Peace on Earth: Exploring the Soviet Independent Peace Movement and World of Transnational Solidarity of the late 1970s – 1980s
The project will examine a history of the independent peace movement in the USSR in the late 1970s – 1980s and the global backgrounds of its activity. It will analyze and make known the hitherto unexplored history, nature and ideology of various independent and grassroots peace initiatives in the Soviet Union and their transnational contacts. The focus of the research will be on the Group for the Establishment of Trust between East and West, 1982-1989 (Trust Group) as the largest and most active late Soviet unofficial peace group which managed to establish strong ties with foreign peace activists and even perform joint actions with them.
At the centre of the research is the transnational context. It will uncover, document and examine the multitude of transnational links of Soviet unofficial peace activists with peace activists around the world, gathering material from both sides of the Iron Curtain, many of which have never been consulted for historical research. As such it will extend historians’ understanding of the so-called “détente from below”, in particular the extent and character of the global network of peace activists in the post-war period. The project focuses on the exploration of the practices, opportunities and limits of transnational solidarity in the last period of the Cold War, then the support of the Soviet independent peace activists inevitably entailed conflicts and break of relations with numerous Soviet official peace organizations. The project focuses on those Western peace groups that tried to conduct a dialogue with the Soviet government and simultaneously to support the grassroots peace activists: the CND and END under the leadership of E.P. Thompson, Greenham Common women, European Quakers and Amnesty International (USA).
This approach will provide new insights both into the history of the Cold War as well as the history of protest movements in Europe. While confining itself to the historical exploration of marginalized, political actors, the project’s conclusion will speak to current questions about the role of marginalized and counter-official discourses in dictatorial regimes, not least in Russia itself.
Dr. Irina Gordeeva
Leibniz-Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam
Am Neuen Markt 1
E-Mail: gordeeva [at] zzf-potsdam.de