Post-Conference Review

Beyond Borders and Boundaries: Europe, Eurasia and Asia

More than 60 scholars, veterans and emerging, from Australia, New Zealand and around the world, gathered physically or digitally on November 25-26th 2021 at RMIT University’s European Union Centre of Excellence. The conference was jointly sponsored by AACaPS (Australasian Association for Communist and Post-Communist Studies) and ESAANZ (European Studies Association Australia and New Zealand).

Amidst a raging global pandemic which respects no boundaries, it was more than appropriate for scholars to be presenting and reflecting on array of topics that went beyond any one nation state in terms of place and time. Hence the broad geographical and temporal lenses, from Central Asia to the Balkans, from the Second World War to post-Cold war conflicts and relations. Hence too the sweep of approaches: from literature, geo-politics and economics to diplomatic, environmental and cultural considerations.

Among the highlights were:

  • a keynote speech on ‘How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World’ by Professor Juliet Johnson MacGill University
  • a special presentation on the ‘Road to Peace and Cooperation’ in Nagorny Karabakh, by His Excellency Dr Alexey Pavlovsky Ambassador of the Russian Federation.
  • ‘The Flight of Soviet Refugees to Iran, 1928-1933, a novel paper by Marcus James (ANU) and ‘Internationalisation of Higher Education as a Threat: Voices of University Lecturers in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan’ an insightful analysis by Dilnoza Ubaydullaeva,  which won the conference PhD awards.

Conference participants were privileged to see a special showing of a celebrated documentary directed by Petar Bojovic tracing the human side of Europe’s migration crisis in the Balkans: ‘Routes: Humanising the journey.’ https://www.routesdocumentary.com/

Warmly received were keynote addresses by two longstanding, distinguished members of AACaPS:

  • Emeritus Professor Graeme Gill, on ‘Democracy and Dictatorship’ in Post-Soviet Russia
  • Emeritus Professor Leslie Holmes on the ‘Decline of Neo-Liberalism in Europe and Asia.’

Graeme and Leslie’s engaging addresses were capped off with celebrity presentations for their years of service: glass trophies and hoodies appropriately emblazoned: ‘Russian Soul Here’! A fitting end to an excellent conference!

Vale Dr Robert F. Miller

Bob Miller and AACaPS

Bob Miller at a function

Bob was one of the founding members of AACaPS, or as it was then the Australasian Association for the Study of the Socialist Countries (AASSC), when the organisation was established under Harry Rigby’s guidance in the mid-1970s. Bob was always a full and positive participant in the association’s activities. He served as the president, was a long-time member of the executive, and was active in the production of the newsletter that characterised the association’s early decades. Bob was a permanent fixture at the biennial conferences, always giving papers, commenting on the presentations others gave, and adding his wisdom to the conduct of the association’s general meetings. His papers, many of which were on Yugoslavia but he also wrote on the USSR, were always solidly researched and usually provided a sound basis for discussion and disagreement. Bob liked nothing more than involvement in such discussion, and when disagreements arose, Bob always engaged in them in a robust fashion. He would vigorously make his points and defend his positions, but he always remained within the bounds of respectful scholarly discourse; he was known for the assistance he gave to younger scholars. Bob’s presentations were usually characterised by a sardonic humour, fuelled by his objection to the authoritarian nature of the systems he studied, and he was a never-ending source of “Radio Armenia” jokes. Conference sessions have been the poorer since his health problems prevented him from attending.

Graeme Gill

Bob Miller in his youth

Registration for the Joint Conference 2021

Dear members

Please register for the Joint AACaPS-ESAANZ Conference 2021 here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/conference-beyond-borders-and-boundaries-europe-eurasia-and-asia-tickets-175924092697

The conference program is available here.

Conference theme: Beyond Borders and Boundaries: Europe, Eurasia and Asia

Most of us have become acutely aware of borders and boundaries since Covid-19 struck! These boundaries are physical, psychological and systemic. No doubt ‘borders and boundaries’ are acutely relevant to the regions of our interest (Europe, Eurasia and Asia). In adopting ‘borders and boundaries’ as the theme for this conference, the organisers hope to include analysis of – and/or to cross – as many types of boundaries as possible.

