Spring 2014

Venue: Gamla Torget 3, 3rd floor, The Library
Time: Tuesdays, 15.15-17.00 (if not otherwise indicated)

Unless otherwise noted: Events listed on this page are free of charge and open to the public. Reservations are not required.


21 Jan Kjell Albin Abrahamson "Är Ryssland större än vår fattningsförmåga? Ryssland och politik". Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: Swedish.  

Kjell Albin Abrahamson, journalist and author of numerous books, has focused on Central and Eastern Europe throughout his career. For over 25 years, Abrahamson has reported for Swedish Radio on dramatic changes in Central and Eastern Europe, including the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. He has received several prestigious literary and journalism awards, including Sydsvenska Dagbladets Europapris (2005), the Jolo Prize (2006), Småland Academy’s Award in Memory of Dag Hammarskjöld (2007) and the Newsweek Polish Award (2009). He is author of several books on Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and former Czechoslovakia. In November 2013 Kjell Albin Abrahamson was named honorary doctor in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

28 Jan Johan Engvall (UCRS): "The Challenge of Curbing Corruption in Eurasia: Reflections from Kyrgyzstan". Chairman: Li Bennich-Björkman. Language: English.

The problem with corruption has attracted the increasing attention of the development community since the late 1990s. And just before Christmas the President of the World Bank even identified it as Public Enemy no. 1 in the developing world. This seminar discusses the problem with corruption and efforts to curb it in Eurasia in general and Kyrgyzstan in particular. On the basis of academic and policy-related research over the past decade in Kyrgyzstan, dominant anti-corruption policies will be evaluated and some thoughts on possible alternatives will be provided.  

Dr. Johan Engvall is a post-doctoral researcher at Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies (UCRS) and a non-resident Research Fellow of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute – Silk Road Studies Program. He took his PhD at the Department of Government, Uppsala University in 2011. He has published articles in scholarly journals, such as Governance, Post-Soviet Affairs and Europe-Asia Studies. A Russian translation of his dissertation was recently published in Kyrgyzstan. He is currently working on a project on anti-corruption policies focusing on Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.   

30 Jan Fabian Linde (UCRS): "Civilizationism Rising:The Civilizational Turn in Russian Foreign Policy Discourse 2008-2012". Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: English. Paper: anyone interested in reading the paper before the seminar can request a copy by writing to fabian.linde@ucrs.uu.se

The seminar is based on the paper that examines the emergence of civilizationism in Russian foreign policy discourse during the course of Dmitry Medvedev’s presidency (2008-2012). Civilizationism is defined as a conceptual framework centred on the notion of a plurality of coexisting civilizations. The approach chosen in the paper is toaccount for its place in a processual development. The paper identifies a ‘civilizational turn’ as occurring in 2008, which it argues can be viewed as part of a broader story of an ever-increasing symbolic sovereignization of Russia and simultaneous containment of the West on the part of the Russian government. What challenges this view is the fact that Russia’s own civilizational identity during the period in question was predominantly defined as European. Even so, it is argued that the fact that the Russian government would eventually offer a contending model based on the notion of a self-contained and unique Russian civilization was in a sense inevitable. Several arguments are put forward in favour of this view. First of all, the paper argues that several ideas contained in Vladimir Putin’s so-called Millennium Message, as well as the subsequently introduced notions of ‘sovereign democracy’ and multipolarity, can be seen as germinal ideas that already contained within themselves a conceptual potential that could eventually develop into a full-blown civilizational discourse. Second, the manner in which civilizationism was introduced in 2008 as an explicit containment of values originating in the West confirms the view that civilizationism was launched as an alternative to Western-led globalism. Lastly, the increasing emphasis on indigenous cultural values in Russian politics that began during the period in question is also seen as crucial, since an emphasis on the uniqueness of a civilization’s cultural heritage in relation to that of others lies at the very heart of the civilizational framework itself. In the concluding remarks, it is suggested that the broader political implications of the rise of civilizationism to the status of official Russian policy are becoming all the more apparent today.

Fabian Linde (PhD) is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the UCRS specializing in Russian intellectual history. He is currently leading a project financially supported by the Swedish Research Council, which examines varieties of civilizational discourse in the Russian political sphere in relation to the initiative to form a Eurasian (Economic) Union. Fabian Linde earned his PhD at Stockholm University in 2011. 


3 Feb (NB! Monday at 15:15-17:00) Lea Kreinin (Glasgow University): "The Estonian diaspora in Scotland: from isolation to transnational ways of living". Chairman: David Smith. Language: English.     

Lea Kreinin studied Estonian, Finno-Ugric and Hungarian languages at the University of Tartu, where she obtained an MA degree in Uralic languages in 2004. She has since worked as a lecturer in Estonian language, culture and society at ELTE university in Budapest, and at the University of Glasgow. She is currently conducting PhD research in Glasgow on the Estonian community in Scotland. The research looks in parallel at „old“ and „new“ migrants, using transnationalism as a theoretical background. Lea is also a member of Baltic Heritage Network and an affiliated researcher at the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies at the University of Edinburgh. 

4 Feb Alexander Golts (Vienna/Moscow): "Russian Military Reform". Chairman: Stefan Hedlund. Language: English. 

Thirteen months ago, Vladimir Putin dismissed Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov on corruption charges. However, it is obvious that Serdyukov was a victim of the conflict with senior officials and heads of the military-industrial complex. Cause of the conflict - an attempt to carry out a military reform. It was the most consistent and radical military reform over the past 150 years. What are the prospects for the continuation of the military reform? What is its significance for the future of Russia? These and other interesting issues will be discussed during the seminar.

