In May–June the ERC Project hosted three visiting fellows. Prof. Dr. Christopher Atwood (University of Pennsylvania), a historian, spent two weeks with the research group on June 15–29. Apart from delivering a keynote lecture at the Workshop “Eurasian Parliamentary Practices and Political Mythologies: Imperial Legacies, Diversities, and Representations in the 20th and 21st Century,” he held two seminars for the PhD candidates, working in the project, and advised the project members on their individual studies. Maria Ukhvatova (Saint Petersburg State University), a political scientist, spent several weeks with the group as part of the bilateral cooperation agreement between the two universities. Dr. Aimar Ventsel (University of Tartu), an anthropologist, visited for a week as part of the Visit ERC Grantee Fellowship sponsored by the Estonia Research Council in cooperation with the ERC.
The ERC Project held its second Workshop “Eurasian Parliamentary Practices and Political Mythologies: Imperial Legacies, Diversities, and Representations in the 20th and 21st Century” on June 17–18. The event was co-convened together with Egas Moniz Bandeira (Autonomous University of Madrid) and took place at the Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg (IWH). The Workshop focused on the institutions of collective decision making on the territories of the former Russian, Qing, and Ottoman Empires, as well as adjacent regions of Eastern Europe, Inner and East Asia, and explored parliamentary practices and political mythologies in these parts of Eurasia. It brought together historians, political scientists, anthropologists, and other scholars into a cross-disciplinary discussion spanning across different area studies. Ivan Sablin and Martin Dorn presented papers based on their research within the ERC Project.
Parliaments, Estates and Representation, the journal of the International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions (ICHRPI), published the article “Parliaments and Parliamentarism in the Works of Soviet Dissidents, 1960s–80s” by Ivan Sablin.
Drawing from samizdat (self-published) and tamizdat (foreign-published) materials, this article traces the understandings of parliaments and parliamentarism in individual works by Soviet dissidents and reconstructs the authors’ underlying assumptions in the application of the two ideas. It focuses on the articulations and the implications of four concepts pertaining to parliamentarism – deliberation, representation, responsibility, and sovereignty – in the dissidents’ criticisms of Soviet ‘parliamentarism’ and their own parliamentary designs. Despite the consensus that the USSR Supreme Soviet was both a façade and pseudo parliament and the frequent appeals to popular sovereignty, only a handful of authors discussed parliamentarism as the latter’s manifestation before the Perestroika. With very few dissidents placing deliberation at the centre of a post-Soviet order, the conviction that social and political systems should be based on an ‘ultimate truth’ and respective societal blueprints dominated the dissident discourse in which a parliament, if mentioned at all, was a rostrum rather than a forum.
Martin Dorn published his report on the ERC Project’s first Workshop “Parliaments and Political Transformations in Europe and Asia: Diversity and Representation in the 20th and 21st Century” at the online platform H-Soz-Kult, the leading German platform for the circulation of relevant academic information in History.
Ivan Sablin participated in the Conference “Entering the Parliamentary Stage – Women in Parliament and Politics in International Comparison,” which took place at the German Bundestag in Berlin on March 6–8, 2019. His presentation titled “Minority Women and Revolutionary Parliaments: The Cases of Russian and Soviet Assemblies in 1917–1922 and 1989–1993” explored the participation of non-Russian women in parliamentary formations during the Russian Empire/Soviet Union and Soviet Union/Russian Federation transformations and the ways this experience shaped their political careers and influenced their interpretations of revolution and reform. The conference was organized by the Commission for the History of Parliamentarism and Political Parties (Kommission für Geschichte des Parlamentarismus und der politischen Parteien, KGParl), the Chair for Gender History of the University of Jena, the Institute of Contemporary History and the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the introduction of women’s suffrage in Germany and included both scholars and German politicians.
The ERC Project held its first Workshop “Parliaments and Political Transformations in Europe and Asia: Diversity and Representation in the 20th and 21st Century” on February 12–13. During the event, which took place at the Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg (IWH), historians, political scientists, anthropologists, and representatives of other disciplines had the opportunity to discuss the histories of political representation and deliberative decision-making in imperial and post-imperial contexts and the role of parliaments in major social and political transformations of the twentieth and twenty-first century. The workshop traced the emergence of so-called “peripheral” parliaments in early twentieth century Eurasia, discussed the eclipse of parliamentary institutions, and examined post-socialist and post-authoritarian parliamentary designs. Special attention was devoted to the role of parliaments and parliamentary formations (such as congresses and councils) in representation and management of ethnic, religious, regional, and other social and cultural diversity, recruitment of elites, and legitimation of political and economic regimes in the Russian/Soviet, Qing/Chinese, Mongolian, Ukrainian, Ottoman, and German contexts. Ivan Sablin presented a paper titled “The Soviet Parliamentary Moment: The Russian Federation as a Congress Republic between Socialism and Capitalism, 1990–1993.” Jargal Badagarov and Irina Sodnomova shared the provisional results of their individual and collaborative research within the ERC Project in the joint presentation “Mongolia’s and Russia’s Khurals as Parliaments and Non-Parliaments.”
Ivan Sablin presented the provisional results of his research within the ERC Project at the Colloquium of the Chair for Easter European History of the University of Heidelberg on January 15, 2019. His presentation titled “Parliamentarism in the Works of Soviet Dissidents, 1960s–1980s” was based on the results of his archival fieldwork at the Open Society Archives, Budapest.
Ivan Sablin and Jargal Badagarov presented a joint paper titled “Post-Imperial Debates in Russia and China and the Making of the Mongolian Constitution, 1905–1924” at the 50th Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), which was held in Boston, MA, on December 6–9, 2018, and attracted some 2700 scholars from all over the world. The paper was part of the panel “Parliaments and Imperial Transformations: Political Representation and Diversity Management in and after the Russian, Habsburg, and Qing Empires,” organized by Ivan Sablin, and focused on the Constituent Khural (assembly) and the adoption of the first Constitution of the Mongolian People’s Republic (1924), which was a product of complex trans-imperial and trans-regional entanglements. Like other papers in the panel, it employed the perspective of prolonged imperial transformations which allowed tracing intellectual and political genealogies of new post-imperial polities to the late imperial parliamentarisms and constitutional debates.
Ivan Sablin participated in the International Workshop “Nation and Minority, Sovereignty and Secession” at the University of Oxford on November 23–24, 2018. His presentation, titled “Building a Post-Imperial Nation: Parliaments and Diversity Management in and after the Russian Empire, 1905–1922” focused on the post-imperial assemblies in Ukraine, Siberia, Transcaucasia, and other regions of the former Russian Empire.
Ivan Sablin presented a paper titled “Parliaments in the Revolutionary Russian Far East, 1905–1922” at the International Workshop “Pacific Russia: Transnational and Transimperial Perspectives on Modern Northeast Asia (from the 18th century until the 1930s),” which took place at the University of Bielefeld on October 26–27, 2018.
Ivan Sablin presented the ERC Project “Entangled Parliamentarisms: Constitutional Practices in Russia, Ukraine, China and Mongolia, 1905–2005” at the Sixth Deutsch-Schweizerischer Studientag für Osteuropäische Geschichte, which was held at the Studienhaus Wiesneck (Buchenbach) on May 3–4, 2018 and united scholars from the Universities of Heidelberg, Freiburg, Konstanz, Tübingen, Zürich, Basel, and Bern.