Research Centre for East European Studies

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Research Centre for East European Studies

About the university
The Research Centre for East European Studies was founded in 1982 under Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Eichwede as a repository for Samizdat (underground literature) documents from Eastern Europe. Its task was and still is to collect materials documenting alternative thinking and social movements in Eastern Europe, to analyse them and place them in the historical, social and political context of East European structures and developments, and to publish the results of research carried out using them.
During the years of the Eastern Bloc, censorship and repression, the Research Centre acted as a depository of cultural memory for dissenters and members of the opposition in Eastern Europe. Documents from the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and the GDR arrived in Bremen via various routes. The Research Centre came to be a place of refuge for dissidents and their work in spite of the Iron Curtain. As a result, during the 1980s, the Research Centre concentrated on manifestations of independent artistic activity and intellectual creativity in the underground. It looked for the unofficial streams and dissenting thoughts behind the facade of official politics that gave a view into the internal workings of these societies
The Research Centre for East European Studies (Forschungsstelle Osteuropa – FSO) is an independent research institute attached to the University of Bremen. It is funded jointly by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs and the State of Bremen. Founded during the Cold War in 1982, the FSO today combines two goals: the (re)examination of societies and cultures in the Eastern Bloc and the analysis of contemporary developments in the post-Soviet region.
The Centres current interdisciplinary research focuses on the general question of to what extent the legacy of state-directed socialism and Soviet hegemony has influenced present developments and shaped the countries and societies of Eastern and Central Eastern Europe. The themes of dissent and consensus, power and opposition are thus investigated in a comparative perspective for the socialist and the post-socialist period.
Research from the University
Research is conducted in two departments - “History and Culture” and “Politics and Economics” - under the joint theme “Between Dissent and Consensus”. The regional focus of the department “History and Culture” lies on the Soviet Union and the countries of Central Eastern Europe, especially Poland and Czechoslovakia. After the EU’s Eastern Enlargement, the department “Politics and Economics” investigates mainly the post-Soviet region.
History and Culture
Research projects
-Soviet Opposition in Detention: Prison and Camp Experiences of Soviet Dissenters, 1956-1987.
-Spaces of De-Stalinisation. The Closure of the Camps in Kolyma, 1953 to 1960.
-Belief and Obstinacy. Russian Orthodox Popular Piety in the Soviet Union, 1941 to 1964.
-Censorship of Soviet Prose in the GDR in the 1970ies and 1980ies.
Politics and Economics
Research projects
-Towards a common European energy policy? Energy security debates in Poland and Germany
-Social Developments and New Forms of Mass Opinion Research in Contemporary Russia
-Political Influence of Oligarchs in Ukraine -Transformation and Discourse
-The Energy Sector and the Political Stability of Regimes in the Caspian Area: A Comparison of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan