Dr Péter Vámos

Curriculum Vitae

Péter Vámos is a senior research fellow at the Institute of History at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Associate Professor at the Institute for East Asian Languages and Cultures at Károli Gáspár University in Budapest. He holds a CSc (PhD) from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and completed his habilitation in history at Eörvös Loránd University (ELTE) in Budapest in 2007. Vámos has published widely on modern Chinese history and international relations, Sino-Soviet relations, Sino-Hungarian relations, and the history of Christianity in China. He is the recipient of numerous fellowships, for example: FRIAS (External Senior Fellow, 2010–2011), DAAD (University of Heidelberg, 2009), the Hungarian Scholarship Board (University of Heidelberg, 2008), the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, (Research Grant, 2005–2007), the China Scholarship Council Fellowship (2004), the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Charles H. Revson Fellowship, 2001), the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, (Bolyai János Research Fellowship, 1998–2001), and the Soros Foundation (SOAS, University of London, 1994). 

Research project at the Kolleg

The Soviet bloc and China, 1949–1989
The aim of the project is to cast light on the mechanisms of cooperation and conflict within the socialist world, and to explore how differences in political and cultural traditions and geopolitical locations interacted under the influence of the Soviet Union. In his project he analyzes the relationships of East Central European (ECE) countries with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the only major Cold War player that switched sides during the confrontation. This study has two levels: the relations between the Soviet Union and its East Central European satellites, and the relations between those satellites and the PRC. ECE-PRC relations are studied in the context of Soviet influence on China and Soviet satellites and against the background of Sino-Soviet relations. While it is clear that the Soviet influence shaped intra-bloc relations and the Soviet bloc’s relations with China, the precise ways in which it did so have not been studied in detail. This project seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between the Soviet bloc and China by highlighting the role played by mutual perceptions in shaping bilateral and intra-bloc relations. It places the Cold War in the socialist world in an international context, thus broadening the perspective on the Sino-Soviet conflict, which has been in the focus of Cold War research for decades. One of the central issues examined by the project is the establishment and functioning of the ‘Interkit’ mechanism in Chinese policy coordination. The phrase, which was never exactly defined but widely used in the socialist world, means, strictly speaking, a series of meetings of representatives from the International Departments (the highest foreign policy organ in the Central Committee) of seven ‘fraternal’ parties from socialist countries (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Mongolia, Poland, and the USSR) on China between 1967 and the mid-1980s. However, it also covers the whole process of coordinating policies on China in the Soviet bloc, including economic and trade relations (‘economic Interkits’), cultural contacts, and China-related research (‘Interkit’ meetings of sinologists), as well as propaganda. 

Main areas of research

  • Modern Chinese history and international relations
  • The Soviet bloc and China
  • Hungarian-Chinese relations
  • History of Christianity in China
  • History of Jewish refugees in China