Venue: Gamla Torget 3, 3rd floor, The Library
Time: Tuesdays, 15.15-17.00 (if not otherwise indicated)
31 Aug (NB! 18:30-20:30) Debate seminar "Civil Society in Russia" with Jussi Lassila (Aleksanteri Institute). Chairman: Ann-Mari Sätre (UCRS). RSVP no later than August 29 to Jevgenija Gehsbarga: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Swedish Society for the Study of Russia, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia invite you to a debate seminar on the civil society in Russia. This year we have invited Jussi Lassila from the Aleksanteri Institute (University of Helsinki) as the main speaker. He will give a talk entitled: “Responding Populist Challenge in Putin´s Russia: Russian People´s Front". Lena Jonson (Swedish Institute of International Affairs) will provide short comments.
Jussi Lassila works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki. His book “The Quest for an Ideal Youth in Putin’s Russia II: The Search for Distinctive Conformism in the Political Communication of Nashi, 2005-2009” was published by Ibidem Verlag in late 2012 (second edition in 2014). His core areas of expertise are political discourse analysis, post-Soviet identity politics and political communication.
Lena Jonson is Senior Associate Research Fellow and former head of the Russia Programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. Her research currently focuses on Russian domestic politics and issues of political and societal change (modernisation) as well as the contemporary role of culture and its standing in Russia. Among her recent publications is the book “Art as a Protest in Putin’s Russia”.
6 Sep Aleksandr Golts (UCRS): ”The role of military reform in Russia. Does military reform weaken or strengthen an autocratic regime?”. Chairman: Stefan Hedlund. Language: English
Current international events make us think about the consequences of the military reform in Russia. During the Crimea annexation, invasion in Donbas and operation in Syria the Russian army demonstrated the efficiency, which was not expected. This efficiency was shown by the ability for rapid deployment and level of battle readiness much higher than eight years ago during war against Georgia. These new capabilities are the result of the military reform. For three years (2008-2011) Russia undertook the most radical military reforms over the past 150 years.
The question arises: what is the role of the "liberal" military reform in an authoritarian state. Does it contribute to the positive development of the country? Or, conversely, did the reformed modern Armed Forces become the instrument of realization of the prejudices and illusions of an authoritarian leader? It was very fruitful to compare Russia with Prussia in the early 19th century. Basic principles of the German armed forces were laid by "liberals in uniform ": Sharnhorst and Gneisenau and Clausewitz. The reformers put clear goal: the reform had to become the leading force of broad democratic development of the country. They were sure that the Armed Forces can be a “school of citizenship”. But it should be recognized that when the "liberal" model was applied in a purely authoritarian Prussian state, this led to the creation of an almost perfect war machine, blindly obeying orders of the "leader".
Did Russia follow the same road? Are we seeing an emergence of a "new militarism" in which “modern” models of military organization join the ideology of mass mobilization army? These and other issues will be discussed during the seminar.
Alexander Golts is columnist for The Moscow Times and deputy editor-in-chief of http://www.ej.ru/
8 Sep Constantin Iordachi (Central European University): "Fascism in the Balkans: A Comparison between Croatia’s Ustasha and Romania's Iron Guard”. This seminar presentation is held in collaboration with the Hugo Valentin Centre. Chairman: Matthew Kott. Language: English
The lecture provides a historical comparison between the Romanian Legion of the Archangel Michael and the Croatian Ustaša. The author argues that these movements were the most important fascist organizations in the Balkans, given their articulated ideology, their impact on the political systems in Romania and Yugoslavia, and their rise to power and attempt to create long-lasting regimes. The lecture explores the origins of the two movements; their charismatic nature, with a focus on their leaders, organization and style of politics; their employment of terrorist methods; the cult of the martyrs; and their racial legislation and genocidal policies toward ethnic minorities. In conclusion, the main features of fascism in the Balkans will be evaluated by placing it in a wider European context. Author's ultimate aim is to identify a new research agenda for studying fascism comparatively, contributing to the fine-tuning of the existing explanatory paradigms.
Constantin Iordachi is Professor of History and co-director of Pasts, Center for Historical Studies, at the Central European University, Budapest. He is also co-editor of the peer-referred journal East Central-Europe (Leiden: Brill), and member of the board of editors of the journal Fascism: Comparative Fascist Studies. He has published widely on comparative history in Central and South-Eastern Europe, mostly on citizenship, the history of fascism, and the collectivization of agriculture. His publications include Charisma, Politics and Violence: The Legion of the 'Archangel Michael' in Inter-war Romania (Trondheim: 2004); and Citizenship, Nation and State-Building: The Integration of Northern Dobrogea into Romania, 1878-1913 (Pittsburgh: 2002). Editor of Re-acquiring Romanian Citizenship: Historical, Comparative and Applied Perspectives (Bucharest: Curtea Veche, 2012); "Fascism in East-Central and South-Eastern Europe: A Reappraisal," East-Central Europe, 37 (2010) 2–3; and Comparative Fascist Studies: New Perspectives (London: Routledge, 2009, 2010, translated also in Romanian and Turkish in 2015). Co-editor of over 10 collective volumes, among which: The Collectivization of Agriculture in Communist Eastern Europe: Comparisons and Entanglements (Budapest, New York: CEU Press, 2014); Hungary and Romania Beyond National Narratives: Comparisons and Entanglements (Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang, 2013); Transforming People, Property and Power: The Process of Land Collectivization in Romania, 1949-1962 (Budapest: CEU Press, 2009; Romanian ed.: Iaşi: Polirom, 2004); and România si Transnistria: Problema Holocaustului. Perspective istorice si comparative (Bucharest: Curtea Veche, 2004).