Aleksandr Golts received an M.A. in journalism from the Department of Journalism of the Moscow State Lomonosov University. Between 1980 and 1996 he worked for the "Krasnaya zvezda" ("Red star") editorial board, Soviet then Russian military daily (Moscow). In 1996-2001 he served as military editor of “Itogi”, a leading Russian news magazine (Moscow). In 2001 – 2004 he worked for the magazine "Yezhenedelnyi journal" ("Weekly") as deputy editor-in-chief (Moscow). Now Mr Golts works as deputy editor for the website www.ej.ru. He also contributes to a column for “Moscow Times”. In 2002-2003 he was visiting fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) of Stanford University. His main publications include “Russian Armed Forces: 11 lost years” (Moscow, 2004), "Militarism: The Main Obstacle of Russia’s modernization" (Moscow, 2005), "Conscription: a basic question of civil-military relations in Russia//The Russian Armed Forces in transition" (Routledge. London and New York, 2012) and "The Armed Forces in 2020: modern or Soviet?" (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2011.

11 Feb Dmitry Uzlaner (Moscow): "Pussy Riot’s punk-prayer: Orthodox believers, protest and religious freedom in Putin’s Russia". Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: English.  

The seminar will be devoted to the “punk-prayer” that was performed by Russian group “Pussy riot” in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on February 21, 2012. The case of “punk-prayer” will be analyzed as an incidence of negotiation of the boundary between the secular and the religious in the Russian legal and social sphere. Dmitry Uzlaner will try to show that the outcome of this negotiation has had a decisive impact on the way in which religion, critique and the human right to religious freedom have been defined in the present Russian context.

Dmitry Uzlaner is Associate Professor at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (Moscow, Russia). He is editor-in-chief of State, Religion and Church,one of the oldest Russian journals devoted to the scientific study of religion.(http://religion.rane.ru/?q=en ).  

18 Feb Matthew Kott (UCRS): "The Fate of the Romani Minorities in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania during World War II: Problems and Perspectives for Romani Studies and Comparative Genocide Research". Chairman: Li Bennich-Björkman. Language: English. 

The presentation will offer a summary of what is known about the genocide of the Romani minorities in the Nazi-occupied Baltic states during World War II. As a result, it will also raise questions about the nature of this genocide and its perpetrators, as well as discussing some of the implications for both genocide scholarship, and for the integration of Romani minorities into European society today.

20 Feb Vladislava Vladimirova (UCRS): "Anthropological Research in Subarctic Russia: Review of Topics and Theoretical Approaches". Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: English.  

The seminar will review how anthropologists (primarily international academics, but also those working within Russia) are creating knowledge about different spheres of life in the subarctic regions of Russia. Although limited, Western anthropological research in the North began already in Soviet times, introducing methodological traditions and insights to the study of ethnicity and indigenous economy in ways that challenged state ethnographic dogma. Since the end of the Soviet period the subarctic Russia has become the focus of numerous anthropological studies by international scholars. The dominant anthropological traditions in the West highlight problems and marginality of underprivileged groups as well as the growth of indigenous ethnopolitics . Thus the focus was on ethnicity, traditional economy, and state power. Classical anthropological interests also prompted research on pastoralism, social institutions, and tribal religion. The growth of Postsoviet studies in anthropology involved development of theories about property relations, informal economy, social security, citizenship and legal pluralism. Another important theme has been the political ecology of the Russian North, which engages a wide range of issues, from human-animal and human-nature relations, to environmental conflicts over resources—such as indigenous struggles with unrenewable resource extraction industries— to the impact of rapid climate change and environmental degradation. Recent years have been marked by increasing connection among Western and Russian anthropological research, especially in terms of methodology and choice of topics. 

Vladislava Vladimirova is an anthropologistat the UCRS and the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology at Uppsala University. She has been actively involved in research among Sami and other Northern Peoples in Russia. Her field of interest covers topics like indigenous economy and ethnicity, Russian and international legislation targeting indigenous people, civil society, and indigeneity across borders. Theoretically, her research is inspired by the fields of political ecology, economic anthropology, and moral anthropology. She has worked in international research projects funded by organizations like the Swedish Riksbanken, theNorwegian Research Council, EU Framework 4, and the American Science Foundation.  

24 Feb (NB! Monday at 15:15-17:00)  A SPECIAL SEMINAR DUE TO THE CURRENT SITUATION IN UKRAINE "Understanding the Ukrainian crisis" with Dr Igor Torbakov, Prof Li Bennich-Björkman and Prof Stefan Hedlund. Moderator: Prof Elena Namli. Language: English.    

Due to the current events in Ukraine we are arranging a special seminar entitled "Understanding the Ukrainian Crisis". Dr Igor Torbakov will present a short overview and analysis of the current situation with Professor Li Bennich-Björkman and Professor Stefan Hedlund being discussants and Professor Elena Namli moderating the seminar. The seminar will be held on Monday in our library starting at 15:15. No pre-registration is required.

With the latest round of violence in downtown Kiev Ukraine's political crisis appears to be dangerously spinning out of control. The initially peaceful campaign of civil disobedience has degenerated into bloody clashes in the capital city that risk to engulf other regions of the country. The discussion will focus on the set of crucial questions: Why did the political confrontation turn nasty? What goals are being pursued by the opposition forces and the ruling regime? What role do outside actors play? Will trouble spread further or is there a possibility for a negotiated solution?  

25 Feb Richard Sakwa (University of Kent): "The Dual State, Regime Reset, and the Prospects for Constitutionalism in Russia". Chairman: Stefan Hedlund. Language: English.

