Vostok Cable is a blog about Russia and Eastern Europe – yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Founded by a group of students at Oxford University, it aspires to provide a unique perspective on the region, bridging the gap between academic and media debates. Vostok Cable is not affiliated with the University of Oxford and students of all universities are encouraged to write for us.
In Russian, Vostok means East.
This convenient geographical definition has enabled Westerners, whoever they are, to dodge an awkward epistemological question about what or where Eastern Europe is. Many universities still apply a designation of Russian and Eastern European Studies (REES) to courses covering everything from the South Caucasus to the Arctic, from Poland to Vladivostok.
Perhaps the most common connotation of Vostok is the Soviet space programme, under which the first human spaceflight in history took place.
Those countries that experienced communism in the Twentieth Century and do not belong to South Asia are today divided by a common history, but also bound to varying degrees by politics, geography and culture. It is unfair to treat each of these countries as anything but unique, and indeed they are interesting in their very diversity.
Vostok is also a Soviet and post-Soviet watchmaker (now based in Lithuania in a rare example of cross-border cooperation).
We make no apologies for aspiring to cover such a large region. In fact, we see it as timely. There are many good blogs covering specific countries or more narrowly defined regions. Nonetheless, Russia and Eastern Europe rarely benefit from the attention paid to other regions. There are few aggregators that cover the entire region and while we make no claim of comprehensiveness, we hope that this trend becomes common amongst more mainstream media.
Thanks for reading.