Therefore, there could be consideration of physical borders (e.g. the problems of joining or leaving the EU, Schengen, NATO, the Eurasian Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or the Belt and Road Initiative; Brexit; territorial disputes), psychological boundaries (e.g. Russians having to think of themselves as Russians but not Soviets; Serbs seeing themselves as Serbs but not Yugoslavs), cultural boundaries (e.g. problems of translation; problems of harmonising legislation or systems); political boundaries (e.g. transitioning from one type of system or regime to another), economic boundaries (e.g. from free trade to protectionism), historical boundaries (e.g. impact of certain historical events or actions) or transgressions of various kinds (e.g. challenges to cultural traditions, historiography, gender stereotypes; criminality; cyber security and digital challenges). Methodologically, there could be papers that challenge or cross discipline boundaries.

In short, there should be room for all at this exciting conference.

Free event: EURASIAN INSIGHTS Conference in Ghent: Past, current and upcoming dynamics in the Central Asian region, and their (possible) impacts for Europe

Dear colleagues

This free event focusing on Central Asia (September 2021) could be of interest to you and your networks.

“Held in Ghent (in Flanders, Belgium) from Wednesday 22 to Friday 24 September 2021.

The purposes of the event are threefold:

Firstly, to bring together scholars, students, interested members of the public and policymakers working on or interested in the Central Asian region to interact and, as such, strengthen a network of Central Asia-related research and -education in Europe.

Secondly, to show, by examining its identities and historical roots, societal and political dynamics, external interactions, and economy and environment, that the Central Asian region is not merely a passive object in abstract geopolitics, but that it also has histories, societies, identities and aspirations of its own.

Thirdly, examine what (potential) effects and impacts of developments in Central Asia, a region situated right beyond Europe’s eastern rim, have on the EU and Europe in general (and vice-versa).”

Further information: https://eiscas.eu/events/upcoming-events/eurasian-insights-conference-in-ghent-past-current-and-upcoming-dynamics-in-the-central-asian-region-and-their-possible-impacts-for-europe/

Call for Proposals: AACaPS – ESAANZ Joint Conference 25-26 November 2021

Conference theme: Beyond Borders and Boundaries: Europe, Eurasia and Asia

Most of us have become acutely aware of borders and boundaries since Covid-19 struck! These boundaries are physical, psychological and systemic. No doubt ‘borders and boundaries’ are acutely relevant to the regions of our interest (Europe, Eurasia and Asia). In adopting ‘borders and boundaries’ as the theme for this conference, the organisers hope to include analysis of – and/or to cross – as many types of boundaries as possible.

Therefore, there could be consideration of physical borders (e.g. the problems of joining or leaving the EU,  Schengen, NATO, the Eurasian Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or the Belt and Road Initiative; Brexit; territorial disputes), psychological boundaries (e.g. Russians having to think of themselves as Russians but not Soviets; Serbs seeing themselves as Serbs but not Yugoslavs), cultural boundaries (e.g. problems of translation; problems of harmonising legislation or systems); political boundaries (e.g. transitioning from one type of system or regime to another), economic boundaries (e.g. from free trade to protectionism), historical boundaries (e.g. impact of certain historical events or actions) or transgressions of various kinds (e.g. challenges to cultural traditions, historiography, gender stereotypes; criminality; cyber security and digital challenges). Methodologically, there could be papers that challenge or cross discipline boundaries.

In short, there should be room for all at this exciting conference. 

Submission of proposals

Please send the following to aacaps2021conference@gmail.com

Proposal to include:

1)    Full name, 2) current institutional affiliation, 3) title/position, 4) contact details including telephone number, 5) title of panel or paper, 6) panel description or abstract of paper (200 words or less).

 If you are submitting a panel proposal, please provide the contact details and abstracts of all panellists, with a maximum of 4 speakers per panel.

Key dates

§  Abstract/panel submission deadline: 1 September 2021

§  Panel and abstract acceptance notification issued: By 1 October 2021

Depending on the nature and quality of submissions, we are working on arranging special issues in journals such as Australian and New Zealand Journal of European Studies (ANZJES)Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, and Europe-Asia Studies.

Conference registration

§  Standard—A$120

§  Concessional – A$80 (current AACAPS/ESAANZ members, full-time students)

§  Virtual only – TBC

Contact

Organising Committee

Email: aacaps2021conference@gmail.com

The Russian Revolution and Stalinism

AACaPS would like to congratulate their long-standing members, Emeritus Professor Graeme Gill and Professor Roger D. Markwick on their latest publication, The Russian Revolution and Stalinism. This book focuses upon significant aspects of Stalinism as a system in the USSR. It sheds new light on established questions and addresses issues that have never before been raised in the study of Stalinism.

