Våren 2016


Plats: Gamla Torget 3, tredje våningen, biblioteket
Tid: Tisdagar, 15.15-17.00 (om inget annat är meddelat)

19 jan Prof. Koen Schoors (Ghent University) och Leonid Polishchuk (UCRS): “Institutions and visa regimes”. Ordförande: Stefan Hedlund. Språk: engelska

The presentation is based on a paper written by the presenters together with Camila Gracheva and Alexander Yarkin.

Over the last few decades the world witnessed increased mobility of goods, services, technologies, and capital across national borders. Mobility of people was also on the rise as part of this globalization trend, but not quite as rapidly, and visa regimes restricting international travel by and large remained in place and, not infrequently, grew tighter. Countries are highly selective and discretionary in their visa regimes – they welcome citizens of some nations with few if any hurdles and formalities, while raising formidable obstacles to others. We study the impact on visa restrictions of institutions and social norms in a sending country. To this purpose, we unbundle institutions into “institutions-services”, which increase productivity in the private sector, and “institutions-rules”, which strengthen the rule of law, prevent corruption, and otherwise constrain unproductive behavior. We demonstrate, theoretically and empirically, that while stronger institutions-services reduce visa barriers, stronger institutions-rules have the opposite effect. This reveals an inconsistency between e.g. EU’s official requirements to improve national institutions in order to qualify for visa-free access to the Schengen zone and ultimately for EU membership, and actual visa issuance practices vis-à-vis some of the countries which strive to meet such requirements. Furthermore, we show that visa barriers are affected by norms and values, which complement formal institutions as factors of visa regimes. We use various empirical models and data sources, such as visa rejection rates and “passport power” indexes to test and confirm the above conjectures. The paper demonstrates intricate and sometimes counter-intuitive linkages between formal and informal institutions, which should be kept in mind while predicting social, economic etc. outcomes of institutional change.

Leonid Polishchuk is a researcher at the Uppsala Center of Russian and Eurasian Studies. His research interests are in institutional economics, social economics, and norms and values as factors and outcomes of economic development and historical process.

Koen Schoors is an Economics Professor at Ghent University and a Visiting Fellow at UCRS with broad interests in institutional transformations in the post-communist region, including banking, finance, property rights and private sector development, etc. Camila Gracheva and Alexander Yarkin are post-graduate students at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics.

21 jan Yulia Gradskova (Södertörn University): ”Empire, Natives and Soviet "Emancipation": Natsionalka in Documents and Films (1920s-early 1930s)”. Ordförande: Matthew Kott. Språk: Engelska

This presentation suggests a revision of the evaluation of the Soviet politics of “emancipation of women” through taking the perspective of non-Russian, former colonized, non-white, /inorodtsy/ women. While Soviet politics of emancipation of the 1920s – 1930s and, in particular, such organizations as Zhenotdel, are well studied, the intersection of politics of “emancipation of women” and “emancipation of nations” needs further analysis. The particular geographical focus of my research is the region between the Volga and the Urals that was colonized by the Russian state in 16th century and that was an important area for the movement for women’s education in the early 20th century (as a part of /jadidist /reform of Islamic education). The presentation is based on the documents of the Commission for Improvement of Work and Everyday Life of Women (1926 – 1932) and several silent films produced mainly by the film studio Vostokkino in 1928 – 1932. I will show the contradictions in Soviet “anti-colonialism” through examples of the Commission’s (re)creation of the imperial tension in constructing its object of work as “Other” women (/tuzemka/, /natsionalka/, /vostochnitsa/), characterised by a lack of modernity and in need of being civilized. I will also show that the anti-colonial rhetoric of the silent films and visualization of ethnic minorities’ everyday life did not prevent the racialization of the /natsionalka /in these films.

Yulia Gradskova is Assoc.Prof. in history currently working at the Institute of Contemporary History, Södertörn University. Gradskova’s publications include articles and book chapters on family and social history, Soviet politics of culturalization of non-Russian women, and international cooperation on gender equality and transnational solidarity. She is the co-editor (with Sara Sanders) of the recent volume /Institutionalizing Gender Equality: Historical and Global Perspective/ (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015).

26 jan Mikhail Suslov (UCRS): “Russian Orthodox Church in Search of a Cultural Canon”. Ordförande: Elena Namli. Språk: engelska.

