Special Event: Arrested Development: The Soviet Union in Ghana, Guinea, and Mali, 1955-1968

22 February 2024
15:00 - 17:00
Lipsius, Cleveringaplaats 1, 2311 BD, Leiden


The CWRN is excited to announce that it will co-sponsor, together with the INVISIHIST, the book launch of Dr. Alessandro Iandolo’s book titled: Arrested Development: The Soviet Union in Ghana, Guinea, and Mali, 1955 – 1968. (Cornell University Press, 2022).

Arrested Development

Arrested Development examines the USSR’s involvement in West Africa during the 1950s and 1960s as aid donor, trade partner, and political inspiration for the first post-independence governments in Ghana, Guinea, and Mali. Buoyed by solid economic performance in the 1950s, the USSR opened itself up to the world and launched a series of programs aimed at supporting the search for economic development in newly independent countries in Africa and Asia. These countries, emerging from decades of colonial domination, looked at the USSR as an example to strengthen political and economic independence. Based on extensive research in Russian and West African archives, Alessandro Iandolo explores the ideas that guided Soviet engagement in West Africa, investigates the projects that the USSR sponsored “on the ground,” and analyses their implementation and legacy. The exchanges and clashes born out of the encounter between Soviet and West African ideas, ambitions, and hopes about development reveal the USSR as a central actor in the history of economic development in the twentieth century.

Furthermore, we are happy to announce that CWRN’s own, Frank Gerits, will be participating in the event as a discussant.


Alessandro Iandolo is a renowned historian specializing in the Soviet Union and its global interactions. His research encompasses the USSR’s economic, intellectual, and political exchanges with external entities. Currently a Lecturer in Soviet and Post-Soviet history at University College London, Alessandro received his PhD from Oxford University in 2012. His diverse postdoc positions include stints at the London School of Economics, Columbia University, and Harvard University.



For further information, also check: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/events/2024/02/arrested-development-the-soviet-union-in-ghana-guinea-and-mali-1955-1968


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