Annual conference attendees

CREES staff say farewell to the Cumberland Lodge which had been the venue for the Centre’s annual conferences for years.

Current and former CREES staff and students got together at the Cumberland Lodge one final time for the Centre’s annual conference before it returns again next year with Birmingham University Edgbaston campus as its new venue where annual conferences will be held from now on.

As in previous years, the conference brought together a diverse selection of papers that covered various aspects of the history and politics of this fascinating region. Professor Mark Harrison (University of Warwick) officially opened the conference with his guest speech on the topic of ‘The Soviet Economy: The Late 1930’s in Historical Perspective’. The next two days this was followed by panels on Russia and the New World Disorder (chaired by Dr Richard Connolly) where Prof. Philip Hanson (Chatham House), Prof. Richard Sakwa (University of Kent) and Dr. Elizabeth Teague (FCO retired) discussed the idea of the emerging new World Order.

Panel on Divergence or Convergence: Domestic Developments and Foreign Policies in the Visegrad Countries (chaired by Prof. Kataryna Wolczuk) brought together external speakers from Poland and Slovakia: Pawel Kowal (College of Europe, Natolin), Grzegorz Gromadzki (Batory Foundation, Warsaw) and Aleksander Duleba (Research Centre of the Foreign Policy Association, Bratislava).

Panel on Multiple Perspectives on Russia's Borderland (chaired by Dr. Derek Averre) featured Dr Paul Richardson from the School of Geography, and Professors Jeremy Smith and Ilkka Liikanen from the University of Eastern Finland.

Recent CREES and IDD Doctoral Researchers - Dr. Polina Manolova and Dr. Philipp Lottholz were part of the panel on Negotiating the Global and the Local in Postsocialist Lives: Ethnographic Perspectives from Russia, Bulgaria and Kyrgyztan, alongside with Dr. Charlie Walker (University of Southampton).

This year the conference also featured the panel on The Caucasus: Recent Developments and Future Trajectories (chaired by Dr. Nino Kemoklidze) with external speakers discussing Foreign Fighters from the region (Dr. Huseyn Aliyev, University of Glasgow), conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh (Dr. Leila Alieva, University of Oxford) and Urban Activism and Municipal Politics in Georgia (Joseph Alexander Smith, Radio GIPA, Tbilisi).

The conference was largely funded by the School of Government and Society and additional funding was provided by the POLSIS Good Ideas Fund.