The Orthodox Church has become a powerful shaper of the public discourse in contemporary Russia, whose voice resonates in political ideologies of the elites and everyday talks of the grassroots. In a series of scandals related to the art exhibitions and theater performances, the Church has been testing the limits of its cultural hegemony in Russian society. This presentation documents and analyzes the building blocks of the Orthodox cultural canon and cultural policy, grounding on the study of ‘Orthodox literature’, ‘Orthodox cinema’, ‘Orthodox animation films’ and so on. The author argues that in spite of the Church’s attempts to renegotiate its status in (post)secular society, the Orthodox cultural products have restricted access to the nation-wide market, partially due to the lack of the theoretical reflection on culture and partially because of the Church’s unsettled accounts with Russian history of the 20th century.

Mikhail Suslov is a Marie Curie researcher at the UCRS. His research interests include Russian intellectual and cultural history. His recent publications are Eurasia 2.0: Post-Soviet Geopolitics in the New Media Age (Lexington Books, 2015), co-edited with Mark Bassin, and Digital Orthodoxy: Mediating Post-Secularity in Russia, a special issue of the journal Digital Icons, guest edited (with Maria Engström and Greg Simons), 2015.

28 jan Martin Kragh och Volodymyr Kulikov (UCRS): ”Big Business in the Russian Empire in a European Context: A Soap Opera about Russian Exceptionalism”. Ordförande: Stefan Hedlund. Språk: engelska.

Although the significance of large firms in the world economy since the mid-nineteenth century is in little doubt, Tsarist Russia’s business development in its European context remains a little-investigated topic. In the canonical literature, Russia’s economy has been described as backward and as a deviation from European norms. Scholars have emphasized the role of the Russian government, as well as the important part played by foreign investment and the involvement of foreign business in Russia’s domestic economy. A major obstacle to Russian industrialization, according to Alexander Gerschenkron was the country’s extreme scarcity of capital and bank credit. Dr Kragh and Dr Kulikov created a database of the largest companies in Russia, which includes several related components. The statistics on companies were extracted from the RUSCORP database which contains profiles of all Russian and foreign corporations operating in the Russian Empire in 1914. At the seminar the authors will discuss their findings on big business in Russia in a comparison with Great Britain, Germany, and France concerning their size and composition. The database enables them to compare the distribution of the largest firms by sectors and branches, their concentration, as well as the level of integration of big business in Russia into the global business processes. The obtained results shed new light on Gerschenkron’s assumptions regarding the national characteristics of industry in Russia, as regards its size and sectorial distribution.

Martin Kragh, PhD, is researcher at the UCRS and Head of Russia Program at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. Kragh's research interests include Russia's economy and history, but also the political development in Russia and Russia's neighbors.

Volodymyr Kulikov, PhD, is associate professor at the Kharkiv National University in Ukraine, and guest researcher at the UCRS with the support of the Swedish Institute. His main research interests include: business history, history of company towns, social and economic history of Ukraine during the industrial era.

2 feb Matthew Kott (UCRS): ”Latvia's Pērkonkrusts: Anti-German National Socialism in a Fascistogenic Milieu”. Ordförande: Mikhail Suslov. Språk: engelska.

Aside from equating it with Hitlerism, there have been few scholarly attempts to define national socialism and specify its relation to the broader category of fascism. This article posits that national socialisms are a sub-genus of fascism, where the distinguishing feature is an ultaranationalism based on a palingenetic völkisch racism, of which anti-Semitism is an essential element. Thus, national socialism is not just mimetic Hitlerism, as Hitler is not even necessary. National socialist movements may even conceivably be opposed to the goals and actions of Hitlerism. To test this definition, the case of Latvia's Pērkonkrusts [Thunder Cross] movement is analysed. Based on an analysis of its ideology, Pērkonkrusts is a national socialist movement with a völkisch racialist worldview, while also being essentially anti-German.

The case study even addresses the apparent paradox that Pērkonkrusts both collaborated in the Holocaust, and engaged in resistance against the German occupation regime.

The presentation will be based on a recent article in a special issue of  Fascism: Journal of Comparative Fascist Studies: <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/22116257-00402007>

Matthew Kott holds a PhD in history and is a researcher at the UCRS. Among his interests are: contemporary history, history of ideas, Baltic Sea Region, Baltic states, Scandinavia, Germany, Russia/Soviet Union, civil society, ideologies and political movements, occupation regimes, political mass violence, Romani minorities, majority-minority relations, historical memory, and public history.

