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The IEES Lives On

The fall of the Iron Curtain made the raison d’être of the IEES questionable for a while. The “total dominance of the Soviet Union” in economics, sociology and philosophy and thus the unity of Eastern Europe were a thing of the past, said FU Vice President Peter Kuhbier in 1992. Was an independent Institute for East European Studies even necessary? Though he subsequently revised his statement, the public debate was already in full swing. The staff and students of the IEES reacted with protests and fought for the continued existence of the institute while agreeing that it needed reorganisation. They argued that closing the institute would destroy an important academic communication line between East and West. The closure was averted, and the institute was reformed. Today, the IEES is once again an international centre for research into Eastern, South-Eastern and Central Eastern Europe. It has also extended its research focus to Central Asia and the Caucasus.