How Dr Chervonnaya likes to work

Russian archives descriptionDr Chervonnaya’s

My educational and early professional background is that of a “US studies” historian, but at this stage in my professional life I most of all like book research projects – be it American, British, German, Austrian, Spanish or Latin American stories, which have some Russian or Soviet angle. The greatest excitement is when I’m able to reconstruct a hitherto unknown story, biography or episode from a multitude of sources, not limited to Russian. Usually it begins with a breakthrough find at the Russian or US end – followed up in other records. In that case the writer receives a detailed story line, including relevant quotes and archival transcripts (with full archival citations) – both in original English, or in English translations from Russian and in some cases from other languages of the original.

I’m also very good at book and article fact checking, often amounting to considerable research. I always suggest to the writers I work for to let me fact-check the manuscript at the earliest possible stage, which by the end of the day the writers found beneficial.

Even if a writer may turn to me at a later stage, my fact checking before submitting the manuscript to the publisher may be beneficial – particular in case if the story, biography of screenplay has some Russian angle.

Over the years, I have accumulated a huge archive (from research in the Russian, US and UK archives) and lots of research and evaluation files, which, depending on the story, may reduce the time necessary for onsite research, if not to diminish it altogether.

Still, there are limitations to what I can do, mostly due to the Russian archival environment with its slow pace of declassification and many exemptions (so-called ‘partial declassification’ of the records even from 1918-1960s).

Russian archives descriptionDr Chervonnaya’s