13 sep Elena Namli (UCRS): ”Towards non-hegemonic liberalism and human rights protection: A reflection on the Russian critique of liberalism”. Språk: engelska
The presentation will approach a complex of questions related to what many experience as a link between global injustices in their material dimensions (such as economic or military dominance) and the lack of respect for normative differences between peoples and traditions shown by the strong global players. How should we understand such claims? Are they just a rhetorical instrument for realpolitik? Or do they express a justified concern which should be taken seriously?
The presentation will offer an analysis of some current forms of Russian critique of liberalism (especially of liberal interpretations of human rights protection), which are framed in terms of resistance to hegemonic liberalism.
Elena Namli is Professor of Ethics at the Faculty of Theology and one of the three research directors at the UCRS.
15 Sep Elias Götz ”Putin, the State, and War: The Causes of Russia’s Near Abroad Assertion Revisited”. Chairman: Stefan Hedlund. Language: English
Dr. Götz will present a paper that maps the conventional explanations of Russia’s near abroad policy – a topic that has received increased scholarly attention over the last couple of years. The paper argues that it is possible to distinguish between four strands of explanations: individual-level, domestic-political, ideational, and geopolitical. It shows that each explanation can support its claims with anecdotal evidence. At the same time, none of these explanations can provide for a convincing stand-alone account of Russia’s near abroad policy. Therefore, it is necessary to develop synthetic accounts that elaborate on how different influence factors emphasized by the four strands interact in shaping Moscow’s actions and ambitions. Finally, the paper makes the case that a neoclassical-realist account provides a promising avenue for future research on Russia’s near abroad policy.
Elias Götz has only just joined the UCRS as a postdoctoral researcher. He has worked during the last two years as an assistant professor at the Political Science Department at Aarhus University in Denmark. His research interests span the fields IR theory, security studies, and Russian foreign policy.
20 Sep Cristian Norocel (University of Helsinki): ”Intersectional Analyses of Populist Political Communication in Central and Eastern Europe: The Romanian Populist Radical Right Media”. Chairman: Matthew Kott. Language: English
The lecture examines the populist political communication in post-state-socialist Romania, sketching several wider conclusions in the Central and Eastern European context. It concentrates on the editorials of populist radical right party leader (Corneliu Vadim Tudor) published at election times between 2000 and 2012 in the weekly party organ Greater Romania Magazine (Revista România Mare, RRM). The lecture represents a dialogue between regional studies and political sociology–particularly the political communication of populist radical right ideology in the Central and East European context; media studies–mainly the ability of media frames to become a panoptic mechanism to discipline gender performances, with regard to constructing national identities; from a decidedly intersectional perspective. Two interconnected studies are presented.
- One concerns how the desirable ideals of femininity for the ethno-nationalist project are framed in populist radical right media–at the intersection of gender, class and ethnicity (Norocel 2016).
- The other examines how ideals of male heterosexuality for the aforementioned ethno-nationalist project are framed with the aid of appeals to religion in populist radical right media at election times–at the intersection of gender, sexuality, religion and ethnicity (Norocel 2015).
With the help of critical media framing, then, the two studies evidence the interplay between the previously mentioned categories of difference in disciplining gender performances that were deemed suitable for accomplishing the ethno-nationalist project: enforcing traditional gender roles within the ethnic community, and narrowly ascribing religious piety and reproductive heterosexuality as cornerstones for safeguarding the purity of the Romanian nation. These findings are then discussed against the latest developments in the region, suggesting further avenues for research.
Ov Cristian Norocel is CEREN-affiliated postdoctoral researcher in the University of Helsinki (Finland), and visiting postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Government in Uppsala University (Sweden). Norocel’s research is centered in the fields of intersectional analyses of political radicalism and extremism, and nationalism, ethnic minorities, and citizenship issues across Europe. He guest co-edited the Special Issue Welfare Chauvinism in Critical Social Policy 36(3) (2016). His most notable publications Our People a Tight-knit Family under the Same Protective Roof (Unigrafia, 2013) and ‘“Give Us Back Sweden!” A Feminist Reading of the (Re)Interpretations of the Folkhem Conceptual Metaphor in Swedish Radical Right Populist Discourse’, Nora 21(1) (2013) both deal with radical right populist ideology from an intersectional perspective. He is Finnish MC in COST IS1308 Populist Political Communication in Europe and co-chair of RN32 Political Sociology.
