Entity | Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University

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The Russian Research Center was established in 1948 to encourage and support scholarly study of the Soviet Union and related areas. A major project undertaken by the center in the late 1940's and early 1950's, originally known as the "Russian Refugee Interview Project" became better known as the Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System. In April 1996, the Russian Research Center was renamed the Kathryn W. and Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

From the description of Records of the Russian Research Center, 1947-1984. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 228506730

In the spring of 1950, the Russian Research Center at Harvard University entered into contract AF 33(038)-12909 with the Human Resources Research Institute of the Air University at Maxwell Field Air Base, Alabama, to conduct a large scale, unclassified project, based largely on interviews with Soviet émigrés, with the ultimate goal of gaining new insights into strategic psychological and sociological aspects of the Soviet social system. The project was named the Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System, also known as the Harvard Refugee Interview Project.

The Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System was developed by sociologist Alex Inkeles and social psychologist Raymond Bauer. To test the viability of the project preliminary interviews were conducted in Munich, in 1949, by Merle Fainsod and Paul Friedrich. From 1950 to 1951, several hundred Soviet refugees, residents in West Germany Austria, and the United States, were contacted as prospective interviewees for the HPSSS; some 330 candidates were selected and given full-depth interviews by specialists prominent in the field of Soviet studies. In addition to those named above, these specialists include Joseph Berliner, Alexander Dallin, Robert Feldmesser, Mark Field, Marc Fried, Eugenia Haufmann, Kent Geiger, Sidney Harcave, Ivan London, Michael Luther, John Orton, Alex Peskin, John Reshetar, and others.

From the guide to the Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System digital collection: interviews and manuals, 1950-1953, (H.C. Fung Library.)

Inception: 1948

Alternate Names: Harvard University. Russian Research Center, Russian research center Cambridge, Mass., Russian Research Center (Harvard University), Harvard University Cambridge, Mass Russian Research Center, Harvard Russian Research Center, Harvard University Russian Research Center
Associated Place(s): United States of America, Soviet Union., Russia (Federation), Soviet Union, United States, Germany