The First Liberal Revolution in Russia

Project leader: Dr. Susanna Rabow-Edling

The proposed book will explore the unfolding of the dramatic events of the uprising on 14 December 1825, when Russian officers led 3,000 soldiers to the Senate Square in the centre of St Petersburg to force the Senate to approve their draft constitution. Two weeks later, there was a second uprising among the officers of the Second Army in the South. Both failed. Around 80 people were killed, 121 were sent to exile in Siberia, and five of the leaders were executed. What was it all about? Why were these rebels, the so-called Decembrists, willing to risk their careers and even their lives, and for what? What did they wish to achieve, what kind of society did they imagine and why did they fail? What were the consequences of the uprising for its participants and their families, as well as for Russian society in general? 

Vår verklighet och deras: Existentiellt motstånd och vägen till pluralism i Västra Sovjet

Project leader: Prof. Li Bennich-Björkman | Project page

Två frågor står i centrum i denna bok. Vilka civila, mänskliga, resurser skapades under de sista – ibland kallade post-stalinistiska – decennierna under Sovjetepoken och hur, och i vilken omfattning, kom de att påverka händelseförloppen efter 1985. Den första kretsar kring hur ”civila” resurser formades och utvecklades under de poststalinistiska årtiondena från mitten av 1950-talet till 1980s-talets mitt då perestroika och glasnost är ett faktum, både i motsättning till och i samspel med den sovjetiska partistaten. Den mänskliga infrastruktur som framförallt skapades tillsammans, inte enskilt, och som inte förrän sent i tiden, under 1980-talet, ibland blev öppet politiskt. Analysen bygger på intervjuer, men också sekundärlitteratur både på engelska och de lokala språken, liksom visst arkiv-material. Den andra frågan knyter an till den första genom att boken hävdar att de civila resurser som växte fram, i högre eller mindre utsträckning och med olika slags fokus, i sin tur blev väsentliga förutsättningar för demokratisk, ekonomisk och social förändring under den tioårsperiod som följer på 1985. Även i dessa två andra delar, den om liberaliseringen och åren 1986-1990/91 och den sista delen som tar analysen fram till 1995, bygger på ett stort intervjumaterial samt memoarer, arkivmaterial och sekundärlitteratur.

Negotiating Stability: Moscow and the Non-Russian Soviet Periphery

Project leaders: Li Bennich-Björkman (IRES) and Dr. Saulius Grybkauskas (Vilnius University)

Project page

The once commonly spread view in the West of the Soviet Union as virtually monolithic, governed exclusively from the Moscow center and streamlined into uniformity has successively been challenged by a scholarly understanding that opens up for more complexity and nuance. Even though the centralization of the Soviet system was firm on a theoretical level, the local party-states formed their own fiefdoms all over the Soviet Union, which came to affect everything from defending national language in official contexts (as in Lithuania), to the almost total silencing of the intelligentsia and creative professionals for decades (as in Latvia). Hence, the local party-states also within the Soviet Union differed considerable. The argument put forward here is that the local party-states formed as a consequence of two pairs of decisive relations: to the central Communist party in Moscow and to the local constituencies, e.g. the intelligentsia and the creative professions whom constituted their potentially biggest adversaries but who could also be made to support the party-structures.

DO INSTITUTIONS REALLY MATTER? Reflections on Transition, Color Revolutions and Western Interventionism

Project leader: Prof. Stefan Hedlund | Project page

The present work highlights an inherent contradiction in claims that institutions matter. While all agree that outcomes of policy interventions are determined by the quality of institutions, many also claim that history and culture do not matter. Since the latter represent the crucially important informal institutions that determine outcomes, the denial means that institutions do not really matter to policy makers.

The book argues that this has been an important cause behind the failures of outside interventions to promote economic transition and color revolutions. Given that such interventions have been grounded in faulty beliefs that all countries are the same, they have been doomed to failure.

