The first annual CRCEES Research Forum - a success!

The Centre for Russian, Central and East European Studies (CRCEES) held its first Research Forum at the Gilmorehill Centre on 11 and 12 May, 2007.

The Centre, which was launched on 7 March 2007, is funded by the ESRC, the AHRC, the HEFCE and the SFC, and brings together the research activities of the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Nottingham, Paisley, St Andrews, Strathclyde, and Newcastle University. It also has established research links with the Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic; Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary; Jagellonian University, Kraków, Poland; and REGION Independent Research Centre at Ul'ianovsk State University, Russian Federation.

Themes discussed:

The Research Forum, which will be an annual event, celebrated the research being carried out within the five CRCEES research themes:

  • aspects of identity and culture and their social,
  • political and economic implications; economic and social transformation;
  • political transformation and international relations;
  • literary, cinematic and cultural developments in the area; and
  • the politics of language.

Thus there were panels on such diverse topics as:

  • Political and Economic Transformation in Central and Eastern Europe;
  • Foreign Policy in the Putin Era;
  • Identities in the Former Yugoslavia;
  • Far Right Extremism in Russia and Myth in Contemporary Russian Culture.

Attendance and papers:

Those giving papers ranged from post-graduate students at the start of their career to established professorial staff. Over 80 delegates took part and it was a particular pleasure to welcome participants from three of the CRCEES international partners: Zbigniew Czubinski and Maciej Czerwinski from the Jagellonian University contributed papers, while Natalya Goncharova and Elena Omelchenko from Ul'ianovsk organised a panel; Marju Lauristin from Tartu took part in the plenary session.

Details of the papers presented at the Research Forum, including titles and abstracts, visit the programme on event's web pages.

Keynote address:

The Keynote address was given by Professor John Micgiel, Director of the East Central European Centre at Columbia University, New York.

Taking the theme "'Witch-hunts' and 'Bear-baiting': Conservative Politics in Poland Today", Professor Micgiel, who also gave a paper in one of the panels, gave a detailed assessment of Poland's foreign and domestic politics, commenting on the present government's anti-Russian stance and giving a critical assessment of its approach to internal affairs; while lustration was seen as a positive policy, the approach to economic affairs was seen as contradictory.

Plenary session concludes the forum:

The Research Forum ended with a plenary session devoted to "The Impact of EU Accession on the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe". Among those taking part was Julia Szalai, from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, who is currently working in the Department of Central and East European Studies as a visiting fellow.


First published: 14 May 2007