Contemporary Russia is more than just a hybrid polity, combining democratic institutions with authoritarian practices, but is a dynamic system in which the principles sustaining the new orders remain in fundamental tension. In this system power derives from the networks engaged in informal practices in permanent tension with the constraints imposed by the formal constitutional order. Power is thus both formless and contained. This has given rise to a distinctive type of dual state. Freedom has been granted the nation, but this freedom can only be exercised within the constraints of the logic of the transformative process itself. In other words, while the typical panoply of democratic institutions has been created within the framework of the constitutional order, a parallel system has emerged that claims certain prerogatives that transcend the rules and constraints of the constitutional state. This ‘prerogative state’, or as we call it the administrative regime (Verwaltungsstaat), represents a distinctive case of ‘domain democracy’, where the rules applied to the rest of society do not apply to itself. Thus a tutelary system has emerged, but one which operates within certain constitutional constraints. This provides scope for intra-systemic shifts towards strengthening the constitutional state (as in the present ‘regime reset’); and the model more broadly provides a conceptual framework for oppositional strategies. Thus, the distinction between the two wings of the ‘dual state’, the constitutional state and the administrative regime, helps us understand the contradictions of the Putin system and their potential resolution.

Richard Sakwa is Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent at Canterbury and an Associate Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House. After graduating in History from the London School of Economics, he took a PhD from the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Birmingham. He held lectureships at the Universities of Essex and California, Santa Cruz, before joining the University of Kent in 1987. He has published widely on Soviet, Russian and post-communist affairs. Books include: Postcommunism (Buckingham, Open University Press, 1999), Contextualising Secession: Normative Aspects of Secession Struggles (Oxford University Press, 2003), co-edited with Bruno Coppieters; the edited volume Chechnya: From Past to Future (London, Anthem Press; Sterling, VA, Stylus Publishers, 2005); Russian Politics and Society (London & New York, Routledge, 4th edn 2008), and Putin: Russia’s Choice (Routledge, 2nd edn 2008). His book on The Quality of Freedom: Khodorkovsky, Putin and the Yukos Affair was published by Oxford University Press in 2009, and his study called Communism in Russia: An Interpretative Essay was published by Palgrave Macmillan in August 2010 (with a Russian version published by Rosspen in 2011). His book on The Crisis of Russian Democracy: The Dual State, Factionalism and the Medvedev Succession came out with Cambridge University Press in 2011. In 2014 two books are due out: Putin and the Oligarch: The Khodorkovsky - Yukos Affair (London and New York, I. B. Tauris) and Putin Redux: Power and Contradiction in Contemporary Russia (London and New York, Routledge).


4 Mar Susanna Witt (UCRS): "Translation and Intertextuality:  Russian Literary History Reconceptualized". Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: English.   

The seminar relates to a research project in process, tentatively called ” The Interface with the Foreign: The Russian School of Translation, Cold War, and World Literature.”  Viewing translation as a culture’s interface with the foreign, this project deals with Russian cultural history of the period 1945–1985. It departs from a seeming paradox: the Soviet Cold War positioning vis-à-vis the West — Russia’s traditional Other — also implied close contact through various kinds of translation. Concomitant with the inception of official xenophobic discourse was the establishment, in 1946, of a Stalin prize for translations, and the post-war decade saw a series of important works of world literature appearing in Russian. The design of this interface was a particular concern for the Soviet literary apparatus. Beginning in 1948, a battle was fought about translation principles and about the very concept of the ”Soviet school of translation”. Gradually, this concept became synonymous with domesticating attitudes to translation, implying adaptation to an ”ideal” Soviet reader. At the same time, many of the translations were of high quality.

The aim of the project is to trace the establishment of the concept of the ”Soviet school of translation” and its significance for Soviet post-war appropriation and reception of world literature, drawing on new archival material and contemporary reflection on translation, that is,  translation theory, translation critique and translatorial selfreflection of the time. It will also explore translations made by the agents involved, focusing on problems of intertextuality. Combining perspectives from Translation Studies and Slavic Studies, the project seeks to contribute to a still non-existent ”thick” Russian translation history which, hopefully, will create new possibilities for reflection on Russia’s interaction with the West. The paper to be presented at the seminar connects to the second part of the project devoted to translation analysis. The reason for singling out intertextuality as a main parameter is the well-established view on translation during Soviet times as an ersatz activity for original writing in a politically repressive setting. If this is the case, it is argued, we should approach translations on the same premises as original writing, that is as literature and in the context of the target literature as a whole.  

The seminar will be held in English while target text examples discussed will be in Russian. Those interested in taking part in the seminar are advised to familiarize themselves with the samples appended from Byron’sDon Juanand from the translations by Georgii Shengeli and Tatiana Gnedich.

Susanna Witt is Associate Professor in Slavic Languages and Literatures, affiliated to UCRS. During 2012–2013 she was a Research Fellow at the Centre. Specializing in Russian translation history, she has conducted archival-based research within the projects “Totalitarianism and Translation: Control and Conflict in Soviet Translation Practices, 1932–1953” (funded by RJ, carried out at the Slavic Department, Stockhom University) and “Russian Translation Cultures” (at UCRS). Her recent publications include: “The Shorthand of Empire: Podstrochnik Practices and the Making of Soviet Literature, ”Ab Imperio 3, 2013; “Arts of Accommodation: The First All-Union Conference of Translators, Moscow, 1936, and the Ideologization of Norms” in: Burnett, Leon , "s appended from Byron’sDon Juanand from the translations by Georgii Shengeli and Tatiana Gnedich.

