Non-Degree / Dates: 28 July - 4 August 2023

Disentangling Eurasia

Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and their Successors

Third Tallinn Summer School in Soviet History & Culture

Tallinn University invites graduate students and scholars of Soviet and post-Soviet history for a week-long summer school, offering a unique opportunity to reassess and critically examine the field at a time of great upheaval in the region. Through keynotes, workshops, and a stimulating cultural program, participants will gather to question the conventional approach to Soviet multinationality and disentangle the various trajectories of the nations and groups belonging to the erstwhile Soviet realm.

The summer school will be held at Tallinn University in Estonia from 28 July–4 August 2023. It is designed for Ph.D. students in the Humanities and Social Sciences;  however, motivated MA students and non-degree scholars are also welcome to apply. The working language of the summer school is English. 

The deadline to apply is 30 April 2023. Application form is available here

At the 2023 Tallinn Summer School, we aim to bring together leading scholars and Ph.D. students of Soviet society and culture to discuss and scrutinize the fundamentals of the field. This time of rapid developments in the region and singular events of potential world-historical significance calls for a broader look at the historical trajectories of the realm that was once imperial Russia. It is time to revisit the big questions in Soviet studies and review the future of the field. We will do so by expanding the focus beyond the confines of the short 20th century and outside the boundaries of today’s Russian Federation. The war with Ukraine has brought Russia’s relationship with its former imperial realm (as well as its own internal minorities) into sharp focus, prompting the scholarly community to examine our prior biases and prejudices. Scholars of Ukraine, the Baltics, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, among many others, have called to reappraise prior historiography’s Russo-centrism and the often-neglected implications of Soviet nationality policies. We will take a critical and nuanced look at Soviet multinationality (including its “Russia”-question) while also examining other continuities in politics and culture across the 1917, 1940, and 1989 revolutionary divides.


The summer school will feature keynote lectures by Joshua Sanborn (Lafayette College), Serhy Yekelchyk (University of Victoria), and Juliane Fürst (Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History). 

Other faculty include Sofia Dyak (Center for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv), Zbigniew Wojnowski (Oxford University), Aro Velmet (University of Southern California), Eglė Rindzevičiūtė (Kingston University), Madina Tlostanova (Linköping University), David Beecher (University of Tartu), Mischa Gabowitsch (University of Vienna), and other local and international scholars working on Soviet interethnic relations, heritage and memory studies, environmental history, urban studies, cultural studies, history of science and technology, gender studies, and other related fields. The faculty will run workshops and engage in roundtable discussions, which will include ample time for questions and exchange with students.

Organizing Committee: Epp Annus, Karsten Brüggemann, Linda Kaljundi, Andres Kurg, Uku Lember, Kristo Nurmis

Course Director: Kristo Nurmis

The summer school aims to address the following questions, among many others:

How to apply?

The course is designed for Ph.D. students in the Humanities and Social Sciences, but highly motivated and prepared MA students are also welcome to apply. Participants should have an upper-intermediate command of English as this will be the language of instruction. Students are expected to do preparatory readings in order to participate in the seminars and workshops. 

Students will have the option of presenting their own research in the student colloquia.

To apply, you need to submit the following:

Registration opens on 23 February 2023 and will close on 30 April 2023. Admission notices will be emailed by 15 May 2023. Applicants who require an early decision should contact the organizers.

Please note – registered participants are required to notify the organizers ASAP if they have registered but are not able to participate.

Credit points

We will provide a certificate of participation, including a mention of the paper presented if applicable.

Course fee

There is no enrollment feeParticipants will be responsible for their own travel, accommodation, and most of the meals.

Covid-19 Restrictions

NB! When travelling to Estonia, the requirements established in Estonia must be followed. Read about them from website.

Please note that restrictions may change depending on the decision made by the Estonian Government. We highly recommend taking out insurance coverage.


This summer school is supported by the (European Union) European Regional Development Fund (Tallinn University’s ASTRA project, TLÜ TEE, University of Tartu ASTRA project PER ASPERA, Estonian Academy of Arts ASTRA project, EKA LOOVKÄRG and Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre ASTRA project, EMTASTRA).