History and Religious Studies, CNRS, Paris, France


Octobre 2013 à Mars 2014


Elena Astafieva graduated in history at the State University of Humanities in Russia (RGGU, Moscow). She has a PhD from the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, Paris) in History and Religious Studies. Her research area focuses on the history of the Russian Empire from 1772 to 1917.

Her thesis “The Russian Empire and the Catholic world between representations and practices, 1772-1905” examined the functioning of the Russian Empire through the management of religious and national minorities.

She is now working on the various aspects of the policy of Imperial Russia in Palestine in the years 1840-1920, by studying the interaction between Russian diplomacy, science and the Orthodox Church in the region. In April 2009, she organized an international symposium at Columbia University (New York, USA) on “Great Powers in the Holy Land: From Napoleon to the Balfour Declaration”.

Since 2007, Elena Astafi eva has been teaching at EPHE and at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, Paris) as a lecturer on the Russian Empire. Currently, she is conducting her research at the Centre for Studies of Russian,Caucasian and Central European worlds (CERCEC,EHESS-CNRS), where she has just been appointed as a permanent researcher by CNRS.

Search project

Imperial Russia in Syria-Palestine, 1847-1917

The purpose of this project is to study the various forms of the Russian presence in Syria-Palestine between 1847, when the first Russian institution in Jerusalem is established and the October Revolution in 1917. Three major questions will be investigated in order to:

- clarify Russia's goals in these Ottoman territories, which were areas of intense competition among the European Great Powers and among all the major Christian denominations;

- study the strategic means used by Russia to exercise its influence in Syria-Palestine, in particular within the local population;

- understand the process of construction of the Empire itself beyond its borders through a combination of diplomatic, religious and scientific practices established by Russian agents in Syria-Palestine.