20 sep (NB! 13:00-15:00) Prof. Hari S. Vasudevan (University of Calcutta): ”The Sino-Russian challenge in international relations: Approaches and responses in India”. Chairman: Matthew Kott. Language: English
Coincidence of interests between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China has been noticeable in regional politics in Asia since the mid-2000s. How far this coincidence provides the basis for a relationship other than the loose engagements marked in the SCO and BRICS has been uncertain. However, prominence given to a range of discourses, concretized into regimes, where China and Russia are not key players, or at best also-rans (ENP, Trans Pacific Economic Cooperation) set the terms for deeper links, with specific points of disagreement with the USA/Europe acting as flashpoints (as in the Ukraine or the South China Sea). Since the imposition of a sanctions regime on Russia, changes in economic relations have been observable and add new dimensions to the Connection.
The presentation examines India's responses as a state that has enjoyed a special relationship with Russia in the past and has had an important but problematic relationship with China.
Hari S. Vasudevan is professor of Modern European and Russian History at the University of Calcutta in India.
The lecture is co-organised by the Hugo Valentin Centre (HVC), the Forum for South Asian Studies, and the Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies (UCRS).
27 Sep Dmitry Rudenko (University of Tyumen): ”Institutions and Inequality in Russia”. Chairman: Stefan Hedlund. Language: English
The relationship between economic growth and inequality has been intensively analyzed over the last decades. However, empirical results remain controversial. Although a majority of papers are linking economic growth and institutions, saying that good governance has a critical bearing on economic and social outcomes there is no guarantee that benefits of economic growth are broadly shared by all population including the poor.
The presentation concentrates its effort on 28 transition economies that have experienced a sharp increase in inequality after planned economy breakdown, and particularly on Russian institutional development and its effect on inequality. Cointegration and Granger causality tests are applied to evaluate the link and causality between inequality, economic growth and institutions.
Dmitry Rudenko is an Associate Professor at the Department of Economics at the University of Tyumen in Russia (Western Siberia). Dmitry Rudenko is staying at the UCRS in the capacity of guest researcher until 5 October.
28 sep (NB! kl. 11:00-13:00) Elections analysis seminar "Reflections on the September 11 Parliamentary Elections in Belarus" with Sofie Bedford (UCRS), Alaksiej Michalevic (UCRS), and Martin Uggla (ordförande, Östgruppen för demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter). The participants will discuss the context , results, and possible consequences of the recent parliamentary elections in Belarus. Chairman: Matthew Kott. Language: English.
29 sep Vello Pettai (University of Tartu): "Testing Period Effects on Democratization: Varieties of Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe, pre-1940 and post-1990". Chairman: Matthew Kott. Language: English. Anyone interested in receiving the paper beforehand can request it by sending an e-mail to Matthew Kott email@example.com
The democratization of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe since 1989 stands in marked contrast to the travails of democratization seen in the region during the 1920s and 1930s. While this observation is self-evident to any casual observer of the region’s history, trying to actually pinpoint these differences has so far rested largely on narrative-historical comparisons. This paper will attempt to pinpoint these differences more precisely by scrutinizing the structure of democracy in these countries during the two periods in question using the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) dataset. The paper finds that the period effect of the early 1990s (as opposed to the inter-war period) is strongly visible in the V-Dem data. Moreover, this effect is relatively even across different dimensions of democracy. Post-communist democratization in Central and Eastern Europe has clearly been more variegated and hence undergirded than it was in the 1920s.
Vello Pettai is Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Tartu. He is also head of the V-Dem Regional Center for Eastern Europe and Russia. Alongside working on post-communist democratization, he is co-author (with Eva-Clarita Pettai) of Transitional and Retrospective Justice in the Baltic States (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and author of Elections in Estonia, 1990 – 1992: Transitional and Founding (Sigma, 2012). Originally from the United States, Vello Pettai earned his doctoral degree at Columbia University before moving to his ancestral Estonia in the mid-1990s.
4 Oct Irina Paert (Tartu University): “What will the new generation of Orthodox Christians in Russia be like? A survey of some trends within Orthodox pedagogy”. Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: English.
Desecularisation of education is linked discursively with the wider set of problems in contemporary ‘conservative turn’ within the Russian society and politics. The ROC’s fierce battle in promoting religious education within the state schools and controversies in society triggered by this process suggest that there is more to this boring school subject than it seems. The conflation of Orthodox teaching on morality and the official discourses on traditional values, the pronatalist family policies supported by both the state and the church, the imposition of sexual and gender norms, that have been designated as biopolitics - are all connected through education. This paper will address the ways in which traditional values are applied in the Orthodox pedagogical discourse, pointing out a problematic conflation which occurs between the Orthodox theology and various ideologies (including nationalist constructions of the Russian culture and its traditional morality, conservatism, etc.). The paper is based on the discussion of case-studies, which include some active Orthodox pedagogues and psychologists in present day Russia.
