STANFORD—Robert Conquest, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a noted expert on the history of the former Soviet Union, has received the 2010 Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom. A reception was held at the Embassy of Lithuania in Washington, D.C., on November 9 to honor Conquest and the other recipients of this year’s medal: Harry Wu and Emanuelis Zingeris.
The medal, awarded by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, recognizes those who have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to promoting freedom and democracy and opposing communism and tyranny. Others’ having received the medal include Pope John Paul II, Vytautas Landsbergis, Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, Viktor Orbán, János Horváth, and Tom Lantos.
Conquest is the author of twenty-one books on Soviet history, politics, and international affairs, including the classic The Great Terror—which has been translated into twenty languages—and the acclaimed Harvest of Sorrow (1986). In the “Great Terror at 40” (Hoover Digest, no. 2, 2008) Conquest reflects on the work and how it exposed the secrets of the Gulag. His most recent works are Reflections on a Ravaged Century (1999) and The Dragons of Expectation (2005).
Other awards and honors Conquest has received include the Jefferson Lectureship, the highest honor bestowed by the federal government for achievement in the humanities (1993), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2005), and Poland's Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit (2009). Conquest served in the British infantry in World War II and thereafter in His Majesty's Diplomatic Service, being awarded the Order of the British Empire. In 1996 he was named a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.