Dr Iain Lauchlan (BA, PhD)

Senior Lecturer; History


I was born and raised somewhere obscure in the middle of England. I received my BA (1993) and PhD (1998) from the University of Leeds. My PhD thesis and first book were on the tsarist secret police based on research in the newly opened Russian state archives. After this I took up a research fellowship at Helsinki University in 1999, which thanks to Finnish Academy funding provided me with access to the former Communist Party and KGB archives in Moscow. This led to a British Academy Post-doctoral Fellowship at St Cross College, Oxford from 2001 to 2004 and after that a lectureship at Stirling University. I was appointed to my current post as Lecturer in History at the University of Edinburgh in January 2010.

Undergraduate teaching

  • Themes in Modern European History

  • History in Practice

  • Making of the Modern World

  • Revolutionary Russia, 1861-1921

  • Stalin’s Russia, 1921-1941

Areas of interest for supervision

Name - Degree - Thesis topic - Supervision type

  • Galy, Ariane - PhD - Stalin and Stalinism in Western Historiography - Joint
  • Kokosalakis, Yiannis - PhD - The Communist Party in Soviet Society in the 1930s - Primary
  • Sambells, Chelsea - PhD - A Study of the Allied Evacuation Scheme of French, Belgian and Yugoslavian Children to Switzerland, 1942-1945 - Secondary  

Research summary


  • Europe


  • Culture
  • Ideas
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Society


  • Nineteenth Century
  • Twentieth Century & After

Research interests

Russian history, particularly the Russian Revolution and the Stalin era. Russia’s relations with the West. The history of intelligence, conspiracy and espionage.

Project activity

I am currently writing a biography of the founder of the Soviet security police and poster-boy for the Putin era, Felix Dzerzhinsky. In my next project I will be looking at the influence of the Kremlin doctors on the conspiratorial worldview of the Communist leadership and the use medicine as an instrument of repression in the USSR.

Research projects

A history of the Stalin revolution: I am working on a political, social and cultural history of the Stalin era before the Second World War. My interests in particular are focussed on the ‘other Stalinists’: both the allies and victims of the leader, the precursors and pioneers of the Stalinist system of government. I have received funding from the British Academy and Carnegie Trust for research in Moscow on this project.

The list below is a subset of the information held on the University of Edinburgh PURE system, and includes Books, Chapters, Articles and Conference contributions. For a full list, including details of other publication types (e.g. reviews), please see the Edinburgh Research Explorer page for Dr Iain Lauchlan.