The Cold War International History Project, the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Freiburg, the Center for Cold War International History Studies at East China Normal University, and the Slavic Research Center at Hokkaido Univeristy is pleased to announce an upcoming workshop entitled 'Interkit': An International Against China? Policy Coordination and National Interests in the Soviet Bloc in the Second Half of the Cold War.

One of the key questions of the history of East-Central European states between 1949-1989 is: to what extent could local political leaderships represent national interests, and to what extent were they mere executors of Soviet interests? In other words, where were the limits of political actions at home and in international relations and what were the domestic and international factors that defined those limits?

The workshop Interkit aims to shed new light on the mechanisms of cooperation and conflicts within the socialist world, and to answer the question: how differences in political and cultural traditions and geopolitical locations interacted under the influence of the Soviet Union. In order to achieve this goal, the workshop analyzes the relationship of East-Central European countries with the People's Republic of China. The workshop aims to highlight the similarities and differences between the China policies of different Soviet bloc countries, and between strategies of individual countries to articulate their national interests against the background of pressure from the Soviet Union. During the 1960s and 1970s, the China question concerned the vital interests of Moscow because China, the only major player of the Cold War that switched sides during the confrontation, posed a challenge to the leadership role of the Soviet Union within the international communist movement.

The focus of the proposed workshop is on Interkit. The phrase, never exactly defined but widely used in the socialist world, means, strictly speaking, a series of meetings of representatives from the International Departments (the highest foreign policy organ within the Central Committee) of seven ‘fraternal' parties from socialist countries (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Mongolia, Poland, and the USSR) on China between 1967 and the mid-1980s. However, it also covers the whole coordination process of China policies of the Soviet bloc, including economic and trade relations (‘economic Interkits'), cultural contacts and China related research (‘Interkit' meetings of sinologist) as well as propaganda.

The workshop was held on 12th-13th May 2011 at the FRIAS house, Albertstr. 19.

Download the 'Interkit' Conference Report

Download the 'Interkit' Program

Visit the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies website for more information

For questions, please contact Peter Vamos at