Yefim Pivovar: We invite experts from other countries to collaborate on the series ‘Writings of the Institute of Post-Soviet and Regional Studies’

 Yefim Pivovar: We invite experts from other countries to collaborate on the series ‘Writings of the Institute of Post-Soviet and Regional Studies’

Since last year, a series of scientific regional studies, ‘Writings of the Institute of Post-Soviet and Regional Studies’, is being published in Russia. Vestnik Kavkaza spoke with the founder of this series, the Russian historian, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, president of the Russian State University for Humanities, member of the Russian Historical Society Council Yefim Pivovar on how the concept of this series emerged and its short-term goals.

- Yefim Iosifovich, today we met to discuss the project that exists within the framework of the Institute of Post-Soviet and Regional Studies. How did the concept of this project emerge?

- Being engaged in the studies of the entire post-Soviet space, we figured out that this process should be formalized, therefore, two years ago, we decided to start the annual publication of the series ‘Writings of the Institute of Post-Soviet and Regional  Studies’,  where each volume would be dedicated to a separate country or  problem.

- What was the first publication?

-We started with Ukraine, in 2018, the first volume, Ukraine Studies, was published. What is peculiar of the very idea of the series, it is a collection of thematic articles. The first volume includes articles about Ukraine - Ukraine’s relations with other countries, the country's foreign policy, its participation in the world organizations, its economic history and economic development at present, the interaction of Ukrainian emigration with other emigrants abroad and in the Russian Empire, if we consider the period up to 1917, and so on. As we wanted, the book includes an essay on the history and culture of Ukraine. It is the first detailed essay in Russian on the history of this territory, and then the country and state, the people, from ancient times to the present day.

- What book was published this year?

- This year we published a new volume dedicated to another region – Kazakhstan Studies. Last year a group of historians of Russia and Kazakhstan was created, and our institute actively participates in the work of this group. The first meeting was held in Nur-Sultan, and in May of this year, Kazakh historians visited Moscow. In Moscow, a large-scale conference was held dedicated to all the problems related to Kazakhstan. When we were preparing this volume, we presented it on the margins of the conference and at the meeting of the working group of the historians of Russia and Kazakhstan.

This volume has a special section on the history of economic relations of independent Kazakhstan with other countries of the post-Soviet space, with Russia and Belarus as the members of the Eurasian Union, there are also articles about relations of Kazakhstan’s business with the countries of the Caspian basin, with Azerbaijani and Turkmen businesses. There are several works dedicated to Kazakhs’ participation in the Resistance Movement during World War II. Representatives of the Kazakh historical science worked on the compilation of this volume; there is an article by an employee of the Al-Farabi University in Almaty. There is also an essay on the history and culture of Kazakhstan from ancient times to the present day.

Separately, I would like to note that, since it’s still about the work of the Institute as part of a university program, we made the “Eurasian Student Tribune” column, where the best reports from the student youth conferences that the Institute holds are published. Some of the best works of undergraduate students were published in this volume, and we will continue to develop this direction in the future.

The first article of Kazakhstan Studies tells about the history of capital as a phenomenon of culture of the Kazakhstani state and society. The current Nur-Sultan, being Astana and Akmolinsk before is not the first and not even the second capital of Kazakhstan as a state. During the USSR period, there were several capitals in this territory. This article is dedicated to the phenomenon of capital, associated with the Kazakh community because even the transfer of the capital from Almaty to Astana was not the first step in changing the capital of Kazakh society. We also reviewed the history of the formation of the modern capital, Astana, now Nur-Sultan,  that recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary, and we traced all the stages of the city’s formation. It must be said that the only transfer of the capital during the existence of the post-Soviet space occurred precisely in Kazakhstan, and this also interested us, we showed how this city developed and its achievements.

- Do you plan to write similar works on other capitals?

- Of course, this is a good topic, the capitals of the post-Soviet states develop in different ways. There are examples of great achievements, as well as examples where significant work remains to be done, there are examples of the development of statehood after 1991, in the framework of the history of the capital of an ethnic group or state. We raised this topic on the example of the current capital of Kazakhstan.

- What are the goals of the project?

- These writings are created not only for the development of scientific topics, which is important but also for educational purposes. We have very few textbooks that can be used in the educational process on the history of post-Soviet countries and international relations in Eurasian space. It is very important that our publications can be used in the educational process, first of all, for the training of masters and post-graduate students of our and other universities. This is not a closed space, and we invite experts from other countries and other centers studying the post-Soviet space to collaborate on these volumes.

- What research will continue the series after Kazakhstan Studies?

- Now we are working on two specific issues. We are preparing a special volume dedicated to Azerbaijan Studies, several authors from Azerbaijan have already been invited, they have already written articles. There will also be an essay on the history and culture of Azerbaijan, I prepared it myself. The book will include a lot of works dedicated to the economic ties between the Azerbaijani business and the business of other countries of the post-Soviet space. There are a lot of issues to discuss, we will write about all existing energy projects. Undoubtedly, we will also pay attention to the Caspian region and issues discussed on the Caspian summits. I think it will be interesting too.

We are also preparing the Belarus Studies volume. We will write about both in history and economic relations of modern Belarus with other partners in the post-Soviet space within the framework of the Union State and within the framework of the EAEC. This is a very large field of activity, and so we will gradually continue to work. There are other blueprints, but  I’m talking about what is being prepared right now. These two volumes will be published in late 2019 – early 2020.