The ongoing Ukrainian crisis has brought back the memories and concerns of the Cold War, an age many deemed a thing of the past not too long ago in most European countries. During that era, their relationship with the Soviet Union was of particular importance to the five most prominent neutral and non-aligned countries of Europe: Austria, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and Yugoslavia. Stabile relations with the superpower in the East were considered a necessity for peace and prosperity and therefore of the highest priority. With the exception of a brief period of exchange in the first half of the 1990s, however, little historical research has been carried about these relations between the Soviet Union and the European neutrals. With the exception of Austria and the Austro-Russian Commission of Historians (Österreichisch- Russische Historikerkommission), little collaboration between historians from the neutral countries and from Russia has been established. This has contributed to a continuing lack of knowledge about mutual relations as well as created a vacuum in a scholarly debate that has the potential to deepen and broaden the perspectives of current decision-makers.
Therefore, the purpose of this conference is to bring together leading historians and experts from the neutral and non-aligned countries, Russia and other countries and open up the floor for renewed study and debate about the Kremlin’s view on neutrality in Europe during the Cold War and today.