Susanna Witt is Associate Professor in Slavic Languages and Literatures, affiliated to UCRS. During 2012–2013 she was a Research Fellow at the Centre. Specializing in Russian translation history, she has conducted archival-based research within the projects “Totalitarianism and Translation: Control and Conflict in Soviet Translation Practices, 1932–1953” (funded by RJ, carried out at the Slavic Department, Stockhom University) and “Russian Translation Cultures” (at UCRS). Her recent publications include: “The Shorthand of Empire: Podstrochnik Practices and the Making of Soviet Literature, ”Ab Imperio 3, 2013; “Arts of Accommodation: The First All-Union Conference of Translators, Moscow, 1936, and the Ideologization of Norms” in: Burnett, Leon &")">samples appended from Byron’sDon Juanand from the translations by Georgii Shengeli and Tatiana Gnedich.

Susanna Witt is Associate Professor in Slavic Languages and Literatures, affiliated to UCRS. During 2012–2013 she was a Research Fellow at the Centre. Specializing in Russian translation history, she has conducted archival-based research within the projects “Totalitarianism and Translation: Control and Conflict in Soviet Translation Practices, 1932–1953” (funded by RJ, carried out at the Slavic Department, Stockhom University) and “Russian Translation Cultures” (at UCRS). Her recent publications include: “The Shorthand of Empire: Podstrochnik Practices and the Making of Soviet Literature, ”Ab Imperio 3, 2013; “Arts of Accommodation: The First All-Union Conference of Translators, Moscow, 1936, and the Ideologization of Norms” in: Burnett, Leon & Emily Lygo (eds.), The Art of Accommodation: Literary Translation in Russia, Oxford etc.: Peter Lang, 2013;  “Totalitarizm i perevod: kontekst Dzhambula” in:K.Bogdanov, R. Nicolosi, Iu. Murashov (eds.), Dzhambul Dzhabaev. Prikliucheniia kazakhskogo akyna v sovetskoi strane Moscow: NLO, 2013.  

11 Mar David Smith (UCRS/University of Glasgow): "National Minority Rights, State Consolidation and the Construction of Political Community: Practices of Non-territorial Cultural Autonomy in Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe". Chairman: Li Bennich-Björkman. Language: English.  

First devised in the early 20th century by Karl Renner and Otto Bauer, the model of non-territorial cultural autonomy (AKA national-cultural autonomy) has become increasingly salient to national minority rights debates in post-communist Europe. During the past 20 years, variants of this model have been adopted by at least seven states of the region and continuously debated in others. In spite of this, there has still been no comparative investigation of the return of NTCA and its potential implications for state consolidation and the construction of political community in the region. In this seminar, David Smith will shortly introduce a new forthcoming research project on these themes, by linking this back to his existing work on practices of NTCA in the inter-war Baltic States, their impact on broader European-level minority rights debates and their possible relevance to contemporary theories of multiculturalism.

David J Smith is Professor of Baltic History and Politics at the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow and (since July 2012) a Visiting Research at the Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies. He has published extensively on issues of state and nation-building and ethnic politics in the Baltic and beyond, and is co-author (with John Hiden) of Ethnic Diversity and the Nation-State: National-Cultural Autonomy Revisited (Routledge: 2012).  

13 Mar Tova Höjdestrand (Lund University): "Fatherland, Faith, and Family: Negotiations of Nation, Tradition, and Civil Society in a Russian Pro-Family Movement". Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: English.     

Concerns about family, sexuality and demography have since the mid-2000s received an increasingly central position in Russian public discourse. Symptomatic for this development is the so-called Parents’ Movement; a growing number of non-state organizations, usually small and semi-official, defending what they interpret as traditional Russian family values against ostensibly Western moral “pollutants.” However, the struggle for virtue is also saturated by a profound mistrust of Russian state power, and a fundamental challenge to activists is thus also to influence a corrupt political sphere without for that sake betraying the moral purity of their own modus operandi and, thereby, of the virtuous civil society that they consider themselves to constitute.

Tova Höjdestrand is a social anthropologist and completed her Ph.D. at Stockholm University. The thesis, “Needed by Nobody: Homelessness and Humanness in Post-Socialist Russia,” was published by Cornell UP in 2009. For a couple of years she worked as main administrator of the ICCEES World Congress in Stockholm 2010. Since 2010 she is a lecturer at Lund University and has for a year and a half also been engaged in this project about the Russian “Parents movement.”   

18 Mar Amir Weiner (Stanford University): "The KGB: Brutal Sword and Imperfect Shield of the Revolution". Chairman: Stefan Hedlund. Language: English.  

The seminar explores the ambiguous record of the Soviet security services which achieved an unsurpassed penetration of society, on the one hand, and an equally unsurpassed level of waste and redundancy, on the other hand. What did the Soviets initially know about populations on which they imposed their rule? What did they want to know? How did they obtain their information and recruit informants? How did the surveillance system cope with the political and socio-economic turbulence and changes of the post-Stalin era, and, in particular, the challenges of the spillover of unrest from the restless satellites and the loss of monopoly over information? How did the organs in charge of gathering information react and adjust to the simultaneous decline in the party-state authority and the rise of dissent, restless youth and secessionist national movements? How successful was the surveillance enterprise according to the Soviets’ own goals and evaluation? And finally, what do the surveillance methods tell us about the nature, goals and distinct features of the regime when compared with other systems? At what point did the obsessive gathering of information turned too much for their own good?  These and other exciting issues will be discussed during the seminar. 

