Professor Francine Hirsch is a historian of modern Europe with a specialization in Russia and the Soviet Union whose areas of expertise include comparative empires, the history of human rights, and Russian-American engagement. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began back in February of 2022, Professor Hirsch has continued to publish widely on the human rights issues and political implications of Russia’s aggression.
Publications have included an article in The New Republic from late March titled, “The People Speak: What a Russian YouTube Comment Feed Might Tell Us About Dissent in Putin’s Russia” where Hirsch discusses a livestream of a Putin rally and what the online comments that can tell us about public perception of Putin in a time of extreme censorship by the Russian state. In her mid-April LA Times op-ed, Hirsch discussed Soviet efforts during World War II to uncover and prosecute Nazi crimes in German-occupied parts of the USSR, and what lessons can be gleaned to ensure a transparent and unbiased investigation in Ukraine. Her opinion piece in The Hill titled “‘De-Ukrainization’ is genocide – Biden was right to sound the alarm” analyses targeted Russian rhetoric and the potential for the conflict in Ukraine to escalate to genocide.