Beyond the Kremlin’s Reach? Eastern Europe and China in the Cold War Era

Jan Zofka (SFB 1199), Péter Vámos (U Budapest) & Sören Urbansky (GHI Waschington DC), eds.

Publication Date

May 2018


London: Routledge






Cold War History






This special issue examines relations between the People’s Republic of China and socialist Eastern European states during the Cold War. By focusing on transfers and interconnections, and on the social dimension of governmental interactions, our main goal is to explore structures, institutions and spaces of interaction between China and Eastern Europe and their potential autonomy from political conjunctures. The guiding question we raise is: To what degree did Chinese and Eastern European players beyond the centres of power have room to manoeuvre outside the agendas of the Kremlin, national governments or party leadership?

Biographical Notes

Dr. Jan Zofka (SFB 1199, Leipzig University, Germany)
Jan Zofka is a historian specializing in the history of twentieth-century state socialism. He received a PhD from Leipzig University for a dissertation about late- and post-Soviet separatist movements in Crimea and Transnistria (Moldova). Since 2014, he has been researching transnational dimensions of socialist industrialization during the Cold War with a special interest in its connectedness to global developments. After having concentrated on industrial projects and exchange of COMECON states in and with the People’s Republic of China, he will now focus on the infrastructures of trade and agricultural cooperation between Bulgaria and African countries during the global economic expansion from World War II until the 1970s.

Dr. Péter Vámos (Hungarian Academy of Sciences & Károli Gáspár University, Budapest, Hungary)
Péter Vámos is a researcher at the institute of history at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and associate professor at the institute for East Asian languages and cultures at Károli Gáspár University in Budapest. He holds a CSc (PhD) from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and completed his habilitation in history at Eörvös Loránd University (ELTE) in Budapest in 2007. Vámos has published widely on modern Chinese history and international relations, Sino-Soviet relations, Sino-Hungarian relations, and the history of Christianity in China.

Dr. Sören Urbansky (German Historical Institute, Washington DC, USA)
Sören Urbansky is a historian of Russia and China in the modern era, specializing in imperial and racial entanglements, emigration and the history of borders. Before he joined the GHI in 2018, he has taught Chinese and Russian history at the Universities of Munich and Freiburg and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Kolonialer Wettstreit: Russland, China, Japan und die Ostchinesische Eisenbahn (Frankfurt: Campus, 2008) and Beyond the Steppe Hill: The Making of the Sino-Russian Border (Princeton: Princeton University Press, forthcoming in 2019). He is currently embarking on a new project that examines anti-Chinese sentiments in a global perspective.