Amir Weiner is a Professor of History at Stanford University. He is the author of Making Sense of War: WWII and the Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution; Landscaping the Human Garden; and numerous articles on WWII and Soviet politics and society and the Soviet West after Stalin's death. Currently he is completing a monograph, "Getting to Know You: The KGB and Soviet Society."  

24 Mar (NB! Monday at 15:15-17:00) Roundtable discussion "Development of Concept and Practice in Political Marketing: The Experience of the United States and Russia" with Professor Bruce Newman (USA), Professor Svetlana Vinogradova (Russia) and Associate Professor Dmitry Rushchin (Russia). Language: English.

A roundtable discussion will focus on the issue of the practical and conceptual aspects of political marketing in the United States versus Russia. Three speakers shall be giving their perspectives on political marketing. Professor Newman shall speak about the US experience in terms of its development, both as a concept and a practice. Then Professor Vinogradova and Associate Professor Rushchin shall give the Russian perspective, from the perspective of the domestic political experience. There shall also be an assessment given about the international and foreign policy dimensions, such as the repercussions of the situation in Ukraine. The three guests shall then discuss the wider significance and implications of their presentations. The floor will be opened for questions following the discussion.

Professor Bruce Newman is from DePaul University (Chicago, USA) and is currently Professor of Marketing and Wicklander Fellow in Business Ethics. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Political Marketing. In March, 1995 he was invited to the White House to advise senior aides to President Clinton on communication strategy.He subsequently met with President Clinton's senior aides on several occasions at the White House, carrying out research studies over a one and one-half year period.In May 1999, Bruce met with former President Lech Walesa and his top aides in Poland to advise him on his presidential run in 2000.  

Professor Svetlana Vinogradova is the Head of the Theory and History of the International Relations of School (Faculty) of International Relations at St. Petersburg State University. Her scholarly interests are the theory of international relations and mass communication.  

Associate Professor Dmitry Rushchin is from Theory and History of the International Relations of School (Faculty) of the International Relations at St. Petersburg State University. His scholarly interests include the international relations, global studies, mass communication, journalism, public relations, and history of Russia.   

25 Mar Konstantin Kostyuk (Moskva): "Русская церковь: жизнь в разрывах времени". Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: Russian.    

The seminar "Русская церковь: жизнь в разрывах времени " seeks to explain the inability of Orthodoxy to synchronize its development with the pace and trajectory of social development. Dr Kostyuk will also try to reveal the social and ethical content of the Orthodox Church, which the Church connects with the concept of historical time.

Dr Konstantin Kostyuk defended his PhD thesis entitled ”Понятие политического в православной традиции” at Catholic University of Eichstätt in 2002.Among his scientific interests are social teaching of the Christian church, including the social concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, religion in society, the philosophy of the modern mass media and the information society, modern Western philosophy. Dr Kostyuk is the author of numerous publications and several books, including «История социально-этической мысли в Русской православной церкви» (2013).


CANCELLED! 3 Apr Irina Karlsohn (UCRS): "Солженицын и непредсказуемость истории". Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: Russian.

3 Apr (Brusewitz Hall, Gamla torget 6, 3 floor at 09:00-16:30) Symposium "WTO and Russia; What Can We Expect? Economic, Legal and Political Implications". Download the programme. Symposium is arranged by the Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies (UCRS) and the Department of Law at Uppsala University. For more information, please contact workshop organizer Kaj Hobér (kaj.hober@jur.uu.se)

After 18 years of negotiations Russia has finally become the member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Russia is an important trading partner for many countries, especially for Europe and Scandinavia. The aim of this symposium is to discuss Russia's WTO membership from economic, political and legal perspective. Issues to be discussed include, for instance, how Russia’s membership affects its foreign trade in general, its exports of oil and gas, and the possibility of foreign investments in Russia. An overarching issue is whether the WTO can serve as a catalyst for change within Russian bureaucracy and legal system. Speakers at the symposium will discuss these and other issues from both practical and theoretical perspectives.

8 Apr Boris Mezhuev (Moscow): "Perestroika - 2”: The causes of failure". Chairman: Elena Namli. Presentation will be held in Russian followed by a discussion in Russian and English.  

The seminar is based on the book Перестройка-2»: опыт повторения ("Perestroika 2: The experience of a repetition"), which contains a series of intellectual essays written between 2008-2013. The common theme of the book is the search in recent cultural and social thought for signs of both a desire for - and fear of - a repetition of perestroika under Gorbachev. This duality gives rise to an acute neurosis born out of the failure of the first political awakening, conditioned by the unpreparedness of the Soviet intelligentsia to participate fully in political life. The author analyzes various cultural phenomena of the perestroika and post-perestroika periods, with the aim of revealing in both symptoms of the same chronic neurosis that must finally be overcome. 

Boris Mezhuev is Senior Fellow at the Department of Philosophy, Moscow State University. Since 2003 Boris Mezhuev has been working in the area of political journalism; between 2008-2010 he was editor-in-chief of the “Russian Journal”, while starting with the fall 2013 he has been working as vice editor-in-chief of the newspaper «Известия». Boris Mezhuev is the author of numerous articles and several books. His recent publications include monography “Political critique of Vadim Tsymburski” (2011), “Perspectives of political modernization in Russia” (Polis, 2010, № 6), and “The ‘Orange Revolution:’ A Reconstruction of the Context” (Polis, 2006, № 5). He is also co-editor (with Lejyld Blyakher and Alexader Pavlov) of the collection of works The Concept of Revolution in the Modern Political Discourse (SPb., 2008).  