Stalinism constitutes one of the most striking and contentious phenomena of the twentieth century. It not only transformed the Soviet Union into a major military-industrial power, but through both the Second World War and the ensuing Cold War, and its effect on the political Left throughout much of the world, it also transformed much of that world. This collection of papers by an international cast of authors investigates a variety of major aspects of Stalinism. Significant new questions – like the role of private enterprise and violence in state-making – as well as some of the more established questions – like the number of Soviet citizens who died in the Second World War, whether agricultural collectivisation was genocidal, nationality policy, the politics of executive power, and the Leningrad affair – are addressed here in innovative and stimulating ways.

The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Europe-Asia Studies.

Successful workshop held in Wellington

On 23 April 2021 the AACaPS’ Dr Milenko Petrovic (the National Centre for Research on Europe, University of Canterbury, New Zealand) and the members of his Jean Monnet Chair team took part in the academic workshop ‘EU Enlargement and the Eastern Partnership in Post-Covid 19 Europe’. The workshop was organized as the designated activity of Dr Petrovic’s JM Chair project at the historic Christchurch Arts Centre and it featured papers from several established scholars and the NCRE’s PhD candidates that initiated an interesting and robust discussion. The workshop was enhanced by the contributions of Dr Matthew Castle from Victoria University of Wellington, Dr James Headley from the University of Otago and Dr Nicholas Ross Smith from the University of Nottingham (Ningbo, China).

Webinar: From Stalin & Khrushchev to Putin: Autocracy in Russia from WW2 to the present (9 March 2021)

ZOOM link: http://zoom.us/j/98072415115
WEBSITE: https://www.krasnoevents.com/march-9-2021.html
with HIROAKI KUROMIYA (Stalin biographer, Indiana Univ.), WILLIAM TAUBMAN (Pulitzer prize winning Khrushchev & Gorbachev biographer, Amherst College), DONALD RALEIGH (Brezhnev biographer, UNC-Chapel Hill, and ANGELA STENT (Putin biographer, Georgetown Univ.).
(introduced & moderated by KLAUS LARRES, UNC-Chapel Hill)
The U.S. has imposed new sanctions on Russia & Alexey Navalny has been sent to a harsh prison camp. This event with 4 OUTSTANDING SCHOLARS analyzes developments in Russia and western relations with Moscow from WORLD WAR II to the very PRESENT
Please join our next exciting Krasno event on TUESDAY, MARCH 9, at 5.30pm EST –
(11.30pm in Berlin; 10.30pm in London; 6.30am, March 10, in Beijing, and 9.30am, March 10, in Sydney)

New book: 30 Years since the Fall of the Berlin Wall

The AACaPS Executive Committee is very pleased to share the news about the latest edited volume which came out following a successful bi-annual conference in 2019 at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. The book, entitled 30 Years since the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Turns and Twists in Economies, Politics, and Societies in the Post-Communist Countries, is co-edited by Dr Alexandr Akimov and Dr Gennadi Kazakevitch and contains 17 chapters by many members of the association. 

“The year 2019 marks 30 years since the fall of the Berlin wall. This symbolic event led to German unification and the collapse of communist party rule in countries of the Soviet-led Eastern bloc. Since then, the post-communist countries of Central, Eastern and South-eastern Europe have tied their post-communist transition to deep integration into the West, including EU accession. Most of the states in Central and Eastern Europe have been able to relatively successfully transform their previous communist political and economic systems. In contrast, the non-Baltic post-Soviet states have generally been less successful in doing so. This book, with an internationally respected list of contributors, seeks to address and compare those diverse developments in communist and post-communist countries and their relationship with the West from various angles.
The book has three parts. The first part addresses the progress of post-communist transition in comparative terms, including regional focus on Eastern and South Eastern Europe, CIS and Central Asia. The second focuses on Russia and its foreign relationship, and internal politics. The third explores in detail economies and societies in Central Asia. The final part of the book draws some historical comparisons of recent issues in post-communism with the past experiences.”

The book’s details and ordering information is available at: https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9789811503160#aboutBook