Obshchina - special form or indigenous economic organization in the Russian North

Project leader: Dr. Vladislava Vladimirova

This book project is based in field research on a special form or indigenous economic organization in the Russian North, called obshchina. The data has been collected over many years of empirical research in different locations and among different indigenous groups. The study maps the evolution of this organizational form through legislation and administrative practice as well as the responses and creative adaptations by indigenous people who use it as a resource. In the book, the author explores obshchinas as processes of societal formation at the interface of state governance and indigenous bottom-up agency. The author uses concepts of governmentality, care, social security, and indigenous rights in order to analyze obshchina formation as projects at the Federal, regional, and local bureaucratic levels, as well as in indigenous communities.

Defining Latvia: Recent Explorations in History, Culture, and Politics

Project leaders: Dr. Matthew Kott (IRES), Siobhán Hearne (University of Durham) and Michael Loader (University of Glasgow)

German-Jewish self-help organizations during the Second World War

Project leaders: Prof. Michael Scholz (IRES) and Helmut Müssener, prof. em. (Uppsala University)

From help to self-help was the motto of a German Jewish self-help organisation in Stockholm. It was founded in November 1938 under the name „Emigranten-Selbsthilfe“ (Emigrant Self-Help) and existed until 1964. With the help of numerous documents and short biographies of the relevant persons, the organisation's varied activities are described and documented. The organisation succeeded in freeing refugees from their victim role and helping fellow sufferers.

Imagining the Nation in Putin’s Russia: Unifying Discourses, National Identity and Patriotism

Project leader: Dr. Matthew Blackburn

Combining analysis of state discourses on the nation with over 120 interviews from ordinary Russians from four cities, this monograph examines how certain visions of the Russian nation are promoted ‘from above’ and where and how they resonate ‘from below’. This contributes to knowledge of the politics of hybrid regime legitimisation and nationalism studies. Dr. Blackburn is currently at the stage of completing the book proposal.

The adventures of the Russian avant-gardist in Constantinople: A close reading of Ilia Zdanevich's autobiographical prose

Project leader: Dr. Igor Torbakov

The book will contribute to better understanding of the intricate geopolitical intrigue around Constantinople/Istanbul in the early 1920s. It will be demonstrated that a complex (if not downright phantasmagoric) imaginary world emerging on the pages of Ilia Zdanevich's autobiographic prose was in fact a reflection of no less phantasmagoric political reality. The centerpiece of the story line in Zdanevich’s novel Philosophy – a mysterious conspiracy to seize Constantinople in the fall of 1921 involving both the Bolsheviks and Baron Petr Wrangel’s White Guard troops that fled to Turkey -- does look like a nicely crafted piece of fiction. Yet the documents from the former Soviet Communist Party archives declassified in the early 1990s, the White Russians' memoirs, and Western media reports from the Allied-occupied Istanbul indicate that Moscow did indeed toy with the idea of taking control over Istanbul using the Wrangel army soldiers who felt disgruntled and bored in the Turkish internment camps. 

Women’s Agency in Contemporary Russia

Project leader: Dr. Ann-Mari Sätre

This is a book about women in post-Soviet Russia. The aim here is to highlight how women’s roles in the building of Soviet socialism are still reflected in contemporary Russia. Women were assigned a particular responsibility in societal development in the Soviet Union, which has survived the different attempts to reform the system. In effect, although images of women have changed from time to time, the norm has survived. Dr. Sätre will trace how continuities from the functioning of the Soviet system have survived and transformed women’s agency to fit the societal development.

Professional Journalism Culture in the Age of the Social and Technological Transformation of the Russian Media Sphere

Project leader: Dr. Greg Simons

The Image of Islam in Russia

Project leader: Dr. Greg Simons

Rethinking Warfare in the 21st Century: The Influence and Effect of the Politics, Information and Communication Mix

Project leader: Dr. Greg Simons

Islam in Russia: Politics and Society at Home and Abroad

Project leader: Dr. Greg Simons