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1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union through the prism of political, social and cultural transformations (1970-1991)



12 Déc.   |   13 Déc.   |   14 Déc.


Symposium organized by

Sciences Po (the Center for History at Sciences Po, CERI)
University of Paris-Ouest-Nanterre-La Défense
Bibliothèque de Documentation Internationale Contemporaine (BDIC)
Centre d'étude des mondes russe, caucasien et centre-européen (EHESS/CNRS)
Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme
Université Libre de Bruxelles
with the support of Centre d'études franco-russe (Moscow), Musée de l'Armée and of the CNRS

Twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union (1918-1991), it seems relevant to ask whether 1991 can be singled out as a crucial date in the history of the Soviet Union and if we have new things to say about this major event of the end of the XXth Century.
The collapse of the Soviet Union has been widely studied since the beginning of the 1990s. Over these years, increasingly innovative work has been done, particularly in the field of social and cultural history, which has allowed researchers to link the social and political processes happening before Perestroïka and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

We want to organise a symposium on the year 1991, locating it within several historical periods and with a pluridisciplinary approach.
At first we shall consider the event on a long time scale, in order to put into perspective the political upheavals of the end of the ‘80s in the light of the transformations known by the soviet society since the ‘70s.
A second period of time will focus on Perestroïka and the attempts to reform the system from 1985. While we are sure of the failure of the State's attempts at reform, what do we know about cultural transfers and the circulation of ideas between Europe and the Soviet Union?
The third time period will be 1991 itself. Starting from the assumption that there exists such a thing as « the year of 1991 » in a historical sense, we shall try to establish its significance from the archives and testimonies.
The symposium will last three days : Monday 12th, Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th of December, 2011


Scientific committee : Alain Blum, Pascal Cauchy, Gabrielle Chomentowski, Gabrielle Costa de Beauregard, Gilles Favarel-Garrigues, Anne Le-Huérou, Aude Merlin, Jean-Robert Raviot, Kathy Rousselet.


Monday 12 December

> 9:00 AM
Welcome speech
Jean-François Sirinelli, Director, Center for History at Sciences Po
Gabrielle Costa de Beauregard, Executive Director, Center for History at Sciences Po
Michel Wieviorka, Administrator, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme

> 9:15 -12:45 AM
Introduction, by Marc Ferro,






Chair: Gilles Favarel-Garrigues, CNRS/Sciences Po - CERI
Discussant : Alain Blum, Director, CERCEC (CNRS/EHESS)

Alexei Yurchak, Associate Professor, University of Berkeley
Everything Was Forever Until it was no more. Late Socialism as an object of social analysis.

Rudolf G. Pihoïa, former Director of the State archives of the Russian Federation
From Politics to Property.

Nikolay Mitrokhin, Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen
(Former) Staff Members of Central Committee Apparatus and the Demise of the Soviet Union.

Sergeï V. Zakharov, Institute of Demography, Higher School of Economics, Moscow
Mounting crisis of the demographic system and public policy in the Era of ‘Developed socialism’: a narrative story with a sad end.

> 2:00 - 4:30





Information. Journals, Newspapers, Radio, Television

Chair: Yves Hamant, CRPM/University of Paris Ouest Nanterre-La Défense
Round Table headed by Jean-Robert Raviot, CRPM/University of Paris Ouest Nanterre-La Défense
Carole Ajam (BDIC),
Boris Belenkin (Memorial),
Alexis Berelowitch (CERCEC),
Sergueï Buntman, (Adjunct Chief Editor, radio «Echo of Moscow»),
Hélène Kaplan (RIDECO),
Annette Melot (BDIC-MHC),
Elena Strukova (Russian Historical Public Library).

> 5:00 -7:30 PM
A film by Tenguiz Abuladze «Le Repentir» (1984) , introduced by Gabrielle Chomentowski, lecturer at Sciences Po.

