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The Countryside and Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia in the 20th Century - an international conference

The international scientific conference ‘The Countryside and Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia in the 20th Century’, taking place on 11-12 May 2021, is a meeting of distinguished researchers specialising in the issue. They will be discussing the relationships between the Communist Party and the rural population in the 20th century. The gathered scholars will attempt a comparative look on the Polish and Central-European countryside as a space of a great historic metamorphosis in the 20th century.

Conference poster

Marxist ideology referred to the category of social justice as a platform for resolving various kinds of inequalities and tensions. In Central and Eastern Europe, the countryside, with its internal structure and a particular type of property: intermediate between anachronistic "feudalism" and modernized capitalist property, was particularly marked by social problems. Karl Marx predicted that every reform would remain a utopia until the proletarian revolution and counterrevolution faced each other in a world war. He was positive that capitalist property would eventually cease to exist, and the landowners, as a result, would be deprived of land.

The October Revolution in Russia (1917) and the ensuing collectivization of agriculture became the first - and successful - attempt at an ideologically motivated reconstruction. The countryside was transformed completely, both in terms of ownership and the system of the peasantry. However, after World War II, the Soviet model was to become the official course of action in countries under the domination of the USSR. In Poland, and not only there, a multidimensional attempt to "state-farm" the countryside began. It started from the physical liquidation of individual farming.  Attempts to change the rural mentality and make the peasants the backbone of the Communist Party ensued. In many places, however, the "construction of socialism in the countryside" had never been completed.

The conference proceedings will be conducted in Polish and English with simultaneous interpretation. Language selection available after joining the online conference.

To join, please click LINK:


Passcode: 459721





10:00- 12:30

LINK ENG: https://youtu.be/oPPpxna5KFg

The policy of the communist authorities toward agriculture in the USSR (1917–1939) – panel 1


1:00- 3:00
LINK ENG: https://youtu.be/ZEfIMm7DmJQ

Countryside against communism in Central and Eastern Europe 1944–1989 – panel 2


4:30- 6:30
LINK ENG: https://youtu.be/cwYoh41ISiQ


Countryside in the Polish state and society under the communist regime – panel 3


9:00- 11:00
LINK ENG: https://youtu.be/aGcbnrsNq9g


Repression and resistance in the countryside in the People’s Republic of Poland – panel 4

ENG Playlist: The Countryside and Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia in the 20th Century –  an international conference





11 May 2021

10.00-10.30 – opening of the conference

10.30-12.30 Panel 1. ‘The policy of the communist regime towards agriculture and reactions of the rural population in the USSR and beyond (1917-1939)’


Host: Mirosław Szumiło, Ph.D., D.Sc. (Polish Institute of National Remembrance/ Maria Curie-Skłodowska University)

Prof. Marek Kornat (Institute of History of the PAS/Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University)

Prof. Robert Litwiński (Maria Curie-Skłodowska University)

Robert Kuśnierz, Ph.D., D.Sc., Professor of the PU (Pomeranian University in Słupsk)

Jan Jacek Bruski, Ph.D., D.Sc. Professor of the Jagiellonian University (Jagiellonian University of Kraków)

Ireneusz Maj, Ph.D. (Jagiellonian University of Kraków)

Prof. Przemysław Waingertner (University of Łódź)

1.00-3.00 Panel 2 ‘The countryside and communism in Central and Eastern Europe in 1944-1989’


Host: prof. Marek Wierzbicki (Polish Institute of National Remembrance/John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin)

dr Jiri Urban (University of Pardubice/Institute for the Study for Totalitarian Regime, Prague)

Prof. Sorin Radu (Universitatea ‘Lucian Blaga’ din Sibiu)

Prof. Stephen Wheatcroft (University of Melbourne)

Prof. Zsuzsanna Varga (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest)

Prof. Hiroaki Kuromiya (Indiana University)

4.30-6.30 Panel 3.  ‘The countryside in the Polish state and in Polish society under communist rule’


Host: Marcin Kruszyński, Ph.D., D.Sc., Professor at the Military University of Aviation in Dęblin (Polish Institute of National Remembrance/Military University of Aviation in Dęblin)

Prof. Dariusz Jarosz (Institute of History of the PAS);

Sylwia Straszak-Chandocha, Ph.D. (Wrocław University of Economics and Business);

Ewelina Szpak, Ph.D., D.Sc., Professor at the Institute of History of the PAS (Institute of History of the PAS)

Prof. Cecylia Leszczyńska (University of Warsaw)

Tomasz Osiński, Ph.D. (Polish Institute of National Remembrance/Military University of Aviation in Dęblin)

12 May 2021

9.00-11.00 Panel 4.: ‘Repressions and resistance in the countryside in the People’s Republic of Poland​​’


Host: Sebastian Piątkowski, Ph.D, D.Sc. (Polish Institute of National Remembrance)

Prof. Romuald Turkowski (University of Warsaw)

Prof. Janusz Wrona (Maria Curie-Skłodowska University)

Karol Sacewicz, Ph.D., D.Sc. (Polish Institute of National Remembrance/University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn)

Tomasz Kozłowski, Ph.D. (Polish Institute of National Remembrance/Institute of Political Studies of the PAS)

Małgorzata Choma-Jusińska, Ph.D. (Polish Institute of National Remembrance) 


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