"Paths of Russia" Symposium

On the “Paths of Russia” symposium

History and significance

The “Paths of Russia” symposium is an annual conference organised by Intercentre and the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, dedicated to the understanding of Russian history in interdisciplinary and temporal context. Academician T. I. Zaslavskaya and Professor T. Shanin were the inspiration behind the conference. The conference was first held in 1994, and the symposium has been held annually ever since.

The symposium provides an intellectual platform for scholars from Russia and the CIS countries along with foreign scholars studying Russia to discuss a wide spectrum of issues regarding transformation and directions for the development of today’s Russian society.

Since the symposium’s inception, its title has undergone a number of changes in an effort to reflect the nature of intellectual and societal trends in Russian society. For the first 10 years after its establishment, the symposium had been held under the general title “What Is Russia Heading For?”. Each of the symposiums had a subtitle emphasising the conference’s specific focus on issues most relevant to that moment in time. The tenth symposium was somewhat of a watershed as, on one hand, it was summarising the decade of social reforms and, on the other, it was an attempt to sum up the intellectual groundwork of the post-Soviet social sciences in understanding the transformational processes occurring in Russia. That was the reason for the title change: “What Has Russia Come To? Results Of Societal Transformation”. It has been known as “Paths of Russia” since 2004.

Since its establishment, the “Paths of Russia” symposium has demonstrated its effectiveness and relevance. It is annually attended by over 400 scholars from all over Russia as well as near and far abroad.


Structure of the symposium

The structure of the symposium remains stable despite the annual shift of thematic focus. The conference includes two plenary meetings, opening and closing the symposium, as well as breakout sessions. At plenary meetings, leading Russian and foreign scholars put the main subject of the symposium under the interdisciplinary and general ideological angle and determine the direction of the subsequent discussion. The symposium also provides a platform for sections on various disciplinary fields – sociology, cultural studies, political science, economics, history, and others – that involve a more detailed discussion of the given subject. The concluding plenary meeting summarises the sections’ efforts.

A collection of articles following the symposium is published every year.

History of the “Paths of Russia” symposium

  • Paths of Russia-2019: Narodniks and Populists
  • Paths of Russia-2018: Boundaries of Politics
  • Paths of Russia-2017: One Hundred Years of Changes
  • Paths of Russia-2016: North - South
  • Paths of Russia-2015: War and Peace
  • Paths of Russia-2014: The New Old Order: An Eternal Return?
  • Paths of Russia-2013: Social Development Alternatives 2.0