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Leonid Khotin

Research Associate

Institute for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

UC Berkeley

1930 - 2010


Leonid Khotin, who, since 1977, was a research associate at the Institute for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (formerly Slavic Center) at the University of California, Berkeley, died on February 1, 2010.


Born in Leningrad in 1930, Leonid Khotin barely escaped death in 1941, at the beginning of the Second World War. After the war, as a Jew who did not belong to the Communist Party, he encountered many difficulties in his chosen fields of history and sociology. A consummate musician and chess player, he used these gifts for years to make a living. From the late 1960s, he performed sociological field research for the Institute of Sociology of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow and Moscow State University, defending a dissertation on the methods of social prognosis. In 1974, he emigrated to the United States.


In the U.S., Dr. Khotin actively participated in the Soviet Interview Project, conducted in 1975-1985 under the auspices of the National Council for Soviet and East European Research. This large-scale study, based upon interviews with recent immigrants living in the United States, helped scores of Western scholars understand how contemporary Soviet society worked in its everyday life, enriching the disciplines of sociology, political science, and economics. Dr. Khotin published a number of research studies on the workings of Soviet enterprise, Soviet managers, and moral behavior and “second economy” in the Brezhnev era. He also researched identity, integration, and white collar crime among Russian immigrants in the United States. After 1991, he worked on the problems of economic transition, business, and entrepreneurs in the former Soviet Union, publishing in both the U.S. and Russia. Leonid Khotin was the founder and principal editor (with Galina Gezen) of Abstracts of Soviet and East European Émigré Periodical Literature (1981-1990), replaced by Zarubezhnaia periodicheskaia pechat’ na russkom iazyke (Berkeley and Moscow, 1992-2004). An indispensable research guide, this publication helped to connect Western experts on the Soviet Union, the Russian diaspora, and, after 1992, readers in Russia.


Leonid will be fondly remembered by his Berkeley colleagues and friends for his expertise, energy, wit, selfless dedication to knowledge, and genuine human warmth. His sociological research bridged two social worlds; his personal presence connected many people.


He is survived by his wife of 50 years and longtime collaborator Galina (Gezen) Khotin, their daughter Tanya Khotin, son-in-law Mark Izeman, and grandsons Alexander and Mikhail Izeman, residing in Manhattan.


Irina Paperno