On July 10th, author and historian Douglas Smith presented “Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy.” This presentation was part of the Russian History Museum’s larger Second Saturday lecture series.

Douglas Smith’s lecture examined the lives and stories of two Russian noble families, the Sheremetevs and the Golitsyns. Using his substantial research as a guide, Smith closely narrated the day to day lives of these families and their respective fates. This presentation documents how life went on for members of the Russian aristocracy, despite extensive hardship and tragedy amidst the revolution.

More information on Former People and other works by Douglas Smith can be found on his website: https://douglassmith.info/.

About the Speaker

An award-winning historian and translator, Douglas Smith is the author of six books on Russia. His works have been translated into more than a dozen languages. He studied German and Russian at the University of Vermont, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and has a doctorate in history from UCLA.

Over the past thirty years Douglas has made many trips to Russia. In the 1980s, he was a Russian-speaking guide on the U.S. State Department’s exhibition “Information USA” that traveled throughout the USSR. He has worked as a Soviet affairs analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich and once served as an interpreter for late President Reagan.

Douglas has taught and lectured widely in the United States, Britain, and Europe and has appeared in documentaries for National Geographic, the BBC, and Netflix. He is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including a Guggenheim fellowship, Fulbright scholarship, and a residency at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study Center.

His book Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy was a bestseller in the UK. It won the inaugural Pushkin House Russian Book Prize in 2013, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and was chosen Book of the Year by Andrew Solomon in Salon.