Tuesday 13 December

> 9:15 -12:45





and The Glasnost Challenges

Chair: Anne Le Huérou, CERCEC (CNRS/EHESS)
Discussant: Alexis Berelowitch, CERCEC (CNRS/EHESS)

Carole Sigman, CNRS, Institut des Sciences Sociales du Politique
New Forms of Mobilisation: Informal Political Clubs.

Olessia Kirtchik, Institute of Demography, Higher School of Economics, Moscow
Economists as fathers and actors of the Perestroïka.

Luc Duhamel, University of Montreal
The bureaucracy of retail trade and the KGB.

Alexandra Goujon, University of Burgundy and CERCEC, (CNRS/EHESS)
Popular Fronts in Ukraine and Byelorussia.

> 2:00 - 5:30 PM

The Cultural Changes

Chair: Brigitte Krulic, Director of CRPM, University of Paris Ouest Nanterre-La Défense
Discussant: Pierre Grosser, Center for History at Sciences Po

Myriam Désert, University of Paris IV-Sorbonne et CERCEC, (CNRS/EHESS)
Transformations and new perspectives in Russian history

Sophie Lambroschini, Phd candidate, CRPM, University of Paris Ouest Nanterre-La Défense
The Changes in soviet Television and the media in USSR.

Anna Zaytseva, Phd candidate, University Paris IV-Sorbonne et CERCEC, (CNRS/EHESS)
Rock music and controversy.

Kathy Rousselet, Sciences Po - CERI
Religion at the heart of political transformations.

Wednesday 14 December

> 9:15 - 12:45



points and fragmentation

Chair: Jean-Michel de Waele, Dean of Social and Political Science University, FSP-ULB
Discussant: Anne de Tinguy, professeur des universités, INALCO et CERI

Marc Elie et Marie-Hélène Mandrillon, CERCEC, (CNRS/EHESS)
The Green Glasnost.

Tatiana Hlukhava-Kasperki, Phd candidate, Sciences Po

Taline Ter Minassian, INALCO
The Karabagh and Armenian Nationalism: The Evolutions of the Protest Movement (1987-1991).

Silvia Serrano, University of Auvergne and CERCEC, (CNRS/EHESS)
The Transformations of Public Space in Georgia.

Saodat K. Olimova, SHARQ (Dunshanbe, Républic of Tadjikistan)
Inner Conflict inTadjikistan: Reasons and Consequences.

Ioulia Shukan, University of Paris Ouest Nanterre-La Défense et CERCEC, (CNRS/EHESS)
Communist staff members’ misfortunes during the Perestroïka in Ukraine and Byelorussia.

> 2:15 - 5:30



Chair: Pascal Cauchy, Center for History at Sciences Po
Discussant: Jean Radvanyi, Director, Franco-russian Center, Moscow

Nikolaï Petrov, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow
Russian Regions as Subjects in Politics in 1991.

Aude Merlin, ULB / CEVIPOL
The inner of the "Chechen revolution".

Françoise Daucé, University of Blaise-Pascal, CHEC and CERCEC (EHESS/CNRS)
The Military in 1991: inactivity parameters.

Testimonies :
Andreï Kovalev, Former Counsellor of M. Gorbatchev
Sergei Mironenko, Director of the State archives of the Russian Federation

> 4:30 PM

Conclusions by :
Anatoly Vichnievsky, Director of the Institute for Demography, Heigher School of Economics, Moscow,
Mikhaïl Afanassiev, Director of the Historical Library of the Russian Federation, Moscow.

> 5.30 pm : The symposium will end with a visit of the exhibition "URSS, fin de parti(e). Les années Perestroïka", organised by the BDIC at the Musée d'histoire contemporaine, Invalides (from 2 December 2011 till 26 February 2012)

Links & bibliography

URSS : fin de parti(e). Les années Perestroïka

2 December 2011 – 26 February 2012
Musée d’histoire contemporaine-BDIC
Hôtel national des Invalides – 75007 PARIS