Roy Allison (1987-1999)

Roy AllisonI was at CREES from October 1987 to October 1999, but on full-time leave from 1995-99. I was Lecturer in Soviet Defence Policy and International Security (becoming Russian Defence Policy and International Security after 1991) and Senior Lecturer from 1992. During 1991-9 I was simultaneously Head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

I am now Lecturer in the International Relations of Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia at St Antony’s College, Oxford. I am also Chair of the Management Board of Russian and East European Studies at Oxford University.

When I joined the staff of CREES in 1987 it had a world reputation for deep research on Soviet history, economics, technology, defence industry and other fields. This front-rank research was supported by a huge range of specialised journals and books in the Baykov Library, which attracted a flow of international visitors. This was an exciting place to be in the late Gorbachev years for staff and students as the ice broke in East-West relations and as glasnost spread. It became easier to conduct serious research in my field of Russian international security and defence studies. CREES staff contributed to seminars and conferences in Moscow, which involved officials as well as academics, in efforts to overcome Cold War thinking and explore new joint research agendas with Russian and Eastern European specialists. Much of the deep knowledge in CREES of how the Soviet system had operated remained a valuable resource in the flux of the early 1990s. As many European and American research centres and universities directed their attention away from Russia and other CIS states, CREES, uniquely in the UK for such an interdisciplinary centre, sustained a 5* research ranking. This research fed into teaching, supervision and many contacts with the policy world. This background explains why almost two decades later such a large part of the community of academic and non-academic experts on Russia and Eastern Europe in the UK and further afield acknowledge their debt to CREES.