1][2] is a British historian of Russia and the Soviet Union and formerly Leverhulme Research Professor of Russian History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) at University College, London. He also co-founded Nightline.


Born in Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland, Hosking studied Russian at King's College, Cambridge, earning an MA, before studying Russian history at Moscow State University. He then studied European history at St. Antony's College, Oxford, before earning a PhD in modern Russian history at Cambridge.


He taught at the University of Essex as a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, and then Reader from 1966 to 1984, before joining SSEES, where he held the established chair of Russian History from 1984 to 2007.[3] He also held a Leverhulme Research Professorship in Russian History at SSEES from 1999 to 2004.[4]

He has been a visiting lecturer in political science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a research fellow at Columbia University's Russian Institute, and a visiting professor at the University of Cologne.

Hosking presented the BBC Reith Lectures in 1988.[5] His aim was to explain the dramatic changes of the Mikhail Gorbachev era in their historical context.

Most of Hosking's works until this point had dealt with twentieth-century Russia and the Soviet Union, but after the collapse of the Soviet system he turned his attention to earlier periods of Russian history, producing Russia: People and Empire, 1552-1917 and Russia and the Russians. In these books, Hosking emphasized the polarity between the Russian Imperial idea (denoted by the term 'Rossia') and Russia's ethnic nationhood (defined by the older term of 'Rus').[6] According to Hosking, the development of the Russian Empire prevented the development of Russia as a nation state. In his next book Rulers and Victims - The Russians in the Soviet Union, Hosking examined aspects of this polarity in the Soviet context.

Hosking retired from UCL SSEES in December 2007. The established chair that he held was reinaugurated in 2008 as the Sir Bernard Pares chair of Russian History. Its first incumbent was Hosking's former research student, Simon Dixon. From 2016 to 2017, he served as a director/trustee of the School of Civic Education in London (formerly the School of Political Studies in Moscow),[7] which forms part of an association of schools of political studies, under the auspices of the Directorate General of Democracy (“DGII”) of the Council of Europe.[8]

Hosking was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to higher education and to students.[9][10]


  • The Russian Constitutional Experiment: Government and the Duma 1907–1914 (1973)
  • Beyond Socialist Realism: Soviet Fiction since Ivan Denisovich (1980)
  • A History of the Soviet Union (1985)[11]
  • The Awakening of the Soviet Union (1991)[12]
  • The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union from Within (1992, Second Enlarged Edition of A History of the Soviet Union)
  • A History of the USSR: 1917–1991 (1992)
  • Russia: People and Empire, 1552–1917 (1998) Harvard University Press ISBN 0-674-78119-8
  • Russia and the Russians (2001)[13]
  • Rulers and Victims: The Russians in the Soviet Union (2005)
  • Epochs of European Civilization: Reformation to the Twenty-First Century (2006) audio lecture. University College London
  • Trust: Money, Markets and Society (2010)[14]
  • Trust: A History (2014) Oxford University Press


  1. ^ ‘HOSKING, Prof. Geoffrey Alan’, Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012 ; online edn, Nov 2012 accessed 12 Nov 2013
  2. ^ "Prof Geoffrey Hosking, FBA, FRHistS Authorised Biography – Debrett's People of Today, Prof Geoffrey Hosking, FBA, FRHistS Profile". Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Professor Geoffrey Hosking - British Academy". British Academy.
  5. ^ "The Paradox of Gorbachev's Reforms, Geoffrey Hosking: The Rediscovery of Politics: 1988, The Reith Lectures - BBC Radio 4". BBC.
  6. ^ "GEOFFREY HOSKING". The Free Library.
  7. ^ "SCHOOL OF CIVIC EDUCATION filing history".
  8. ^ "Schools of Political Studies". Schools of Political Studies.
  9. ^ "No. 61092". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2014. p. N13.
  10. ^ "2015 New Year Honours List" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 January 2015.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Hosking, Geoffrey A. (13 April 1991). The Awakening of the Soviet Union. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674055513 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ "Russia and the Russians: A History from Rus to the Russian Federation - Reviews in History".
  14. ^ "Professor Geoffrey Hosking". Archived from the original on 20 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.

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