9 feb Prof Michael Bradshaw (University of Leicester): ”Back to the Future: Reflections on the Sakhalin Oil and Gas Projects”. Ordförande: Stefan Hedlund. Språk: engelska

This lecture reflects on over 20 years of research on the Sakhalin oil and gas projects in Russia’s Far East. The lecture deploys the concept of ‘power geometry’ to consider how the forces challenging and shaping the progress of Russia’s large foreign investments have changed since their initial conception back in the 1970s. The lecture demonstrates the complex interaction between centre-region politics within Russia and global-local challenges within the wider context of globalization. The analysis provides key insights into the changing investment environment for foreign oil and gas companies in Russia. The conclusion focuses on the prospects of Russia’s ‘Asian Pivot’ in the context of low oil prices and the economic slowdown in Asian markets.

Michael Bradshaw is Professor of Global Energy at Warwick Business School at the University of Warwick, where he teaches on their Global Energy MBA. His research focuses on the interface between economic and political geography, energy studies, and international relations. He holds an MA from the University of Calgary in Alberta and a PhD from the University of British Columbia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, where he formerly served as Vice President, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. He is the author of Global Energy Dilemmas (2014) published by Polity Press and co-editor of Global Energy: Issues, Potentials and Policy Implications (2015) published by Oxford University Press. He is currently writing a book on the geopolitics of natural gas. He is also involved in UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and Horizon 2020 projects examining the development of unconventional oil and gas.

16 feb Margaret Litvin (Boston): “Arabs and Other Foreigners in Moscow Dorms: Echoes in Literature and International Relations”. Ordförande: Elena Namli. Språk: engelska.

“They sent a rocket to the moon, but they can’t or won’t produce a decent shaving razor,” says the exasperated protagonist of Ice, Egyptian writer Sonallah Ibrahim’s 2011 novel, which takes place in a 1970s student obshezhytie in Moscow. Like Ibrahim (who studied film), hundreds of Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, Palestinian, and other Arab intellectuals received scholarships to Soviet institutes or universities between 1965 and 1990. (So did many other Muslim internationals, both from the USSR's majority-Muslim republics and from satellite states such as Albania.) Their memoirs, travelogues, and fictional accounts record a pattern of illusion and disillusionment: the USSR first appears as a worthy alternative to the West, then serves up a series of social, literary, sexual and ideological disappointments. Yet although these study-abroad encounters largely failed to cement an image of Soviet superiority, they did succeed in fostering international solidarities. Obshiaga life put Arabs in close contact with other students: from their own and other Arab countries, other Afro-Asian countries, Russia, other Soviet republics, and Eastern Europe. Some unique friendships (and enmities) resulted. Following the literary traces of several Arab writers’ dorm experiences, this paper will propose the student dormitory as a microcosm revealing the contingencies and ironies of the USSR’s tiered cultural policy toward the “domestic abroad,” Eastern Europe, and the Afro-Asian world.

Margaret Litvin is associate professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at Boston University and the author of Hamlet’s Arab Journey: Shakespeare’s Prince and Nasser’s Ghost (Princeton, 2011). In 2015-6 she is an ACLS Burkhardt Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in Uppsala and a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung at the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin.  

23 feb  Alexandra Yatsyk (Kazan Federal University): "Celebrating borderland: Nation and Identities in Ukraine, Georgia and Estonia" Ordförande: Matthew Kott. Språk: engelska.

The seminar is based on a co-authored book "Celebrating Borderland in a Wider Europe: Nation and Identities in Ukraine, Georgia and Estonia " (Nomos), addressed those post-Soviet identities, which develop against the background of the neo–imperial policies of Russia and EU normative power projection.

With the decreasing explanatory value of the “post–Soviet” frame, Alexandra Yatsyk proposes the concept of borderlands for bringing together a group of countries located at the intersection of different cultural, religious, ethnic and civilizational flows and systems. It is argued that for borderlands nation–building envisages strategies of meaning–making aimed at self–identification, consolidation and integration, along with strategies of adjusting to practical tools and mechanisms of governance generated and shared by Europe. Performative cultural and sportive events, such as Euro 2012 in Lviv, Song and Dance Festival 2014 in Tallinn, and Youth Olympic Games 2015 in Tbilisi are at the centre of each of these case studies.

