The Reception Desk: Soviet Bureaucracy with a Human Face, 1979-1985

December 13th, 2022 · 32 mins 18 secs

About this Episode

On this episode, Lera speaks with Emily Joan Elliott of H-Net about what got her interested in Soviet and post-Soviet history and her particular focus on migration to Moscow and the Priemnaia (reception desk) of the Supreme Soviet. Per Elliott's research: "the Priemnaia received thousands of complaints and petitions annually, often from individuals or groups who argued that local soviets or enterprises failed to deliver on various aspects of their material wellbeing, including housing. But the Priemnaia also provided a place for these petitioners to voice their concerns and plead for the state to intercede on their behalf... Although the Soviet bureaucracy was a behemoth, the Priemnaia provided its citizens with direct means of engagement with government officials, cutting through red tape, and improving their material wellbeing." Thanks for listening!

Hailing from New York, Dr. Emily Joan Elliott is the associate director for research and publications at H-Net ( She received her PhD in Soviet and post-Soviet history from Michigan State University in 2019. After earning her degree, she pursued opportunities both inside and outside the academy. She has taught a broad array of courses, including the history of Russia, the Soviet Union, modern Europe, socialism, and migration. Outside the academy, she has worked as a freelance researcher and as the Special Sections Editor for the Historical Society of Michigan’s magazines. She continued her foray into journalism as a reporter and then as the Managing Editor for East Lansing Info. In that role, she reported on a variety of topics, ranging from East Lansing Public Schools, Covid-19, and community disparities.

PRODUCER'S NOTE: This episode was recorded on November 11th, 2022 at the Palmer House in Chicago during the ASEEES 2022 Convention.

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Host/Associate Producer: Lera Toropin (@earlportion)
Associate Producer: Taylor Ham
Associate Producer: Cullan Bendig (@cullanwithana)
Associate Producer: Sergio Glajar
Assistant Producer: Misha Simanovskyy (@MSimanovskyy)
Social Media Manager: Eliza Fisher
Supervising Producer: Katherine Birch
Recording, Editing, and Sound Design: Michelle Daniel

Music Producer: Charlie Harper (@charlieharpermusic) (Main Theme by Charlie Harper and additional background music by Ketsa, Shaolin Dub, DLay, )

Executive Producer & Creator: Michelle Daniel (@M_S_Daniel)

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