Irina Paert is a senior researcher at the Department of Theology, Univesity of Tartu. She obtained her PhD in Social History from Essex University (UK). She held postdoctoral fellowships and a lectureship in the Universities of Manchester and Bangor. In 2005 she moved to Tallinn where she first worked as researcher at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies before taking the senior researcher position in Tartu. Paert specializes in Russian religious studies, focusing particularly on the history and culture of Old Believers and the Russian Orthodox Church. She is author of two monographs: Old Believers, Religious Dissent and Gender in Russia 1760-1850 (Manchester UP, 2003), and Spiritual Elders: Charisma and Tradition in Russian Orthodoxy (DeKalb, 2010) as well as several articles and book chapters on cultural history. Currently, her research interests are in the history of Orthodoxy (including Old Believers) in Estonia, religious education, and in the role of religion in the contemporary Russian Diaspora in the Baltic.
6 Oct Sergei Loiko (Los Angeles Times) ”Airport”. Chairman: Stefan Hedlund. Language: English
Sergei Loiko is a Los Angeles Times reporter and photographer who spent eighteen months on the scene in eastern Ukraine writing about a war that is officially not a war (undeclared). Based on these experiences, he produced a documentary novel titled “Airport” that first appeared in Ukraine in September 2015. The book conveys the futility and absurdity of the bloodshed in Ukraine better than all the reporting on and analysis of the war put together. Loiko is the only reporter to have spent several days with Ukrainian volunteers in the very hell of it: the Donetsk Airport. His photographs of it were picked up by all the news agencies. In the spring of 2015, his work was awarded the prestigious Bob Considine Award “for guts, credibility, originality, depth and sophistication of interpretation, and its engaging writing style.” The Echo of Moscow radio station has said of the book: “Loiko walked right up to journalism’s limit, took a deep breath, and leapt into the novel’s whirlwind. All the passion our profession holds, all the love that newsprint tries to squeeze out, all the rage and pain that has to be tucked away in the soul’s non-work compartments, has broken free here and, crying out, sings aloud.”
6-8 Oct International conference "Image of Islam in Russia". For more information please visit conference website.
11 Oct (NB! kl. 13:00-15:00) Elections analysis seminar "Estonia Finally Elects a President" with Uku Lember (visiting fellow, UCRS), Katrin Uba (associate professor, Department of Government), and Sirle Sööt (chair, Sverigeesternas Riksförbund). The participants will discuss the context , results, and possible consequences of the recent parliamentary elections in Belarus. Chairman: Matthew Kott. Language: English.
11 Oct Katrin Kello (University of Tartu): "Resistance, Compliance, Consumption: Life in the ‘Soviet West’ According to Estonian and Latvian Post-Soviet Textbooks”. Chairman: Matthew Kott. Language: English
The talk will focus on representations of the Soviet era in Estonian and Latvian history textbooks since 1989. Twenty-five years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, active memory work regarding the era is ongoing. Positions towards the Soviet system have been a rich resource of identity building, and hence a powerful political tool in the whole post-Soviet bloc. School textbooks – a genre that essentially mixes academic, social and political representations – reflect the broader battles of meaning making in interesting ways.
Katrin Kello is a researcher at the University of Tartu, Institute of Social Studies. She has an MA in History and PhD in Media and Communications. She is interested in the fields of history, education and history teaching. Her PhD thesis was on understandings of history teaching, and its social and political contexts, in Estonia and Latvia. Currently she studies social memory, history politics and representations of the Soviet Era in school textbooks.
13 okt Liana Jervalidze (University of Georgia): “Oil Price Collapse and Lifting Sanctions on Iran: Implications on Caspian and Black Sea Energy and Transit”. The event is co-organized with the Uppsala Forum for Democracy, Peace and Justice. Language: English
The oil price collapse coupled with lifting sanctions on Iran may have deep and serious implications for the Caspian and Black Sea countries. The energy rich countries of the Caspian region are heavily dependent on oil export revenues since they have not had enough time to diversify their economies. This guest lecture will discuss the implications of the oil and gas price collapse on the development of the countries of the Caspian region and South Caucasus. Competitive challenges for the East-West/North-South transportation axes will be identified and opportunities pinpointed both short-term and medium-term.
Dr Liana Jervalidze is a researcher and analyst on the Caspian area energy and environment policy, transit routes and regional studies. Dr. Jervalidze is the director of Orbeliani Centre for Advanced Strategic and Energy Policy Studies at PSI Georgia. She is associated professor at the University of Georgia and teaches “Energy Policy of the EU”. She is an alumna of the Kennan Institute of Advanced Russian Studies in Washington D.C., and the Reading University Business School Eurasia Studies Project in UK. She comments on a regular basis on Georgia’s energy, environment and regional policy at commercial TV channels: Rustavi 2 and Imedi programs - Business Courier, The Capital, and Radio Free Europe.
18 Oct Tom Casier (University of Kent): ”The different Faces of Power in EU-Russia relations”. Chairman: Stefan Hedlund. Language: English
Is Russia in its foreign policy the stereotypical bear, instinctively resorting to the use of force and coercion? Is the EU a soft power driven only by its will to spread norms and institutions? Representations like this ignore the complexity of power. The latter appears in many different disguises and clashes at different levels simultaneously. This lecture seeks to unravel the complexity of power in EU-Russia relations. Drawing on Barnett and Duvall's taxonomy of power, it argues a fundamental shift has occurred in the nature of the competition for power between Moscow and Brussels.
