Patryk Babiracki

Junior Fellow
University of Texas-Arlington, US
Project Title: 
Soviet Soft Power and the Poles: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds in Stalin's New Empire, 1943-1957
Project Abstract: 

It is common knowledge that East European communists after the Second World War duly executed Moscow's wishes as they launched a brutal transformation of the local societies, economies and cultures. Less known is that their ideas about how to use "soft power," or broadly-understood cultural cooperation often had to compete with those of the vigilant Soviet officials who were responsible for cultural outreach. Concentrating on the long, dark decade from 1943 to 1957, the book I propose to conclude at the CEU-IAS examines the little known Soviet efforts to build its postwar East European empire through culture. Based on exhaustive two-year research in Russian and Polish archives as well as libraries across Europe and the United States, the monograph will be the first in any language to assay the two-way interactions between Soviet and Polish propagandists. By showing that the Soviet authorities failed to secure a degree of popular legitimacy abroad through direct interventions, my study helps explain why the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe crumbled so easily after less than half-century of existence.

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