The Institute of East European, Russian and Central Asian Studies (IEERCAS) which falls under the auspices of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), was formerly named the Institute of Soviet and East European Studies. Preparations for its setting up began in July 1964 and it was formally established in March 1965. After the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, the Institute adopted its current name in 1992. Since its founding, former directors include Wu Xiuquan, Liu Keming, and Xu Kui. Its current director is Prof. Zhang Wenwu.
The functions of IEERCAS are to conduct basic systematic research on the politics,
economy, foreign relations, culture, education, and other areas in Eastern Europe, Russia,
and the Central Asian Republics, and engage in certain applied research, so as to serve
China's modernization drive and support its reform and opening-up, while generally
promoting mutual understanding and friendly cooperation between China and the various
countries in this region.
At present the institute has a total staff of 110, including researchers and support staff. Fifty- five of them, 55 hold senior academic titles. The Institute has four research sections, namely, the Russian Section, the Central Asian Section, the Ukrainian Section, and the East European Section. There are two editorial departments, a library and a reference room, a section for organizing scientific research, a general office and an administrative section.
Programme and publications
The IEERCAS has done a lot of basic research on the general situation, the economic systems, the political systems, nationality relations, foreign policies and political and economic reforms in countries in the region. Large reference books such as the General Survey of the Soviet Union and the General Survey of Eastern Europe and a series of monographs have been published, including An Outline of the Soviet Economy , The Development of Theories of Soviet Economic Construction and Economic Reform, Comparative Research of the Economic System reforms in the Soviet Union and East European Countries, A Study on Soviet and East European Political Systems and so forth. A large number of studies have also been written.
Following the drastic changes in the former Soviet Union and East European Countries in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the IEERCAS has emphasized systematic studies of changes in political and economic situation as well as the transformations taking place in these countries and in the region. A series of research papers and studies has been written on this field. The Institute has two periodicals: East European, Russian, and Central Asian Studies and Studies on the East European, Russian and Central Asian Market.
Since the target countries of IEERCAS are located in Eurasia, Asian Studies have become an important area, focusing particularly on Central and Northeast Asia, including Siberia and the Far East of Russia. The independent Central Asian section undertakes Central Asian Studies, whereas the Russian Section takes care of Northeast Asian Studies. The central Asian section has ten researchers, of whom three are senior research fellows and five are associate research fellows. Professor Zhao Changqing, head of the section, is also a member of the Chinese side of the academic committee of the International Institute of Central Asia which is affiliated to UNESCO. Monographs on Central Asian Studies which have been published in recent years include: The Rise of Central Asia, a series on East European and Central Asian Countries, The Privatization of East European and Central Asian Countries, The Trade Handbook for East European and Central Asian Countries, Questions and Answers on Trade and Economy in the CIS, A Study on the East European and Central Asian Markets, and so forth. Monographs such as The Opening Up of and International Economic Cooperation in Siberia and the Far East and a series of studies and essays on Northeast Asian economic cooperation and the Northeast Asian Zone have also been written.
The IEERCAS has established various kinds of academic exchange relations, not only with research institutions in Russia ans the Central Asian republics and East European countries, but also with similar institutions in the United States, Britain, Japan, Germany, Australia, Canada, France, Sweden, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and so forth, including the exchange of visiting scholars, and joint sponsorship of academic seminars. During the past ten years, IEERCAS in collaboration with foreign research institutions has jointly sponsored international seminars and conferences such as the seminar on the 'Soviet Interview Project', a conference on 'Reform, Change and Transformation of the Centrally Planned Economies', a seminar on 'Russian problems', a conference on 'Russia, Central Asia and China', and a conference on the 'Dynamics of Economic Development in the Central Asian Region'.
The East European and Central Asian Department of the Graduate School under CASS is located in the IEERCAS. It admits MA students majoring in international politics and world economics and PhD students majoring in international political studies. And it has been authorized to grant corresponding degrees in the above-mentioned two disciplines.
Library and Database
The IEERCAS has a specialized library with collections in the fields of politics, economics, and foreign relations of Russia as well as East European and Central Asian counties. The current collection of books exceeds 60,000, including books in more than ten foreign languages, such as Chinese, Russian, English, Japanese, German, French, and East European languages. The library subscribes to 280 newspapers and journals published in Russia and East European and Central Asian countries. And it has established book-exchange relations with libraries in Russia, the Ukraine and other countries. At present the IEERCAS is setting up an electronic database and network, and has begun to contact foreign institutions by e- mail.
Association for East European, Russian and Central Asian Studies
In 1982, on the initiative of IEERCAS, the Chinese Association for East European, Russian and Central Asian Studies (originally named the Chinese Association for Soviet and East European Studies), a nationwide organization, was set up. Since its establishment, thanks to the active participation of member institutions and individual members throughout the nation, the Association has constantly been able to hold various kinds of workshops, seminars, and lectures and other academic activities, and it has done a great deal of work in promoting East European, Russian, and Central Asian studies in China.
Institute of East European, Russian & Central Asian Studies
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
P.O. Box 1103
P.O. Box 1103
From IIAS Newsletter 8 (Author: Yvonne Sanders)