15 Apr Lena Jonson (Swedish Institute of International Affairs): "Art and Protest under Putin". Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: English. 

Lena Jonson presents her research project Art and Protest in Putin's Russia where she analyses the role of culture, in this case contemporary art, in the development of protest in Russia during 2005-2013.  Jonson argues that values and perceptions undergo changes long before social eruptions take place. These shifts are reflected and expressed in the cultural sphere before being articulated in political terms.  She discusses the mind-liberating function of Russian art during these years as a) reconfiguring the sensory landscape, b) exposing shifts in the official discourse, and c) substituting politics in some cases. It is argued that art thereby contributed to the formation of a counterculture and to the process of subjectivation in Jacques Rancière’s meaning.  

Lena Jonson is an Associate Professor, Ph.D. of political science, head of the Russia research programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, former Cultural Counsellor at the Swedish Embassy in Moscow, and the author of several books on Russian politics.  

24 Apr Greg Nizhnikau (Tartu University): "EU's impact in the Eastern neighbourhood: explaining EU's rule transfer in migration and environment sector in Moldova and Ukraine". Chairman: Stefan Hedlund. Language: English.      

The talk will discuss the EU's attempts to induce institutional change in the Eastern neighbourhood. The outcome of the policies have been considered as puzzling as some regards ENP as limited and problematic, while others point at converging outcomes at the sectoral level. What explains these differences? It will be argued that the effectiveness of the externally induced institutional change depends on how the external actor shapes domestic institution building (supply and demand sides) through combination of power and purpose; whether it relies on inclusive institution building and empowers diverse set of stakeholders or fosters institutional monocropping or facilitates the prevalence of existing power holders by creating single gatekeepers. The EU mostly follows the exclusive mode of rule transfer in its policies towards Eastern neighbours; however, as the analysis of EU’s cooperation with Moldova and Ukraine shows, the instances in which the EU relies on more inclusive policies of institutional change, it results in more efficient institutional change.

Greg Nizhnikau is a PhD student at the Institute of Government and Politics, University of Tartu and doctoral fellow at the Centre for EU-Russia Studies (CEURUS). He has a Master’s degree in Politics and International Studies with a specialisation in Eurasian Studies, from Uppsala University (2011) and a degree in International Relations from Belarusian State University (2009). Prior to joining CEURUS, Greg also did internship at UCRS.


6 May Kristina Stoeckl (Vienna): "Religion and Human Rights in Postsecular Society: the Case of the Russian Orthodox Church". Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: English.   

Kristina Stoeckl is Austrian Program for Advanced Research and Technology Fellow of the Austrian Academy of Sciences at the University of Vienna, Department of Political Sciences. She has recently published monograph "The Russian Orthodox Church and Human Rights". London, New York: Routledge.

13 May Dmitry Blyshko (Petrozavodsk State University):"How did the life look like in the Late Soviet Union? –  historical Documentaries in post-Soviet Russia". Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: English.  

The seminar will focus on the problem of representation of the late-Soviet daily life in post-Soviet media and will be based on the analysis of Russian post-Soviet compilation films about the Soviet past. According to the statements of compilation films authors, their main goal was to show the life in late-Soviet Union “how it really was”. Authors focused mainly on various aspects of daily life.

Authors of post-Soviet compilation films used various types of sources for constructing their visual representations of the Past: Soviet newsreels, Soviet feature films, private videos etc.  These sources belonged to different levels of self-presentation of Soviet society. It is possible to talk about few Soviet discourses of representation of daily life: official level; grey zone of social morality and a private sphere. It means that authors of contemporary interpretations of Soviet history have to deal with these various discourses during the process of reworking of previously released footage. It imposes certain limitations on their freedom to reshape the image of the past.

In his presentation Dmitry will show how authors of compilation films about the Soviet past interact with Soviet discourses: disputing with them, reshaping, or embedding them into new narratives in the original form. Using the example of sexuality in contemporary compilation films Dmitry will demonstrate the impact of Soviet media on post-Soviet public history. 

Dmitry Blyshko is a PhD student at the Department of History, Petrozavodsk State University, Russia. His research interests include memory studies, problems of historical narration, identity formation, especially problems of representation of late-Soviet history in post-Soviet Russian society. Dmitry is a guest researcher at the UCRS with the support of Scholarship of the President of the Russian Federation. 

20 maj (NB! 10:15-12:00) Kerstin Mahlapuu (University of Glasgow) och Sigrid Kaasik-Krogerus (University of Helsinki, Aleksanteri Institute).  Chairman: Li Bennich-Björkman. Language: English.

The aim of this seminar is to discuss aspects of identity construction with two presentations focusing on the case of Estonia from the pre- and post-accession perspective.

"European, independent and humble Estonia: imagining a new community during a formative moment" by Sigrid Kaasik-Krogerus (University of Helsinki, Aleksanteri Institute)

This presentation is based on Sigrid's PhD thesis “Normative stories of the formative moment”. In the thesis she analyses how Estonian national identity was constructed in relations with the EU as “other” during the country’s accession process. By way of empirical data, Sigrid uses ca 1400 opinion articles from the Estonian daily paper Postimees during the years 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2003.

As a general framework of the study, she uses Norman Fairclough’s (1995) discourse analysis consisting of three levels: text, discursive practice and sociocultural practice. In Fairclough’s text level she depicts three discourses emerging from the articles of Postimees: European Estonia, Independent Estonia and Humble Estonia. The discursive practice has been defined by Fairclough as issues related to the production and consumption of texts. Here Sigrid focuses on how Postimees was “imagining a new community”, more concretely Estonia as EU candidate country, during the accession process. The analysis is conducted on the basis of the authors of the opinion articles.

