In Popular Perceptions of Soviet Politics in the 1920s: Disenchantment of the Dreamers (Palgrave Macmillan), Olga Velikanova, associate professor of history, studied the popular opinions of people in post-revolutionary Russia.
Velikanova was one of the first scholars to discover new sources about surveillance on the population, conducted by the country's secret police. Before sociological polls came into being, this surveillance documentation gave the Soviet authorities (and now historians) an idea about popular mindset.
"Without studying popular moods and opinions, it's impossible to understand how Stalinist regime functioned," she says. "Did the regime have social support? How widespread was dissent? What did society think about Soviet politics?" Velikanova's answer is an increasing disenchantment of a post-revolutionary generation in the results of the Russian socialist revolution.