Tom Casier is Reader in International Relations at the University of Kent. He is Academic Director of the university's Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS). He has published on EU-Russia relations and Russian foreign policy and holds a Jean Monnet Chair.
20 Oct Mart Kuldkepp (UCL): "Adventures in the Wild East: Swedish Participation in the Baltic Wars of Independence". Chairman: Matthew Kott. Language: English
The Russian October Revolution in the autumn of 1917, and the defeat of Germany a year later meant that by the outset of the interwar era, Sweden's geopolitical situation was suddenly better than it had ever been since the Napoleonic Wars. Neither Soviet Russia, caught in a bloody civil war, nor the worn-out and defeated Germany could in any near future assert itself as the new ruler of the Baltic Sea. Furthermore, a row of new nation states – Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – had appeared on the other side of the sea, constituting a buffer zone that shielded Sweden from Russian danger. At the same time, however, the situation had become more complicated. The habitual stability in the region, based on a balance between the great powers, had already been upset during the war and now disappeared completely. Instead of long-established empires and monarchies, Sweden now had to face new and shaky nation states, as well as the entirely unprecedented phenomenon of Communist Russia.
The young Baltic states, deeply aware of their own weakness, were putting great hopes on Sweden. In autumn 1918, Estonian and Latvian politicians, supported by Great Britain, requested Swedish military intervention in the Baltics after the retreat of German regular forces and in the face of the Red Army offensive that was likely to follow. This was declined by the Swedish government with the argument that Sweden would not act independently of the Entente powers, even if it recognized it was also in Swedish interests to keep bolshevism as far as possible from the shore of the Baltic Sea.
Subsequently, Baltic politicians tried their hand at recruiting Swedish volunteers to serve alongside Estonian and Latvian servicemen. Recruitment bureaus were set up in Stockholm, but owing to the lack of money and a wave of protests by the Swedish socialists, they succeeded in attracting only a limited number of volunteers, many of whom had been unable to find work after participating as volunteers on the white side in the Finnish Civil War. Not particularly interested in helping Estonian and Latvian national causes, most of them were motivated by money and mercenary adventurism, not unlike the German ex-soldiers who went on to join the Freikorps fighting in the Baltics. In fact, after it became clear that Estonian and Latvian governments could not supply the necessary finances, the recruitment bureaus were taken over by Baltic German circles who were very interested in hindering the spread of bolshevism, but not at all in propping up the national democratic governments. On the contrary, there are indications that they wanted to use the Scandinavian volunteers to overthrow them.
The Latvian initiative ebbed out by the early spring of 1919, but not before the former Livonian Land Marshall Heinrich von Stryk and the Swedish General Staff officer Nils Edlund had been arrested in Latvia with highly incriminating papers containing the intervention plans. The few Swedish volunteers who did arrive to Estonia – around 300 out of the originally intended 4000 – quickly made themselves known not for their military prowess, but a series of scandals culminating with a Swedish lieutenant being executed by his own comrades after a war tribunal of questionable lawfulness. This episode was widely reported in Swedish newspapers in the summer of 1919 and investigated by both Swedish and Estonian authorities.
In hindsight, it seems that there was indeed some potential for Swedish military intervention in the Russian successor states following World War I, exemplified by Sweden’s officially sanctioned Åland adventure in early 1918, as well as the unofficial recruitment of Swedish volunteers into the Finnish Civil War and the Baltic Wars of Independence. At least as far as the latter is concerned, anything similar has been completely out of question both before and ever since. But even then, the Swedish government’s refusal to offer its support – understandable though it might be, given the domestic political situation – undermined the recruitment effort to the degree it is hard to see it as anything but a complete and utter failure, doing nothing but perpetuating an image of the Baltic states as a sort of wild east where nothing but misfortune awaited.
Mart Kuldkepp is a lecturer in Contemporary Scandinavian History at Department of Scandinavian Studies/European Social and Political Studies at University College London. His main research interests include Baltic-Scandinavian political contacts in the 20th century, the ideas of Baltic-Nordic regionalism and World War I in the Baltic Sea area.
25 Oct Rasa Balockaite (Kaunas): "Religious Visions as Respons to Trauma and Oppression: Testimonies of Marian apparition in the Soviet Lithuania”. Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: English.
During the Soviet years, Lithuania witnessed an immense increase of premodern phenomenon – testimonies about Marian apparitions. Lithuania has majority of Catholic population and strong cult of Virgin Mary. Ethnographers count up to 40 vernacular narratives of Marian apparitions on Lithuanian territory, mostly from 15 to 19 century. In modern times, the tradition has nearly faded away, but was revived again during the Soviet occupation with 20 popular vernacular narratives of Marian apparitions. Yet, not a single apparition was recorded during Lithuanian independence period 1918-1940 and post 1990.
One could see the testimonies of Marian apparitions during the Soviet years as “low profile resistance,” when use of “supernatural” is employed to inflict fear among opposing classes, to “sabotage” official Soviet ideology etc. The testimonies of apparitions gave impulse to develop anti-Soviet vernacular knowledge and worldviews, based on narratives about “miraculous healing” of local religious peasantry or “premature unexpected deaths” of Soviet authorities, who violated either the seer or the place of apparition.
