Olaf Mertelsmann will speak about Eastern Europe in the coronavirus crisis in his inaugural lecture

Olaf Mertelsmann, Professor of Eastern European History of the University of Tartu, will deliver his inaugural lecture “Eastern European “Backwardness” and the Coronavirus Pandemic” in the White Hall of the UT Museum on 14 October at 16:15.

The “backwardness” of Eastern Europe seems to be a long-standing historical fact, although the region is extremely diverse today and definitions of backwardness are plenty. The coronavirus pandemic might be interpreted as something like a stress test for the state, institutions, and society. To a certain degree, success and failure in this crisis are measurable. Because of several factors including the assumed superiority of western institutions, one might expect the eastern half of the continent to struggle more with the pandemic than the western half. However, up to today, the outcome is mixed.

The lecturer is a historian and will not present anything new about the medical or epidemiological aspects of this pandemic.

Olaf Mertelsmann studied history, German, pedagogics and Finno-Ugristics at the University of Hamburg in 1990–1995 and received his PhD in Modern History in 2000. His research interests include Eastern European, especially Baltic and Soviet history, Stalinism, social and economic history, and both world wars. He has authored or co-authored five monographs, numerous articles and has edited or co-edited nine volumes. He is currently working on the Baltic Soviet republics in the 1950s–1960s, Stalinist economics, Estonian transport history and the economic development of the Baltic states since 1920.

This event is organised following the national instructions and the infection safety of participants is checked. Participants must be ready to present a valid health certificate to prove they have been fully vaccinated, recovered from Covid-19 or received a negative test result (a PCR test made by a medical specialist up to 72 hours before the event), along with their ID document.

There will be a live webcast of the lecture, which can be viewed on the university’s video portal www.uttv.ee

Further information: Olaf Mertelsmann, Professor of Eastern European History, University of Tartu, olaf.mertelsmann@ut.ee