Anna Denejkina, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, is investigating how combat-related trauma suffered by soldiers during the Soviet-Afghan war (1979–1989) may be transmitted from the parent to their children.
The research includes interviews and surveys with the children of Russian and Ukrainian veterans as well as Denejkina, whose father was a captain in the Soviet army during the war, exploring her own familial history.
It’s a journey that’s led Denejkina through the ethics of auto-ethnography (the study of one’s self) and all the way back to the Soviet-Afghan war. Today, the PhD candidate says, “I’m looking at how combat-related trauma transmits from parent to child, but I’m specifically looking at the Soviet invasion into Afghanistan and speaking with veterans and the children of returned Soviet veterans to see if there’s any link in the trauma being transmitted.
But for now, she hopes, “that when I come to the end of my research I’ll have a body of work that could potentially be used to influence social policy — how veterans are treated when they finish their tours and how combat-related trauma is treated, because when you put children into that equation, if there aren’t programs and funding allocated for their support and veterans are just left to their own devices, the veterans aren’t the only people who are going to suffer. There’s a chance their children will also face the repercussions of what happened while at war.”