Dr. Irina Morozova

Ehemalige Postdoktorandin der Graduiertenschule
Affiliated Researcher


Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies
Leibniz-Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung/Universität Regensburg
Landshuter Str. 4
93047 Regensburg
Tel.: +49 (0)941 / 943 - 5431

Project title

The Debate on Progress, Social Order and Economy and the Rise of New Inequalities in Central Asia, 1970-90s

Project description

For the wide sections of the population in Soviet Central Asia and Mongolia, which had lived through the socio-economic stabilisation of the 1960-70s, the perestroika reform of the second part of the 1980 unexpectedly resulted in a systemic change, - dismantling of socialism and the USSR’s and SMEA’s disintegration. The introduction and implementation of market reforms and public debates on social inequalities uncovered the sharp rivalry for the socialist state resources at the end 1980s-beginning 1990s. The history of these processes, not written so far, shall not only explain the similarities and variations in present development trajectories of such different states as a regional economic ‘leader’ Kazakhstan and a ‘weaker’, known for its revolutionary scenarios of power transition Kyrgyzstan, but also shall highlight the patterns of socio-economic transition internationally. The comparison with the de-jure independent and more successful in ‘democracy-building’ in post-socialism states such as Mongolia (which nevertheless experienced unprecedented social erosion and polarisation) highlights complex historical contexts and makes the study relevant to the questions on development of social systems and sustainability of structures and concepts of nation-state.

The research peruses comparison of the stages and pace of realisation of economic reforms in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia since their conceptual framing within the USSR and socialist world in the mid-1970s, the first experiments with introduction of market elements within the socialist system in 1987 and through launching full-scale market reforms and their further implementation in the 1990s. The project studies the concepts of economic progress, social order and inequalities as they were translated in the media and discussed among the population. The key question is: how the development of the public debate on economic progress, social system and inequalities resulted from, paralleled to and preceded these reforms. The comparative component helps to reflect upon the chosen terms and concepts. The research is largely based on the established database of written and oral original sources. The economic history study is pursued at various levels, as it investigates the privatisation of large state-owned enterprises, on the one hand, and analyses the economic history of everyday life, on the other.

The project shall have an impact upon research collectives and scholars engaged in studying economic history and social production of the concepts on (economic) progress and social inequality. 

Siehe auch die Projektskizze in Jahresbericht 2014 der Graduiertenschule

Curriculum Vitae

Fields of teaching and research

  • Comparative studies of socialist societies
  • Economic and social history of Central and Inner Asia
  • Cold War history and Soviet politics in Asia
  • Modern national movements, post-colonial and post-imperial discourse
  • Social role of religions in Central and Inner Asia
  • Oral history and memories of socialism and transition in Central and Inner Asia

Academic Career

  • 2014 – Researcher, Graduiertenschule Ost- und Südosteuropastudien, Universität Regensburg
  • 2010 – 2014 - Project Director, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU Berlin), Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften, Zentralasien-Seminar
  • 2007 – 2009 Research Fellow, German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Institute of Middle East Studies (IMES), Hamburg
  • 2006 – 2010 Researcher and Lecturer, Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU), Institute of Asian and African Studies
  • 2003 – 2010 Research Fellow, the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden University and University of Amsterdam
  • 2002 Ph.D., History, MSU, Institute of Asian and African Studies

Major Grants and Fellowships (selection):

  • 2010-2014 Grant from VolkswagenStiftung to lead the international research project (9 senior and junior scholars involved) “The History of Perestroika in Central Asia (social transformation in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia, 1982-1991)” 
  • 2007-2009 Forschungsstipendium der Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung (research project “Transformation of political elites in Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia, 1924-2008 (a historical comparative analysis”)
  •  2003-2004 NATO Science Fellowship, scholarship from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) (research topic “Challenges to regional security in Central Eurasia”), the Netherlands

Membership of Professional Societies (selection)

  • 2012 – founding member of the International Unit for Central and Inner Asian Studies (IUCIAS)
  • 2009 – German Association for Middle Eastern Studies (DAVO)
  • 2005-2009 - Board of the European Society for Central Asian Studies (ESCAS)
  • 2001- ESCAS
  • 2001 - the International Institute for the Study of the Nomadic Civilizations (IISNC)
  • 2000 – Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS)

Authored Courses

  • The comparative history of socialist movements in Asia, Africa and the Middle East at the last quarter of the twentieth century
  • Current Debates in Central Asian Studies
  • Socio-political history and international relations in Central Asia in the twentieth century
  • Political economy of oil and gas complex in Asian countries
  • Discussions on Religion and Politics in socialist and contemporary Central and Inner Asia

Organization of International Scientific Meetings (selection)

  • Co-convenor and co-organiser of the International Conference “Changing Patterns of Power in Historical and Modern Central and Inner Asia”, in co-operation with the IIAS, Ulaanbaatar University and IUCIAS, Ulaanbaatar 7-9 August 2014
  • Co-convenor and co-organiser of the International Seminar “Knowledge Production and Knowledge Transfer in and on Central and Inner Asia” (within the IIAS programme “Rethinking Asian Studies in a Global Context” sponsored by the Mellon Foundation, New York), Ulaanbaatar 5-6 August 2014
  • Convenor of the Workshop “Left movements and ideology in Asia, Africa and the Middle East at the last quarter of the twentieth century: towards a comparative-historical analysis” in co-operation with Zentrum Moderner Orient and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, 19 March 2014
  • Convenor and organiser of the International Conference “The History of Perestroika in Central Asia”, sponsored by VolkswagenStiftung and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and hosted by Aigine cultural research center, Bishkek 30 May-1 June 2013
  • Convenor of the International Workshop “The Legacy of perestroika discourses in knowledge production on Central Asia” (together with co-convenor Prof. J. Boldbaatar) in co-operation with Ulaanbaatar University, the Union of Historians of Mongolia, HU Berlin, VolkswagenStiftung, the IIAS, National Institutes for the Humanities (Japan), Ulaanbaatar 24-25 August 2012
  • Member of the Organizing Committee of the ESCAS Conference XI "Studying Central Asia: in quest of new paths and concepts?", Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 3-5 September 2009
  • Co-director of the NATO Advanced Research Workshop “Towards Social Stability and Democratic Governance in Central Eurasia: Challenges to Regional Security”, IIAS, Leiden 8-11 September 2004


List of Publications pfd