The seminar will cover following issues: Why some testimonies were believed and some others were not? What was the socio – economic status of the seers? How did the Soviet authorities respond to the testimonies of apparition? What was the further fate of the seer? How local community developed anti Soviet vernacular knowledge based on the “supernatural encounters”? How local communities struggled to define the place of apparition by erecting crosses etc.? What was the fate of the apparition places after 1990?
Rasa Baločkaitė is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Department of Social and Political Theory, Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania. Her scholarly interests include colonialism and post colonialism, Soviet and post-Soviet studies, societies in transition. She has published in social, cultural and political issues in Central and Eastern Europe in journals as Problems of Post Communism (2009), Journal of Baltic Studies (2011), Slovo (2012), Language Policy (2014), European History Quarterly (2015), among others. Rasa Baločkaitė was visiting Fulbright scholar at UC Berkeley in 2011 and visiting fellow at Potsdam Centre for Contemporary History in 2012 and 2013.
27 Oct (NB! 14:30-16:00) UCRS Election Analysis Seminar: "Georgia’s elections – a victory for Kvirikashvili?". Chairman: Matthew Kott. Language: English
On 8 October 2016, elections to the parliament were held in Georgia. Barabara Lehmbruch (researcher, UCRS), Christofer Berglund (researcher, Department of Government/UCRS), and Per Eklund (former head of the EU delegation in Georgia) will discuss the context, outcome, and possible consequences of the incumbent Prime Minster Giorgi Kvirikashvili’s “Georgian Dream” coalition winning 49% of the popular vote.
This event is part of the series of ad hoc seminars devoted to election analyses for the countries in the region the UCRS studies.
7 Nov (NB! 11:00-12:45) Election Analysis Seminar “Russia’s State Duma Elections – Domestic Developments and Global Context" with Elena Namli (UCRS), Martin Kragh (UCRS) and Sverker Gustavsson (Department of Government). Chairman: Matthew Kott. Language: English. As this seminar discussion will be held over lunchtime, registered participants will be offered a sandwich to eat. Please inform Jevgenija Gehsbarga (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 2 November if you would like to attend.
This autumn’s parliamentary elections in Russia have been described as the most boring in a long time. Low voter turnout, no real alternatives to the existing make-up of the State Duma, and a populistic consolidation in terms of patriotism and preservation of identity. At the same time, there are some voices being raised in Russia saying that the country can, and should, seek political mobilisation other than by populist and technocratic means. Could this “boring” election nevertheless have an important effect on the future political development in Russia?
Which questions are raised by, and what trends have risen to new prominence with the latest State Duma elections? What similarities and differences are there between the democratic deficit in Russia, and the challenges to democracy being faced in societies throughout Europe, and around the world.
Taking part in the panel discussing these issues will be Sverker Gustavsson (professor emeritus, Department of Government), Martin Kragh (researcher, UCRS), and Elena Namli (research director, UCRS).
This event is part of the series of ad hoc seminars devoted to election analyses for the countries in the region the UCRS studies.
8 nov Galina Zelenina (Moscow): “Out of the shtetl” as the main nerve of Soviet Jewish cultural history, and its repercussions today”. Elena Namli. Språk: engelska.
While Jacob Katz demonstrated that “out of the ghetto” was the main direction of modern European Jewish history and Yuri Slezkin pictured East-European Jewry of early 20th century at a crossroads of three possible ways out of the shtetl, I will argue that the shtetl persisted as a reference point for subsequent generations of Soviet Jewish population of big cities who did their best to shake the dust of the shtetl off their feet, and even post-Soviet Jewry along with fascination with Yiddish and Klezmer revival is not free of this anxiety. The paper examines the basic components of mestechkovost’ (shtetlness), its positively marked opposites and strategies of its eradication as reflected in Soviet Jewish fiction, autobiographical texts and sources of oral history of several generations, and attempts to show how the shtetl has recently penetrated metropolitan Jewish life with renewed vigor, and how Jewish intelligentsia gets involved with it while preserving “stylistic disagreement” as between Sinyavsky and Soviet rule.
Galina Zelenina received her PhD in History in 2005 for the dissertation on Sephardic Jewry which later was published as a book (From Judah’s Scepter to the Buffoon’s Club: Court Jews in Medieval Spain, 2007). Since 2000 she has been teaching and doing research in medieval and early modern Jewish history. Along with that, since 2010 she has been studying archival materials and doing field research on Soviet and Post-Soviet Jewry. Her most recent publications include: “‘One’s Entire Life among Books’: Soviet Jewry on the Path from Tanakh to Library”, “Conversos e Inquisición: ‘mártires’ y ‘un monstruo’”, “‘I’ve got my own hobby – I collect the Jews’: In search of identity at leisure”, “A portrait on the wall and sprat on the bread: Moscow Jews between the two ‘sects’”, a book on Jewish studies in contemporary Russia “Wissenschaft des Judentums Two: Renaissance in Portraits”, and an edited volume “Judaism after USSR: Old and New, Religious and National”.