As a sociocultural practice the research deals with Erik Ringmar’s (1996) concept of “formative moment”: a time when old identity stories were challenged by the new ones. In the current case this means that the question “who we are” was challenged by “who we should be/become” in each discourse.

Sigrid Kaasik-Krogerus is a media researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. In her research she is dealing with the issues like national identity and European Union. Apart from studying, Kaasik-Krogerus has also taught courses dealing with the media, European Union and national identity.

"Constructing Estonian identity in a wider Europe" Kerstin Mahlapuu (University of Glasgow, Central and East European Studies)

Kerstin's presentation is based on her Phd research which aims at developing an in-depth understanding of Estonian national identity constructions a decade since joining the EU and NATO, and officially re-establishing its ‘natural place’ in the Western world. Since joining the European Union in 2004, the simple binary of East/West or examining the ethnic dimension of Estonian national identity have lost their prevalence as the nature of Estonian national identity has become more complex. Her work seeks to bring forward the multilayered picture of Estonians’ everyday understandings of their national identity with examining the little-explored perspective from below. Through its ethnographic design and interviews as the central data collection method, the research seeks to analyse perceptions of present-day social, political and economic issues in order to achieve a deeper and more up-to-date understanding of how Estonian national identity is constructed within the everyday discursive fields of its inhabitants (both Estonian and Russian-speakers). The study utilises an innovative methodological approach, adding a visual perspective with the use of photos and pictures in the interviewing process, which enables to analytically differentiate, empirically expand and deepen our knowledge of the complexities of Estonian present-day national identity. Interviews are also complimented with media analysis of Estonian mainstream publications.

At the seminar, Kerstin will talk about the methodology of her PhD research, the use of visual aids in conducting interviews, and present some initial findings on Estonians’ everyday identity constructions.

Kerstin Mahlapuu is a PhD student in Central and East European Studies subject area at the University of Glasgow. She holds MSc (2009) and MRes (2011) degrees also from the University of Glasgow. Kerstin is visiting doctoral researcher at the UCRS between 3 May and 29 May 2014. 

20 May Ausra Padskocimaite (UCRS): "Respect for the rights of sexual minorities in post-conditionality Lithuania: the implementation challenge". Chairman: Stefan Hedlund. Language: English.     

Twenty-four years have passed since Lithuania's declaration of independence in 1990 and 10 years since its accession to the European Union (EU) and NATO in 2004. During the pre-accession period, a strong EU membership incentive combined with EU's policy of conditionality contributed to the creation of institutional framework for the protection of human rights, bringing Lithuania closer to the Western standards. Like in several other post-communist states the protection of sexual minority rights turned out to be one of the biggest challenges in post-conditionality Lithuania. Although since 2004 Lithuania has held two Baltic Pride parades (2010, 2013), according to the report by the EU's Agency for Fundamental Rights, in 2012 Lithuania was one of the most homophobic countries in the EU where nearly two-thirds of respondents felt discriminated on the grounds of sexual orientation. During the seminar Ausra Padskocimaite will discuss the implementation of the rights of sexual minorities after Lithuania's accession to the EU in terms of domestic socialization of human rights norms and a possible backlash. She will also present the findings of a nationwide, population-based survey on human rights and tolerance conducted in Lithuania during September of 2013. 

Ausra Padskocimaite is a PhD candidate at UCRS Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Faculty of Law at Uppsala University. She holds a Master's Degree in International Law (Mykolas Romeris University) and a Master's Degree in Eurasian Studies (Uppsala University).

22 May Helena Goscilo (Ohio): "Tuning into the Party: Gendered Graphics". Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: English.     

As a broadly disseminated cultural genre overseen from 1931 by the Communist Party’s Central Committee, the poster visually reflected official ideology, promulgating values and activities dictated by the state’s campaigns as well as its prohibitions. Accordingly, posters afford invaluable insight into the Soviet Union’s concept of normative womanhood, articulated in a propagandized series of roles modeled in graphic images. Owing to time constraints, Goscilo’s talk focuses on the decades from 1930-1960 and illustrates her argument with copious PowerPoint visuals.

Helena Goscilo (Professor of Slavic and East European Cultures at The Ohio State University, USA) writes primarily on culture, gender, and visual genres in Russia. Her publications in the last six years include Preserving Petersburg: History, Memory, Nostalgia (co-ed., Indiana University Press 2008), Cinepaternity: Fathers and Sons in Soviet and Post-Soviet Film (co-ed., Indiana University Press 2010), Reflections and Refractions: The Mirror in Russian Culture (Studies in 20th and 21st Century Literature 2010/2011), Celebrity and Glamour in Contemporary Russia: Shocking Chic (co-ed., Routledge 2011), Putin as Celebrity and Cultural Icon (ed., Routledge 2012), Embracing Arms: Cultural Representations of Slavic and Balkan Women in War (co-ed., Central European UP 2012), and Baba Yaga: The Wild Witch of the East in Russian Fairy Tales (co-ed., University Press of Mississippi, 2013). She currently is readying Fade from Red: The Cold War Ex-Enemy in Russian and American Film 1990-2005, co-authored with Margaret B. Goscilo, for publication by New Academia Publishing while also working on the monograph Graphic Ideology: The Soviet Poster from Stalin to Yeltsin and a collection preliminarily titled Fame in Flight: Russian Aviation (with Vlad Strukov).

