De’Vonte Tinsley

Graduate Student in History

B.A., Russian Language and History (High Honors), Minor in Russian Area Studies, Virginia Polytechnic and State University (Virginia Tech), 2022

Certificate in Russian Language, Daugavpils University (Latvia)

Certificate in Intermediate Russian, Critical Language Scholarship, Lobachevsky University (Russia)

De’Vonte is a first-year history Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania focusing on Modern Russian/Soviet history and is a Fontaine fellow and a recipient of the Ph.D. Presidential fellowship. De’Vonte’s initial research interest centered around the Russian Civil War and the establishment of Soviet Power as the Russian Imperial space collapsed. In particular, De’Vonte took a local approach to understanding the complicated dynamics of early Soviet power in Russia. His senior honors thesis focused on Dvinsk (Daugavpils) during the Russian Civil War, using the local newspaper Krasnoe znamia (Red Banner) to understand the particular problems facing the city and how they fit into the larger context of Revolution and Civil War. Now De’Vonte is focusing on a transnational study of the Soviet Union and Vietnam, with interests in the transfer of ideas from the USSR to Vietnamese revolutionaries, and how these ideas were transformed to fit Vietnamese conditions. De’Vonte hopes to not only look at the early relationship between Soviet and Vietnamese revolutionaries but also look at how Vietnamese Communists, despite their great reliance on the Soviet Union, managed to survive the collapse of world communism in 1991.


Research Interests

Transnational, comparative studies, Asia, Europe, Cold War, decolonization, internationalism, race, World Communism

Selected Publications

De’Vonte Tinsley and Raneil Smith, ASEEES NewsNet: Digital Newspaper, "Reflection: The REEES Think Tank and Diversity in Slavic Studies. Two undergraduate participants of I.D.E.A.S. in REEES reflect on their experiences in the program.” March 2023,

De’Vonte Tinsley and Raneil Jordan Smith, “Putin’s ‘Popular Monarchism’ Leads Russia into Ruin | Wilson Center,” accessed November 25, 2022,