The category of the imperial is by no means obsolete, although it certainly cannot and should not be uncritically applied in scholarly analysis. Its reference is not to some actual empire, but rather to a latently functioning figure of thought (as a residual of a past which may not ever have existed). It is this  latency and covertness makes it so complex, powerful and tenaciously long-lived.

The power and significance of the imperial is evident. The word „imperskost'“ can be heard in many discourses in today's Russia. Current historians (e.g. Mark Bassin) investigate how current imperial models can be traced back to models and figures of „Eurasianism“.  The city of Kaliningrad is a literally concrete implementation of a Soviet imperial scheme; official discourses and monument constructions explicitly and implicitly legitimate this to this day. And the physical traces of imperial structuring are omnipresent in cities like Warsaw, Prague and Riga. The goal of our project is to uncover the often hidden and 'covertly operating' non-discursive frameworks of imperial models, frameworks which emerged in the 'second world' (the USSR and its satellite states) and in Yugoslavia in the decades after World War II, but also their historical roots in figures of thought connected to the emergence of Stalinism in the 30s.

This alternative view of historical and cultural developments in the USSR and its satelites between 1945 and1982 (between the end of WWII and the death of  Brežnev), could serve to take a different view of the supposedly radical breaks such as those in 1953-1956 and 1963-1964.

In the investigation of imperial traces, the cultural history of postwar Communism and the Cold War are thus made subject to a 'media turn'.