Bernd Christoph Ströhm



Ströhm’s doctoral thesis is examining the dissident movement of the Soviet Union and the relationship between Soviet dissidents and the (West)-German press from the 1950s until the 1980s. His academic background is multidisciplinary: He obtained his first master’s degree in Slavic Studies at the University of Vienna in 2016. In his first master thesis he examined the controversy regarding the original authorship of the epic novel "And Quiet Flows the Don" published by Mikhail Sholokhov in 1928.  He obtained a second master’s degree in International Relations at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna in 2019, where he focused his studies on the evolution of the international state system during the 20th / 21st century, with reference to Central and Eastern Europe. In his second master thesis, he examined Josip Broz "Tito's" leadership and policies in Yugoslavia from 1945 until his death in 1980 as well as the causes for the subsequent violent dissolution of his "Socialist Federal Republic" during the 1990s. In addition to completing his doctoral project at the University of Vienna, Ströhm also works as an analyst at the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) and as a political risk analyst at the British company IHS Markit (with focus on the CESEE-region).

Research interests: Soviet dissident movement; West German press; Cold War; diplomatic relations between the USSR and West Germany; evolution of the international state system.

Current research project: Der Dissens in der Sowjetunion und die Presse Westdeutschlands (1950er – 1980er Jahre) 
After Khrushchev denounced the “Stalinist” policies in 1956, thereby introducing a political as well as a cultural “Thaw”, the system-critical dissident movement was able to gain a substantial foothold within the Soviet Union. In the 1960s, the Western press coverage of the Soviet cultural “dissent” also increased. Together with the increasing Western coverage of Soviet dissidents, the relations between Western correspondents and members of the Soviet intelligentsia substantially intensified. However, after Leonid Brezhnev came to power (as a result of a coup d'état) the “Thaw” which had been introduced by Khrushchev, abruptly ended. This had a significant impact on the Soviet dissident movement. The consequences of the political and cultural changes initiated by Brezhnev were drastic - the best-known example for the persecution and treatment of dissidents after the end of Khrushchev’s “Thaw” is Aleksandr Solženicyn, who was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974. Nevertheless, during the “Thaw-period”, west-German correspondents managed to gain a foothold in Moscow, thereby establishing extensive contacts with members of the Soviet intelligentsia and dissidents, which couldn’t be reverted by Brezhnev’s repressive policies. Ströhm’s doctoral thesis is researching the relations between the (West)-German press (e.g. correspondents) and Soviet dissidents (as well as members of the Soviet intelligentsia) from the 1950s until the 1980s.


  • "Between Repression and Self-determination: Tito's "Precarious Balance" and the Fragility of Yugoslavia (1945-1991)". In: "Diplomacy. Austrian Journal of International Studies", Issue 1 / 2020, pp.121-149
  • "Croatia: In the eye of the storm." In: No Quick Recovery in Sight, with Coronavirus Risks Looming Large, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), Forecast Report No. Autumn 2020, November 2020, pp. 52-55
  • “Bosnia and Herzegovina: Complex governance structure contributing to foreign dependence" In: Looking for Shelter from the Storm, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), Monthly Report 2020/05, pp.35-36


  • "The Western Balkans: Between self-determination and EU integration." Venue: Diplomatic Academy of Vienna: Vienna School of International Studies. Interdisciplinary Seminar: 19. April 2022 

  • “Dissent in the Soviet Union and the West German Press (1960s - 1980s)” (German: „Der Dissens in der Sowjetunion und die Presse Westdeutschlands (1960er - 1980er Jahre)“. Venue: International conference for young scientists “Past and present in the 21st century. Theories, Methods and Debates within Germany’s and Russia’s Historiography ", 16.-20. September 2019, Yaroslavl State Pedagogical University, Russia.