New Generation Thinker Victoria Donovan from the University of St Andrews explores the dilemmas of post-war reconstruction in Soviet Russia and asks why the atheist Communist regime was prepared to spend millions on the restoration of religious architecture. On encountering the war-charred ruins of historic Novgorod in 1944, the Soviet historian Dmitry Likhachev mourned Russia's transformation into a 'graveyard without headstones'. Yet, just 20 years later, the town had risen from the ashes; even the onion-domed churches had been restored. How did this happen? Recorded as part of Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival in front of an audience at Sage Gateshead. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select 10 academics each year who work with us to turn their research into radio. Producer: Luke Mulhall.