W. Bruce Lincoln Book Prize

2022 Citation Recipient

Mie Nakachi

The W. Bruce Lincoln Book Prize, sponsored by Mary Lincoln, is awarded annually for an author’s first published monograph or scholarly synthesis that is of exceptional merit and lasting significance for the understanding of Russia’s past. The prize was established in 2004 in memory of W. Bruce Lincoln, a Russian historian and a widely-read author. 

Co-Winner: Kristy Ironside

Title: A Full-Value Ruble: The Promise of Prosperity in the Postwar Soviet Union (Harvard University Press)

This lucid and deeply researched book demonstrates the centrality of money to the Soviet state’s efforts to rebuild the economy and offer citizens greater prosperity after the devastation of WWII, as well as to the Soviet people’s understanding of what a socialist good life should be. With an outstanding command of complex monetary policies and economic statistics, Kristy Ironside shows how efforts to increase economic equality and raise standards of living foundered on those same policies’ unintended effects and an economic slowdown. Throughout, Ironside highlights the ways that rural and urban Soviet working people experienced and influenced state efforts to strengthen the ruble, incentivize their labor, and raise living standards, bringing a potentially technical topic to vivid life and deepening our understanding of the politics of economic inequality.  


Co-Winner: Mie Nakachi

Title: Replacing the Dead: The Politics of Reproduction in the Postwar Soviet Union (Oxford University Press)

This devastatingly timely book shows how, in response to the postwar demographic catastrophe, Soviet political leaders adopted pronatalist policies that limited divorce, incentivized and compelled births, and offered impunity to promiscuous men at the expense of women and children. Mie Nakachi’s subtle account of the interplay between state pronatalism, concerned medical professionals, and women themselves offers a fresh and convincing explanation of how a Party supposedly committed to women’s liberation actually victimized many of those it claimed to protect. It did this by denying women broad access to birth control and meaningful support for childrearing, forcing many to turn to underground abortion. Even after abortion was relegalized in 1955, the Party’s continuing reluctance to provide adequate access to birth control led many Soviet women to rely heavily on abortion to regulate their fertility. These damaging policies reshaped Soviet family life but did little to meaningfully increase the birthrate since, as Nakachi concludes, “women make reproductive decisions not for the government, but for the well-being of themselves, their children, and their families.”