Khmer in the USSR

Phnom Penh: Tep Rindaro has put together a number of interesting photographs from his past. The images, from the 1980’s document his studies in the Soviet Union, together with locals and other students from across the world.

Beginning in 1958 and until the late 1980s, students from the so-called “developing countries” studied in Soviet universities—in Moscow and Leningrad, as well as in Tashkent and Kharkov. These students benefited from the Soviet government’s ambitions to expand its influence in the new independent post-colonial states, but also experienced difficulties in everyday life in Soviet society. Clashes took place due to a lack of resources and equipment, the privileges of foreign students that distinguished them from the ranks of their Soviet peers, social control in dormitories and classrooms, and political disputes. This research project is based on archival documents and personal accounts from graduates, both Soviet and foreign, with the aim of analyzing international solidarity in the form of academic exchange in contrast to the growing tension and upheaval in late Soviet society.


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