Thirty years after the Soviet collapse, it remains challenging to identify an international role for the USSR that goes beyond the patterns of the Cold War. Nor is it possible to clearly assess the complexity of a system where international politics, diplomacy and cooperation did not pass solely through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Central Committee in Moscow but included a range of peripheral actors far from the center. Among these were the ministries, politicians, cultural and even scientific institutes of the USSR’s 15 Soviet Socialist Republics, which, as federated entities, had a specific subjectivity and relevance even in the international and transnational sphere.
In the years of diplomatic isolation, in an era disrupted by ideological disagreements, world conflicts, and the bipolarity of a world divided by the Cold War and the uncertainties of decolonization, what were these alternative centers active in international relations? What were the interlocutors, issues, factors, interests, and levels of subjectivity promoted by these republics and political actors at the republican level? How, in 1991, would these issues be at the origins of the systems of international relations that the republics would inherit once they became independent? Recently, scholars have started to address these issues in separate case studies. Nevertheless, these and many other questions still need to be tackled in a comprehensive manner to provide a more complete picture of the multipolarity of Soviet international affairs.
For this reason, the University of Naples L'Orientale (UniOr) has organized the international conference Beyond Moscow. Rethinking the international and transnational dimensions of the Soviet Republics. The event will be held on 28-29 September 2023, in Procida at the Scuola di Procida per l'Alta Formazione. It seeks to attract historians, area specialists and scholars of international relations who work on the international and transnational dimensions of the Soviet Socialist Republics during the interwar, Second World, and Cold War eras.
Papers will consider, in a historical perspective, examples from the Soviet periphery, including peculiarities in their international and transnational dimensions, rethinking - from a local perspective - the different declinations of empire, nation and people; their strategic role and international dimensions during the interwar period, the Second World War, the Cold War and decolonization; the institutional framework, interactions and divergences and subjectivity of the SSRs in international organizations and agencies; the religious, cultural and linguistic peculiarities and relations of the Soviet regions with the “Foreign East”; intra/inter-party relations with the Communist, leftist and socialist parties in the West and national organizations and movements in the Third World; local models of Soviet developmentalism and their promotion within the UN platforms and abroad; cooperation in the fields of science, academics, research and education or in literature, cinema and sport; interactions with the diasporas abroad; the international and transnational ambitions of the republican government and party leaders; and other issues related to the international and transnational dimensions of the Soviet republics.
The San Francisco Conference, 25 April-26 June 1945. Adding Byelorussian sign in Opera House in accordance with seating chart, May 19. Unique Identifier UN7683392, NICA ID 157130 - © UN Photo/McLain