• Robert Desjardins
Part of the St Antony’s/Macmillan Series book series


Jean Bonamour recently wrote that the necessity for growth in Soviet and East European studies in France would eventually ‘lead to the realization that the organizational problems are of decisive importance’.1 At this final stage, we turn our attention briefly to a question which has been surfacing intermittently in the recent past, namely the question of setting up an important centre for research on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. A centre of this kind would ideally be endowed with substantial financial and technical resources. It would also assemble a ‘critical mass’ of French specialists of the first rank, as well as young and lesser-known researchers. Such a centre would promote interdisciplinary research, and would seek to establish durable and fruitful relations with some of the key research centres located outside France. However, the realisation of the idea, in spite of its undeniable merits, has yet to materialise. In this connection, it may be noted that the newly created IMSECO has little to do with such an ‘ideal’ centre. As mentioned to us by its director Marc Ferro, this new institute clearly does not have the ambition to centralise French research on the Soviet Union, but rather, to use Ferro’s words, to give ‘more visibility’ to Soviet studies conducted in France.2


Organizational Problem Decisive Importance Soviet System French Research American Social Scientist 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    J. Bonamour, ‘Soviet and East European Studies in France’ in A. Buchholz (ed.), Soviet and East European Studies in the International Framework, p. 54.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Interview with Marc Ferro in Paris, 16 May 1986.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lannes and Lazitch, ‘La technique du pouvoir en U.R.S.S.’, p. 221.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Interview with H. Carrère d’Encausse in Paris, 5 November 1982.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jean-Pierre Chevènement, ‘Comprendre’, République Moderne, no. 2 (Fall 1985) p. 5.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Interview with Lilly Marcou in Paris, 29 June 1984.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hassner, ‘American Foxes and French Hedgehogs? A French Perspective on East European Studies’, p. 368.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    J. Rupnik, ‘Le totalitarisme vu de l’Est’, in G. Hermet (ed.), Totalitarismes, pp. 52–3.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hassner, ‘Le miroir totalitaire — Le totalitarisme soviétique vu de l’ouest’, p. 204.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Brown, ‘Political Power and the Soviet State: Western and Soviet Perspectives’, in N. Harding (ed.), The State in Socialist Society, p. 87.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Aron, Democracy and Totalitarianism, pp. 215–16.Google Scholar

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© Robert Desjardins 1988

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  • Robert Desjardins

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