Tomasz Blusiewicz is a PhD candidate in history at Harvard University. His academic interests include international, political, economic and social history of Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. His dissertation is entitled "Return of the Hanseatic League or how the Baltic Sea Trade Washed Away the Iron Curtain, 1956-1991." This project develops a transnational, comparative perspective on the Baltic region, from Hamburg in the West to Leningrad in the East. The broad, interdisciplinary approach helps to highlight the role played by the medieval Hanseatic port cities such as Rostock, Szczecin, Gdańsk, Kaliningrad, Klaipeda, Riga or Tallinn serving as "windows to the world" east of the Iron Curtain. Special attention is paid to Hamburg as a foreign trade hub and a Cold War intelligence headquarters of the West, projecting its commercial dynamism eastward also through maritime channels. The role of those time-honored Hanseatic ports as agents opening up the region to "the shock of the global 1970s" should be brought to light to create an updated picture of the dynamics behind the eventual collapse of the Soviet Bloc, its Comecon trade system and the Soviet Union itself.
PhD Student in History, Harvard University
Graduate Student Affiliate, CES, Harvard University