CfP: Beyond Moscow: Rethinking the international and transnational dimensions of the Soviet Republics

Call for papers, deadline 31 January 2022

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), in collaboration with the Higher School of Economics (HSE) Institute for Advanced Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies, has organized the international conference Beyond Moscow. Rethinking the international and transnational dimensions of the Soviet Republics. The event will be held on 2–3 October 2022, 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 years, the Second World War, and the Cold War era.

We invite proposals for papers that 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.

This initiative aims to build a network of scholars working on the international and transnational dimensions of the Soviet republics and publishing the most relevant results in dedicated special issues of internationally regarded peer-reviewed journals.

We welcome senior researchers’ contributions, but also encourage PhD candidates to submit proposals and participate in the conference. Participation is free of charge. The organizers, however, are unfortunately unable to cover travel and accommodation. The organizers will attempt to secure additional funding for a limited number of travel grants. At the same time, we encourage participants to seek their own funding for travel and accommodation.


The conference will be held in person, and we strongly recommend taking advantage of the opportunity this will provide to participate actively and visiting Procida. In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to provide remote video connection for those who are unable to attend the event.

Proposals should be sent by 31 January 2022 to the "Beyond Moscow" Organizing Committee ( or and should include:

- abstract (500 words max)
- short biographical note (150 words max)

Papers will be selected by the end of March 2022. Participation must be confirmed by April 2022. The conference will be based on pre-circulated papers.

Deadline for the papers: 1 August 2022.


Riccardo Mario Cucciolla (UniOr) and Alexandr Voronovici (HSE)

Scientific Committee

Simone Attilio Bellezza (Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II), Oleg Budnitskii (HSE), Giuseppe Cataldi (UniOr), Riccardo Mario Cucciolla (UniOr), Carolina De Stefano (LUISS Guido Carli), Andrea Graziosi (Scuola Superiore Meridionale), Artemy Kalinovsky (Temple University), Michael Loader (University of Glasgow), Simona Merlo (Università degli Studi Roma Tre), Adriano Roccucci (Università degli Studi Roma Tre), Isaac Scarborough (Leiden University), Tommaso Trevisani (UniOr), Alexandr Voronovici (HSE), Paolo Wulzer (UniOr), Vladislav Zubok (London School of Economics and Political Science).

Beyond Moscow Organizing Committee