Reconciliation in the region of the former Soviet Union will not possible without an engagement with its shared Soviet heritage, colonial spatial structures and emancipatory awakenings. The issue "The Empire Strikes Back?" is therefore centered around the motif of dealing with the built heritage of the Soviet Union, which still links and separates cities and memories in the region, as well as concentrating on enlightened-democratic urban (sub-)culture and civil society protagonists over the last three decades. With a view to teasing out the structural commonalities concealed by descriptive categories such as "post-Soviet society", it examines the local particularities that shape examples of various urban situations. Seeking to develop models for a future together, the issue draws on the region’s shared past in the "empire" along with specific yet shared experiences of the post-Soviet city.