Kimberly St. Julian Varnon

Headshot photo

Ph.D StudentFontaine Fellow


Kimberly's work examines how Black experience in the Soviet Union shaped Black identity, and how the presence of people of color shaped ideas and understandings of race, ethnicity, and nationality policy in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet space. 

Her public writing analyzes the linkages of race, foreign policy, and culture in the United States, Russia, and Ukraine.


B.A., History, Swarthmore College

M.A., Regional Studies: Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, Harvard University

Research Interests

Soviet nationality policy

Race and ethnicity in Imperial Russia, the Soviet Union, and post-Soviet region

African and African Diasporic racial identity and experience in the USSR

Subjectivity in the Soviet Union

The Holodomor and peasant understandings of Soviet power in the countryside

Selected Publications

"The Ties That Bind: Black Lives Matter, Ukraine's Euromaidan, and the Realities of European Integration." Krytyka (Ukraine). June 2020. (also available in Ukrainian)

"The Curious Case of Russian Lives Matter." Foreign Policy.  July 11, 2020. 

"A Voice from the Slavic Studies Edge: On Being a Black Woman in the Field." ASEEES NEWSNET August 2020, vol. 60 no.4


Association for Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), Communications Committee Member

Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN)

Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS)

H-Net Ukraine, Book Review Co-Editor