How to hold an academic conference in a Soviet (and occasionally, in a post-Soviet) milieu



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

1. Line up the names of people who agree with you and are ideologically reliable or beholden to you for their ticket there and back. Best to use locals as far as possible with a big-wheel foreign invitee or two, provided they’re safe.

2. Do some stuff, make a program, maybe provide a tour to foreign academics, get them sauced. The program of events can be created on the fly, tailored to meet the needs of attracting the right set of people, using up funds allocated, etc. Be creative.

3. Hold the conference, preferably in a semi-comfortable setting, and make sure the papers drag on so long everyone is ready to become a moony.

4. Hold a fake vote of participants on a resolution which you have written before doing step 1 above. If you followed the three steps above correctly, there will be a unanimous vote in favor of your resolution. This proves your conference has been an ideological success and that your views have wide support.

5. Get the participants sauced again, introduce them to major political figures in classy chanceries and ministries, give an honor or two, and then get rid of them.

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