CANCELLED! 10 Nov (at 15:15) Election Analysis Seminar "Lithuania’s New Parliament – A Vote for Change?" with Ausra Padskocimaite (doctoral student, UCRS), Laima Vaige (doctoral student, Department of Law), and Kjetil Duvold (senior lecturer in political science, Dalarna University). Chairman: Matthew Kott. Language: English
On 23 October, Lithuania’s voters went to the polls. The electorate turn its back on the incumbent Social Democrats. In a surprise outcome, the biggest winner was the opposition Farmer’s and Greens, who will now form the core of a coalition government. This was a major upset for the opposition Homeland Union, whose leader, Gabrielius Landsbergis, had hoped to continue in the political footsteps of his grandfather, Vytautas. Instead, the oligarch behind the Farmers’ Union, Ramunas Karbauskis, will decide who becomes Prime Minister. Seminar participants will discuss the context, outcomes, and implications of the elections for Lithuania and the region.
This event is part of the series of ad hoc seminars devoted to election analyses for the countries in the region the UCRS studies.
15 Nov Viacheslav Morozov (Tartu University): “Cultural Difference and Hegemony: De-essentialising the Postcolonial in Eastern Europe and Elsewhere”. Chairman: Stefan Hedlund. Language: English
Postcolonial theory foregrounds cultural difference as the fundamental category: it is culture that distinguishes the colonisers from the colonised, while such key concepts as hybridity and postcoloniality itself are defined as resulting from an inter-cultural encounter. This approach has proven its value through decades, but it is also evident that it is prone to ultraconservative essentialist interpretations. Nationalist anti-European forces in Poland, Hungary, the UK and Russia have all been using anti-colonial rhetoric to present their cultures as being threatened by globalisation, free trade, migration and other ‘anti-national’ forces. I will argue that there no way to resist such an appropriation from within the postcolonial paradigm, due to its own essentialist core. As a way out, I suggest replacing the concept of culture, as the fundamental ontological category, with hegemony, understood in the spirit of neo-Gramscian poststructuralism.
Viacheslav Morozov is Professor of EU-Russia Studies at the University of Tartu. Before moving to Estonia in 2010, he had taught for 13 years at the St. Petersburg State University in Russia. His current research explores how Russia’s political and social development has been conditioned by the country’s position in the international system. This approach has been laid out in his most recent monograph Russia’s Postcolonial Identity: A Subaltern Empire in a Eurocentric World (Palgrave, 2015), while the comparative dimension is explored, inter alia, in the edited volume Decentring the West: The Idea of Democracy and the Struggle for Hegemony (Ashgate, 2013).
19 Nov (NB! Saturday, 12:00-16:00 at Museum Gustavianum) A whole day event "Religion and politics". Parts of the day will be held in Swedish.
On Saturday, November 19, Uppsala University invites you to explore a complicated yet fascinating relationship between religion and politics from a global perspective in a series of mini lectures. UCRS contributes with a lecture by Prof. Elena Namli "Den ryska ortodoxa kyrkan och politiken – i statens tjänst?" (in Swedish), a concert with Uppsala Vokalensamble who will perform Russian sacral music as well as a book table. For more information please visit Gustavianum's website.
22 Nov Imke Hansen (Hamburg University): "Victims in the Land of Victors. Biographical Memory and Public Representation of WWII in Belarus and Ukraine". Chairman: Matthew Kott. Language: English
The Great Patriotic War , as the Second World War was and is called in the Soviet Union and its successor states, played a major role in postwar Soviet political performance and propaganda. The celebration and memory of fight and victory served the political leaders as the central instrument to unify, create collective identity and – first of all – legitimize communism and constitute a historical proof for its supremacy. Thus the war was very present in public space and daily life: memorials, street names, poster campaigns, the pompous parades on memorial days, continuous references in media and political speeches; school and university teaching, the yearly bestowal of decorations; the authority and privileges of the veterans in Soviet society – all that conveyed a proud and glorious image of World War II. The official interpretation of the war followed the theories of historical materialism and focused upon fight and war – other occurrences were fitted into that pattern: suffering was declared struggle, concentration camp inmates were declared freedom fighters. Victims became heroes, other victims became traitors.
This interpretation clashed with many Soviet citizens´ own experiences and memories – particularly those who had experienced German occupation, deportation and forced labour. Biographical narratives reflect these tensions between individual experience and memory on the one side and official interpretation and propaganda on the other. Interestingly so, people deal differently with these disparate narratives. Analyzing interviews with survivors of war and persecution form Belarus and Ukraine, among them of Jewish and Roma origin, I will show how individual and collective memory interact, integrate, melt and create new images and explanation patterns of history.
Imke Hansen, PhD, is a historian and political scientist, specializing in Eastern European Contemporary History, Memory Studies, and Oral History. Currently based at the NorthEastInstitute at Hamburg University, she has previously lived and worked in Uppsala/ Sweden, Cracow/ Poland and Minsk/ Belarus.
Her doctoral dissertation (2012) entitled “Nie wieder Auschwitz!“ Die Entstehung eines Symbols und der Alltag einer Gedenkstätte (“Never again Auschwitz!“ The emergence of a symbol and the daily life of a memorial) was awarded the Polish Ambassador´s Prize and the International Auschwitz Foundation Award.
