Serhii Plokhy

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Serhii Plokhy, or Plokhii (Ukrainian: Сергій Миколайович Плохій, Russian: Серге́й Никола́евич Пло́хий; born 23 May 1957) is a Ukrainian-American historian and author specializing in the history of Ukraine, Eastern Europe and Cold War studies. He is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard University, where he also serves as the director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute.

Serhii Plokhy
Plokhy NTSh Toronto.JPG
Сергій Плохій

(1957-05-23) 23 May 1957 (age 63)
Known forHistory of Ukraine

Personal backgroundEdit

Serhii Plokhii was born in Nizhnii Novgorod, Russia to a metallurgical engineer father and a pediatrician mother, both originally from Ukraine. His father was a graduate of the Zaporozhye Machine-Building Institute. After graduating from high school, his father was transferred for state distribution to Gorky, where Sergei was born. He spent his childhood and school years in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, where his family returned soon after his birth.[1]

Educational backgroundEdit

Plokhii received his undergraduate degree in history and social sciences from the University of Dnipropetrovsk (1980), where he studied under professors Mykola Kovalsky and Yuri Mytsyk, and his graduate degree from the Russian University of the Friendship of Peoples (1982), specializing in historiography and source studies. He received his habilitation degree in history from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv in 1990.[2]

Professional backgroundEdit

Between 1983 and 1991, Plokhii taught at the University of Dnipropetrovsk, where he was promoted to the rank of full professor and held a number of administrative positions during perestroika. In 1996, after a number of visiting appointments as the Ramsey Tompkins Professor of Russian history at the University of Alberta, Plokhii joined the staff of the university's Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, where he founded the Research Program on Religion and Culture. As part of the Peter Jacyk Center for Ukrainian Historical Research he participated in the publication of the English-language translation of Mykhailo Hrushevsky's History of Ukraine-Rus'.

In 2007, Plokhii was named the Mykhailo Hrushevsky professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard. Since 2013, he has served as the director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, where he leads a group of scholars working on MAPA: The Digital Atlas of Ukraine, an online, GIS-based project.[1]

Plokhii's research and writing deal with the intellectual, cultural, and international history of Eastern Europe, with special emphasis on Ukraine. His first monograph, The Papacy and Ukraine, was among the few books published in the Soviet Union to deal with the history of the papacy as an academic subject rather than an object of atheistic propaganda. Among Plokhii's best known contributions to the study of early modern history is The Origins of the Slavic Nations, a broad survey of the history of the region which rejects premordialist ideas that postulate the existence of either one or three—Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarussian—East Slavic nationalities before the rise of nationalism. Instead, it proposes an alternative scheme of the development of pre-modern identities of the Eastern Slavs.

Plokhii's research on the history of the Cold War era resulted in the publication of Yalta: The Price of Peace and The Last Empire, where Plokhii challenged the interpretation of the collapse of the Soviet Union as an American victory in the Cold War, instead arguing Ukraine and Russia were the two republics responsible for the end of the Soviet Union.[1]

Honors and awardsEdit

Plokhii’s books have been translated into a number of languages, including Lithuanian, Belarusian, Chinese (classic and simplified), Estonian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Russian, and Ukrainian, and won numerous awards and prizes.

The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union won the 2015 Lionel Gelber Prize for the world's best non-fiction book in English on global issues and the 2015 Pushkin House (London, UK) Russian Book Prize. His other books won the Historia Nova Prize for the Best Book on Russian Intellectual History; the American Association for Ukrainian Studies Book Prize; the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America Book Prize; and the Book of the Year Prize (Biographies and Memoirs) in Ukraine. He has been shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Foundation Prize; the Wallace A. Fergusson Book Prize of the Canadian Historical Association; the “Historia Zebrana” Book Prize (Poland); and Book of the Year Award (Ukraine).

In 2009, Plokhii received the Early Slavic Studies Association Distinguished Scholarship Award, and in 2013 he was named the Walter Channing Cabot Fellow at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University for scholarly eminence in the field of history.[3] In 2015 Serhii Plokhii received the Antonovych prize.

Chernobyl won the 2018 Baillie Gifford Prize (formerly the Samuel Johnson Prize).[4]

Published worksEdit

  • Plokhy, Serhii. The Cossacks and Religion in Early Modern Ukraine, Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 978-0-19-924739-4
  • Plokhy, Serhii. Tsars and Cossacks: A Study in Iconography, Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University, 2003. ISBN 978-0-916458-95-9
  • Plokhy, Serhii and Frank E. Sysyn. Religion and Nation in Modern Ukraine, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 2003. ISBN 978-1-895571-36-3
  • Plokhy, Serhii. Unmaking Imperial Russia: Mykhailo Hrushevsky and the Writing of Ukrainian History, University of Toronto Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0-8020-3937-8
  • Plokhy, Serhii. The Origins of the Slavic Nations: Premodern Identities in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, Cambridge University Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-521-86403-9
  • Plokhy, Serhii. Ukraine and Russia: Representations of the Past , University of Toronto Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-8020-9327-1
  • Plokhy, S. M. Yalta: The Price of Peace, Viking Adult, 2010. ISBN 0-670-02141-5
  • Plokhy, Serhii. The Cossack Myth: History and Nationhood in the Age of Empires, Cambridge University Press, 2012. ISBN 978-1107022102
  • Plokhy, Serhii. The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union. New York: Basic Books, 2014. 520 pp. $32.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-465-05696-5.
  • Plokhy, Serhii. El último imperio. Los días finales de la Unión Soviética. Turner, 2015. 576 pp., ISBN 978-8416142101.
  • Plokhy, Serhii. The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine. New York: Basic Books, 2015. — 395 pp., ISBN 978-0-465-05091-8.
  • Plokhy, Serhii. Lost Kingdom: The Quest for Empire and the Making of the Russian Nation. New York: Basic Books, 2017. — 398 pp., ISBN 978-0-465-09849-1.
  • Plokhy, Serhii. Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy, London: Allen Lane, 2018. [5][6]
  • Plokhy, Serhii. Nuclear Folly: A History of the Cuban Missile Crisis, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2021. ISBN 978-0-393-54081-9


  1. ^ a b c Woloschuk, Peter (April 15, 2007). "Serhii Plokhii named to history chair at Harvard University" (PDF). The Ukrainian Weekly. pp. 10, 17. Retrieved 2010-10-29.
  2. ^ "Serhii Plokhii | HAA Travels - Study Leaders | Harvard Alumni Association | Harvard Alumni Affairs & Development (AA&D)". Retrieved 2010-10-29.
  3. ^ 2015 Gelber Prize Winner Press Release Archived 2015-09-10 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Serhii Plokhy's Chernobyl wins The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, 2018". Baillie Gifford Prize. November 14, 2018. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  5. ^ 1957-, Plokhy, Serhii (2018-05-15). Chernobyl : history of a tragedy. London. ISBN 9780241349038. OCLC 1032170907.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Groskop, Viv (2018-05-20). "Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy by Serhii Plokhy review – death of the Soviet dream". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-24.

External linksEdit