International Online Conference

University Valahia of Târgoviște

Târgoviște, Romania

28-29 October 2021

This conference aims to explore how asymmetric/unequal relationships shaped the Cold War, in bilateral, multilateral, regional or global situations.  It intends to discuss the relationship between small and weaker actors versus great and stronger actors, both as theory and as practice.  

During the last few decades, benefiting from the opening of a multitude of state and party archives from the ‘East side’ of the Cold War, a flourishing scholarship on the small powers has emerged. Often cases, it was shown that the weaker actor could impose its preferences on the stronger one or that the stronger actor cannot always (choose to) impose its preferences on the weaker one. Observing the imbalanced relationships between the small and the great powers, this scholarship usually focused on the interplay between the hegemons and their clients – on how the hegemon struggled to maintain its dominance and control over its clients or on how the client tried to break its hegemon’s hold or to find its space of manoeuvre.

Our conference aims to explore Cold War asymmetric relationships beyond the traditional East-West divide and the hegemon-client relationship, and beyond Europe. 

The conference is organized by the Valahia University of Târgoviște, Romania, as part of a research project financed by the Romanian Ministry of Education and Resarch, CNCS – UEFISDI, Project number PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2019-0142, within PNCDI III.  

To attend this virtual conference:

Please register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Day 1: Thursday 28 October 2021

(All times are CET)


Welcome and introduction Elena Dragomir (Valahia University of Târgoviște)


Opening keynote Laurien Crump (University of Utrecht)

10:45-11:00     coffee break


Panel 1: Economic and political asymmetries 

Chair: Elena Dragomir (Valahia University of Târgovişte)  

Gianfranco Caterina (University of São Paulo): Under the shadow of Aswan: perspectives of economic and technical cooperation between Brazil and the USSR (1962-1964) 

Aleksei A. Popov (Chelyabinsk State University): Instead of the Supranationality: Asymmetric relations within the socialist bloc as a factor in expanding the CMEA competencies   

Ryan Issa Hadad (University of Maryland): Reconceptualizing U.S. ‘Economic Warfare’ against the Soviet Union: Toward a New Understanding of Trade’s Place in American Cold War Economic Containment  

Cosmin Popa (‘Nicolae Iorga’ Institute of History, the Romanian Academy): Energy export, international trade and the crisis of Soviet type economies in 70’s 

12:30-13:30 Lunch


Panel 2. Asymmetries in the Communist World

Chair: Silviu Miloiu (Valahia University of Târgovişte)  

Barbora Menclová (Charles University, in Prague): Socialist Czechoslovakia in independent Angola: Aid, partnership, or pragmatic cooperation? 

Frank Gerits (Utrecht University): Cold War asymmetries in a decolonizing Africa (1950s-1960s) 

Idrit Idrizi (Institute for East European History of the University of Vienna): Ambitious ally: Albania’s efforts to radicalise China in the “anti-revisionist struggle” in the early 1960s 

Cyril Cordoba (Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Free University of Berlin): ‘Friends’ or ‘Clients’? Beijing’s Supporters Beyond the Bamboo Curtain (1949-1989).

15:00-15:15 Break


Panel 3. Asymmetries in the West

Chair: Laurien Crump (University of Utrecht)

Stefanie F. M. Massink (Utrecht University): (A)symmetric international relations and the multilateral and global shaping of the early Cold War. A case study of the United Nations and the Spanish Question, 1945-1955 

James Horncastle (Simon Fraser University): Using the Lion to Catch an Eagle: Greece’s use of the Macedonian Question in Greek-American Relations, 1947-1949 

Ioannis Brigkos (University of Vienna): The Greek Junta and the neutral Austrians: a discordant note of the Cold War 


Guest lecture Brendan Humphreys (Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki)

Nationalisms in the People’s Republics

Day 2: Friday 29 October 2021

(All times are CET)


Panel 4. Romania and Economics

Chair: Angela Romano (University of Glasgow)

Costel Coroban (Valahia University of Târgovişte): Negotiation and Asymmetry in Romania’s accession to GATT   

Elena Dragomir (Valahia University of Târgovişte): Cold War asymmetries: Romania and the debt crisis of the 1980s 

Silviu Miloiu (Valahia University of Târgovişte): Endurance or alteration? Romania and the EEC in the 1980s  

Mihaela Botnari (Valahia University of Târgovişte, PhD student):   Romania’s accession to the International Monetary Fund, 1968-1972 

11:00-11:15 Break


Panel 5. Strategies and instruments of small socialist European actors in postcolonial Cold War Africa 

Chair Barbora Menclova (Charles University in Prague)

Jakub Mazanec (Charles University in Prague): Czechoslovak-Ghanaian Cooperation in Water Resources Development: Cold War Technopolicy of a Small Socialist State 

Matyáš Borovský (Charles University in Prague): “To Imprint on the Consciousness of Libyan Society the Presence of Czechoslovakia”: The Unequal Relationship between Communist Czechoslovakia and Gaddafi’s Libya 

Jakob Marcks (Charles University in Prague): How East Germany’s Bauakademie availed itself of UN HABITAT as a leverage for its economic and anti-imperial ambitions in the Global South 


Closing keynote Angela Romano (University of Glasgow)


Closure of the conference Elena Dragomir (Valahia University of Târgoviște)

Programme in pdf:

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