Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - History of Eastern Europe

Prof. Dr. Oksana Nagornaia

wiss. Mitarb.
Prof. Dr. Oksana Nagornaia
research assistant

Research focus

Transnational History

Environmental History

Soviet Cultural Diplomacy during the Cold War

Prisoners of the WWI

History didactics

Museum pedagogy


Current Research project Environmental History of the WWI


The aim of this project is to reconstruct the wartime and toxic landscapes of the Eastern Front (using the example of the Austrian province of Galicia) by investigating the effects of war on the environment and by considering measures to demilitarize battlefields. The project understands landscape as a natural space or environment that is simultaneously an actor of historical processes, an object of human influence and social constructions. The effects of industrial warfare on the environment of Galicia are examined on the basis of the "scorched earth" policy, large-scale flooding projects, the ruthless exploitation of natural resources in the occupied territories and the medicalization of occupation practices. An important aspect of the research is the toxic legacy of the war in Eastern Europe, which determined the trends of military and environmental policy in the interwar period. The research is carried out in informal cooperation with the University of Vienna.



1994-1999 Study at the Chelyabinsk State University, graduated with high honors, qualification "Historian; teacher of history"

1999-2001 Postgraduate studies at the Chelyabinsk State Pedagogical University


Science qualification

2002 - Dissertation in Modern and Contemporary History "National Myth Tannenberg and the political culture of Germany (1914-1934)"

2011 Habilitation in Russian History “Russian prisoners of the First World War in Germany (1914-1922)”


Scholarships, grants, research projects

2023 – Alumni Fellowship of the Gerda-Henkel-Foundation “Militarised Environment in the Strategic, Medical and Technical Discourses of the Interbellum”

2021-2022 International research project “Great War and the Anthropocene: 'Imperial Debris' and Environmental Change in Central-Eastern Europe”, PI of Russian Researchers (

2021 DFG cooperation project of Bielefeld University and Yaroslavl State Pedagogical University within the framework of the research project "Transnational Subjectivities in Global Conflict: Individual Spaces and Communicative Networks during the 'Cold War' (1945-1991)".

2016-2018 Russian Science Foundation, head of collective project “Soviet Cultural Diplomacy in the Cold War (1945-1989)”

2015 Fellowship of the German Historical Institute in Moscow. Project “Soviet Cultural Diplomacy in the socialist’s camp”

2012, 2013 Young Eastern European Fellowship, Center for Contemporary History (Potsdam, Germany)

2011-2012 President's Program for the support of young scientists, head of collective project "The Great War in Russia and Germany: commemorative politics and cultural memory (1914-1941)”

2010 Visiting Researcher at the Humboldt University Berlin, project "East German students in the USSR in 1950-60-ies."

2004-2005 Fellowship of the Gerda-Henkel-Foundation «POWs of the WWI in the Russian public communication (1914-1925)»


Organisation of international conferences and summer schools (since 2016)


2023 Workshop “Dis-/connecting the world: subjectivities, networks, and transcultural encounters across Cold war boundaries (Bielefeld)

2023 International Conference “Embattled nature: men and landscapes on the Eastern Front of WWI” (Vienna)

2022 Young Researchers Colloquium of the German-Russian Historical Commission “The collapse of the

Soviet Union and the end of the GDR as historical caesuras” (Duesseldorf)

2021 Lecture Series (online) "Cold War at First Hand: Individual Dimensions of Global Conflict" in partnership with the DHI Moscow and Bielefeld University

2021 Workshop for master students “Bringing the Past to Life: Concepts and Practices in Public History” (Yaroslavl) in partnership with the DHI Moscow and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation

2019 Young Researchers Colloquium of the German-Russian Historical Commission "History and the Present" in cooperation with HU-Berlin (Yaroslavl)

2018 International research conference “Socialist Cultural Diplomacy of the ХХth century: institutes, actors, discourses” (Moscow)

2019 DAAD Summer School for Russian and German Students "Applied History" (Yaroslavl)

2016 DAAD Summer School for Russian and German Students “Ethnopolitical Developments in Times of Globalisation: State, Region and Local Communities in the Post-Soviet Space” (Chelyabinsk)


Most important publications in German and English in last years

  1. Nagornaia O., Raeva T. (2023). Stalins »Kulturattachés«. Sowjetische Kulturdiplomatie im beginnenden Kalten Krieg // Kontrollregime und Stabilitätserwartungen im Spätsozialismus. Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung. S. 45-60.
  2. Nagornaia O., von Lingen K. (2023). Conflict landscapes of the Great War: an interdisciplinary approach to the spatial and ecological dimension of military history, in: Quaestio Rossica. 11, № 2. P. 571–585. DOI 10.15826/qr.2023.2.806.
  3. Nagornaja O. (2023). Geschlechterspezifische Partizipationsmodelle in der sowjetischen Kulturdiplomatie des Kalten Krieges, in: Partizipation und geschlecht Handlungsspielräume von Frauen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert/ G. Gumbel, G. Pieri, C. Schneider, S. Schraut. Stuttgart: Ulrike Helmer Verlag, 2023. S. 265-276.
  4. Nagornaja O. (2022). Wissenstransfer hinter der ideologischen Verpackung? Sowjetisch-kubanischer Ausbildungs- und Wissenschaftsaustausch im Zeichen des Kalten Krieges, in: Schulte-Beerbuehl M., Schnurmann C (Hrsg.). Wissenstransfer in globalgeschichtlicher Perspektive: Institutionen – Akteure – Medien. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. S. 97–110.
  5. Golubinov Ya, Nagornaya O. (2022). Embattled nature: men and landscapes on the Eastern Front of WWI, in: Science, Technology, Environment and Medicine in Russia’s Great War and Revolution, 1914-1922. Anthony J. Heywood, Scott W. Palmer and Julia A. Lajus (eds.). Bloomington, Indiana : Slavica. Р. 333-351.
  6. Nagornaja O. (2019). „Nicht Freunde, nur Verbuendete“. Entante -Kriegsgefangene in deutschen Lagern, in: Kriegsgefangenschaft 1914-1919. Kollektive Erfahrung, kulturelles Leben, Regensburger Realitaet. Luebbers B., von Treskow I. (Hrsg.). Regensburg: Friedrich Pustet. S. 233–247.
  7. Nagornaja, O. (2019), Centenary (Russia), in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. by Ute Daniel et al., issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2019-09-26. DOI: 10.15463/ie1418.11407. Translated by: Kroeker, Joshua R.
  8. Nagornaia O. (2019). Russian Prisoners of War in the First World War: The Camp Experience and Attempted Integration into Revolutionary Society (1914–22), in: Military Affairs In Russia's Great War And Revolution, 1914-22. Book 1: Military Experiences. Laurie S. Stoff et al. (eds.). Slavica Publishers. 441-462.
  9. Nagornaya O. (2018). 2014: An Invented Anniversary? Museum Exhibitions on the First World War in Russia, in: The Long End of the First World War. Ruptures, Continuities and Memories. K. Bromber et al. (eds.). Frankfurt am Main, New York: Campus. 121-135
  10. Nagornaia O., Nikonova О. (2018). Sowjetische Kulturdiplomatie in Osteuropa in der Nachkriegszeit. Ein Überblick über die neuesten Veröffentlichungen, in: Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas. 66. № 2. S. 274-298