She collaborated on the document collection project “Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der europäischen Juden durch das nationalsozialistische Deutschland 1933-1945” (“The Persecution and Murder of the European Jews by National-Socialist Germany 1933-1945”), editing the volume on Belarus and Ukraine as well as on several international Oral History projects. As a court expert, she has provided evidence for the highly debated Ghetto pension claims cases (ZRBG). She has continued to publish widely on Holocaust history, memory and East European transformation.
24 Nov Julie Hansen (UCRS): “What is literary translingualism? Some theoretical reflections and Russian examples” Elena Namli. Language: English.
This seminar focuses on the increasingly visible phenomenon of multilingualism in literature. It will offer some theoretical reflections on how multilingual literature can be theorized and studied, illustrated by examples from contemporary translingual Russian literary works.
Julie Hansen is Associate Professor at the Department of Modern Languages and Research Fellow at the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University
29 Nov Book launch "Borders in the Baltic Sea Region: Suturing the Ruptures" with Andrey Makarychev (University of Tartu) and Alexandra Yatsyk (UCRS). Chairman: Matthew Kott. Language: English
Welcome to a UCRS book launch where Andrey Makarychev and Alexandra Yatsyk will present their recently released book “Borders in the Baltic Sea Region: Suturing the Ruptures” (Palgrave Macmillan, ©2017). This book focuses on the recent political trajectories within the Baltic Sea Region from one of the success stories of regionalism in Europe to a potential area of military confrontation between Russia and NATO. The authors closely examine the following issues: new security challenges for the region stemming from Russia’s staunch anti-EU and anti-NATO polices, institutions and practices of multi-level governance in the region, and different cultural strategies that regional actors employ. The common threads of this innovative volume are issues of changing borders and boundaries in the region, and logics of inclusion and exclusion that shape its political contours. From diverse disciplinary and methodological positions the authors explain policies of specific Baltic Sea states, as well as structural matters that make them a region.
For more information about the volume please visit http://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781352000139
1 Dec (NB! 14:30-16:30) Project seminar: "Building Sustainable Opposition in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes" with Leila Alieva, Alexei Pikulik, Sofie Bedford and Laurent Vinatier. Chairman: Matthew Kott. Language: English.
It is beyond doubt ‘opposition’ is important both in democratic and non-democratic contexts. Notably ‘there can be no real democracy without opposition’. Still literature theorizing and problematizing the concept of opposition in authoritarian milieus is not very common. Interestingly a large number of both older and newer literature focusing specifically on the concept of political opposition both in democratic or in non-democratic contexts describe the topic as understudied. In the light of this the two first years of our project “Building Sustainable Opposition in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes, funded by VR in 2015, has dedicated to elaborating the understanding of the nature and character of opposition in authoritarian regimes, specifically in Azerbaijan and Belarus. The main focus of the study has been to observe and analyze opposition dynamics in action. During this seminar we will present two papers from the project related to this, focused particularly on the restrictive contexts and its effects on oppositional activity: “E-Opposition in Belarus. How the Internet Undermines the Chances of the Opposition to Win” "Opposition in a Rent-Seeking State. Azerbaijan and Belarus Compared.
6 Dec Rogier Blokland (Uppsala University): “The Komi in north-eastern European Russia and their diaspora speakers”. Chairman: Elena Namli. Language: English.
The Komi, who speak a Uralic language related to Finnish and Hungarian, live mostly in the Komi Republic and the Komi-Permyak Okrug in the east of European Russia, but there are also Komi speakers in a number of diaspora settlements in a wide swathe of territory from the Kola Peninsula to northwestern Siberia. In his talk Professor Blokland will look specifically at the language(s) spoken by diaspora groups and their relationship to the standard varieties of Komi.
Rogier Blokland is Professor of Finno-Ugric languages at Uppsala University.
13 dec (10:00-17:00) Workshop "In the Spirit of Perestroika? Informal Networks and Grassroots-Level Cooperation between Sweden and the Baltic Republics, 1988–1991". Download workshop programme.
Twenty-five years have passed since the attempted coup d’état in Moscow which, unintentionally, opened up the window of opportunity used by the governments of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to declare their full independence. Commemorating the anniversary of the three Baltic declarations of sovereignty, the workshop discusses the manifold networking processes between Baltic political, economic and cultural elites and Sweden that preceded the resumption of official diplomatic relations. Historical ties, the existence of well-organized Baltic émigré communities in Sweden, and geographical proximity triggered the development of a multi-layered web of informal and semi-official cooperation that has only begun to attract scholarly interest. The workshop gathers key actors in the fields of politics, economics, and culture who witnessed and actively influenced the entangling processes across the Baltic Sea, but also researchers contributing with a scholarly perspective on the historical significance of Swedish-Baltic interaction during the perestroika era. Discussing the interplay of informal manifestations of political support, the beginning economic cooperation and cultural bridge-building, the workshop aims at placing the various forms of institutional and private networks in the field between the poles of official support for Gorbachev’s perestroika and the contribution to early state-building processes.
This event is organized by the Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies in cooperation with the Uppsala Forum on Democracy, Peace and Justice.