Communist Cambodia: Khmer Rouge Rule and Contemporary Institutional Legacies

On February 23rd the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation hosted a virtual conversation on communist Cambodia with Dr. Bradley J. Murg. This event is part of our Communism and the World series. You can access other events in this series here.

In 1979, after four years of radical Maoism and genocide under Pol Pot that left over 1.5 million people dead, the Khmer Rouge regime was finally overthrown following an invasion by neighboring Vietnam. Cambodia subsequently spent a decade under Hanoi’s occupation and saw continued internal conflict until the signing of the Paris Peace Agreements in 2021. In this webinar, Dr. Bradley J. Murg examines the politics and ideology of the Khmer Rouge; their period in power from 1975-1979; and the historical legacies of both the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese-occupation periods that continue to impact the country today. While Cambodia has emerged as one of Asia’s fastest growing economies in recent years, its history continues to weigh heavily on the development of its institutions and system of governance, often more similar to post-Soviet states that the country’s Southeast Asian neighbors. Finally, Dr. Murg will discuss the unique role that Cambodia plays at present as a major center of both Chinese influence and Sino-American competition in the region.

About the Speaker

Dr. Bradley J. Murg is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of International Relations at Paragon International University in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Additionally, Dr. Murg holds positions as Director of Research at Future Forum (an independent think tank in Phnom Penh); Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace; and Distinguished Fellow at the Royal University of Law and Economics. His work, supported by grants from the Social Science Research Council and the International Research and Exchanges Board, focuses on the contemporary international relations in Southeast Asia; the political economy of foreign aid; and the Greater Mekong Subregion as a whole. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Emory University with a B.A./M.A. in philosophy, received a M.Sc. in economic history from the London School of Economics, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Washington. His commentary has been published in Nikkei Asian Review, South China Morning Post, and The Asia Times. Dr. Murg’s most recent work is “Cambodia 2040: A Foresighting Analaysis,” a three volume series published in January 2020.

Event Recording