For much of the twentieth century around half the world’s population lived under ‘communist’ regimes. Despite attempts to impose uniformity across these systems they became socially, culturally and economically diverse especially as they entered more stable post-revolutionary phases, even if for most this stability proved to be short-lived. As well as actual regimes (what used to be called ‘actually existing socialism’) communism was also a political philosophy and world-wide socio-political movement. We offer some reflections on the possible meanings of cosmopolitanism in relation to communism although given the scale and geographical scope of communism this will necessarily be selective. At the same time, the diversity of these systems – the Soviet Union for example included 15 Soviet Socialist Republics and around 100 languages and nationalities – meant that there were inevitably encounters between cultures and different ways of life on both official and informal levels. The latter Hiebert (2002: 212) calls ‘everyday cosmopolitanism’ where ‘men and women from different origins create a society where diversity is accepted and is rendered ordinary’. Mobility, at least for some, created a kind of cosmopolitanism in which intellectuals and cadres from across the socialist world went to study in the Soviet Union. There were many other cultural exchanges, such as a shared literary canon of (approved) translated texts from across the socialist world, from North Korea to Poland. Maxim Gorky claimed that nowhere in Europe were so many books translated from foreign languages as in the Soviet Union and by the 1970s 70 per cent of titles published were translations (Gould 2012).1 At the same time, the question of the autonomy and recognition afforded to diverse cultures, and the extent to which the cosmopolitan idea had any meaning in these societies will be assessed here.