27 May Eva-Clarita Pettai (University of Tartu): "Transititional and Restorative Justice in the Baltic States". Chairman: Li Bennich-Björkman. Language: English. 

The lecture will present the main findings and conclusions from a broader comparative study of Baltic truth and justice politics with regard to the Soviet period over the past 25 years. This will involve the introduction of a novel analytics model that maps out various truth and justice policies in a more holistic and synthesized way and thus enables us to identify specific country patterns for comparative use. It will also involve a brief overview of the main findings resulting from the systematic application of this model on the cases of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Eva-Clarita Pettai is a senior researcher at the Institute of Government and Politics, University of Tartu. Her main field of research has been the politics of history and memory in post-communism, mainly focusing on the Baltic states. A native of Germany, she earned her PhD at the Free University of Berlin and has worked since in both Latvia and Estonia.


3 Jun Mikhail Suslov (UCRS): "The Russian World": Geopolitics of and in the Russian Diaspora". Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: English.  

Conceptually shaped in the late 1990s, the 'Russian World' project defines main strategies of instrumentalizing of the Russian-speaking diaspora of many millions, also known as the 'Russian compatriots'. In recent years this brainchild of pro-Kremlin political technologists has been fleshed out in the 'Russian World Foundation', Federal Agency 'Rossotrudnichestvo' and a number of other institutions with the world-wide network of organizations and the access to the Russian national budget. Designed to boost up Russia's 'soft power' abroad, the 'Russian World', however, undergoes a thorough reshaping, which cannot be totally controlled by the Russian political elite, and whose side effects may not fully coincide with the initial goals of the 'Russian compatriots' policy. The process of rapid transformation of the Russian-speaking diaspora loosens affinities and self-identification with the territory, renders obsolete the Russia versus Europe dichotomy, and politically empowers the 'Russian World', thereby making it an alternative center of gravity, or even a political competitor to Kremlin. The present paper explores these controversies and inquiries into the ways, in which the Russian-speaking diaspora is developing its geopolitical imagination and cultural self-identification.

Mikhail D. Suslov is a Marie-Curie post-doctoral researcher based at UCRS. In 2009 he defended his PhD in History at the European University Institute (Florence) and ever since he published on intellectual history of the Russian, Soviet and post-Soviet right-wing movement, geopolitical theories and stereotypes, societal aspects of utopias and science fiction, and political thinking in and around the Russian Orthodox Church. His current project, supported by the Marie Curie CIG grant, focuses on the post-Soviet ideological developments in the Russian-speaking diaspora.

5 Jun (NB! Thursday 15:15-17:00) Geoffrey Pridham (UK): "Comparative Perspectives on Democratic Inversion and European Political Standards: the EU and Regime Change in Ukraine". Chairman: Li Bennich-Björkman. Language: English.

The EU has now an established record of political conditionality towards new post-Communist democracies but new patterns have been emerging of backtracking on some conditions and, more seriously, of democratic inversion, i.e. a more systemic reversal. The presentation is structured as follows: (A) a comparative section reviewing regime change theory on inversion regarding the role of external actors and then factors influencing the EU's response to inversion cases with some historical and contemporary cases briefly mentioned; (B) the case of Ukraine, viewed firstly in this comparative context followed by an analysis of EU policy towards regime change in that country in three stages: the Orange Revolution of 2004 onwards; the change of power with Yanukovych's election as President; and, finally, the Euromaidan Revolution of 2013-14 leading to civil warfare.  In this analysis, the question will be asked: has EU policy towards Ukraine changed significantly over the past decade and, if not, why not.  The conclusion on future scenarios will attempt to assess signs of a greater EU commitment to Ukraine despite its much criticised action during the recent crisis and also a greater determination in Kyiv over a new relationship with the EU.

Geoffrey Pridham is Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Fellow in Politics at the University of Bristol, UK.  He has for long researched on problems of democratic transition and consolidation firstly in Southern Europe and for over twenty years in post-Communist Europe, with increasingly a special interest in the EU's role here such as through its policy of democratic conditionality.  His book publications include "The Dynamics of Democratisation: a Comparative Approach" and "Designing Democracy: the EU and Regime Change in Post-Communist Europe".  For journal articles he has specialised in certain countries namely Slovakia, Latvia and Romania and since 2007 also Ukraine.

2-7 Jun International conference "Translation in Russian Contexts: Transcultural, Translingual and Transdisciplinary Points of Departure". Conference organizers: Julie Hansen and Susanna Witt. For more information please visit conference homepage.

10 Jun William Risch "Euromaidan and its Aftermath: Current Events in Ukraine as Viewed by a Participant-Observer". Language: English. The seminar is arranged in cooperation with Uppsala Forum on Democracy, Peace and Justice. 

William Risch is an associate professor of history at Georgia College in Milledgeville, Georgia, USA. His main area of expertise is recent history of Ukraine. His latest monograph, "The Ukrainian West: Culture and the Fate of Empire in Soviet Lviv", was published by Harvard University Press in 2011. In late 2013 and early 2014, he made research trips to Ukraine (Kyiv, Donetsk, Kharkiv) to interview people involved in the events unfolding there. He has since started a blog (http://williamrisch.wordpress.com/) and a Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/333027573505745/) devoted to monitoring the ongoing developments in Ukraine since the protests started last November. He is currently gathering materials for a book about the Euromaidan and its aftermath. 

13-14 Jun International conference "Kazakhstan Beyond Economic Success. Exploring Social and Cultural Changes in Eurasia". The conference is co-arranged with IERES. Conference organizers: Johan Engvall and Marlene Laruelle. For more information please visit conference homepage.