Alexandra Yatsyk is Visiting Researcher at the UCRS and Head of the Centre for Cultural Studies of Post-Socialism (Kazan Federal University, Russia). She has also worked as a lecturer and a visiting researcher at the School of Language, Translation and Literature Studies (University of Tampere, Finland), at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (George Washington University, USA), the Centre for Urban History of East Central Europe (Lviv, Ukraine), the Centre for EU-Russia Studies (University of Tartu, Estonia). Her research interests include representations of post-Soviet national identities, sports and cultural mega-events, Russia’s protest art, and biopolitics. She is a co-editor of a special issue of Sport in Society (2015) and the author of several book chapters and articles, including for Palgrave Macmillan, Nomos, European Urban and Regional Studies, Problems of Post-Communism, International Spectator, and Digital Icons.

1 mar  Piret Ehin (Tartu University): “Security threat or a trustworthy partner? How views on Russia structure political competition in Estonia”. Ordförande: Stefan Hedlund. Språk: engelska. 

The seminar is based on the paper that examines the question of how perceptions of the Russian Federation structure political competition in Estonia. The paper uses a unique battery of questions included in post-election surveys in Estonia in 2011, 2014 and 2015. Respondents were asked to place themselves as well as the major parties on a scale ranging from the position that Russia represents a security threat to the opinion that Russia is a trustworthy partner. The paper contrasts voter and party positions on the Russia dimension with voter and party positions on the left-right scale, and attempts to predict vote choice based on voter-party distances on both scales. The results suggest that views on Russia are a highly salient political issue in Estonia: more voters are able to position themselves and the major parties on the Russia dimension than on the left-right scale and views on Russia are more strongly polarized than left-right positions. Voter-party distances on the Russia dimension are statistically significant predictors of voting behavior, although effect size varies across parties.  

Piret Ehin is Senior Researcher at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu and founding Director of the Centre for EU-Russia Studies at the same institution. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Arizona (2002). Her main research interests include democracy, legitimacy and political support, European integration and Europeanization, and international relations in the Baltic Sea region. Her works has appeared in the European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Common Market Studies, Cooperation and Conflict, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties and the Journal of Baltic Studies. Since February 2016, she is acting as the coordinator of a Horizon2020 Twinning project entitled "Building Research Excellence in Russian and East European Studies at the Universities of Tartu, Uppsala and Kent."

8 mar Michael Dunn (Uppsala): ”Colour naming in the Slavic world”. Ordförande: Elena Namli. Språk: engelska.

The Slavic languages have fascinating and diverse systems of colour names. These systems are frequently discussed in research on linguistic universals and on the connection between language and cognition. In this talk Michael Dunn will present an historical perspective based on rich empirical data from across the family, illustrating a surprising disjunct between the historical development of colour categories and of colour terms.

Michael Dunn researches language typology and change from evolutionary and ecological perspectives. Since 2014 he has been Professor of General Linguistics in the Department of Linguistics and Philology at Uppsala University.

15 mar Tomislav Dulić (Hugo Valentin-centrum, UU): "Danish Waffen-SS Soldiers in Croatia, Autumn 1943: The Fighting in Glina and Hrastovica Between Fact and Fiction". Ordförande: Matthew Kott. Språk: engelska.                  

As a result of the Italian capitulation in September 1943, the Yugoslav communists managed to capture large areas of the Croatian littoral, in the process acquiring huge amounts of arms and equipment for the continuation of the struggle. As a result of the deteriorating situation and in order to forestall an allied landing in the Balkans, Hitler gave to task of securing the Croatian cost to Erwin Rommel. The newly established 13th Waffen-SS Division ”Nordland” was also sent to the area and soon became embroiled in clashes with partisan units from the 7th Kordun and 8th Banija divisions. These clashes have been the object of both popular and historical studies that almost invariably are based on one-sided descriptions by former Waffen-SS soldiers. During the presentation, Dulic will discuss the same events and by the help of Yugoslav primary evidence compare the descriptions in order to establish what actually happened, but also to discuss the relationship between historical fact and memory culture pertaining to the Second World War in Eastern Europe.

Tomislav Dulic, PhD, is the Director of the Hugo Valentin Centre at Uppsala University.

17 mar Thomas Magnusson ”Polska tavelförsäljare. Och andra svenska missförstånd från kalla kriget”. Ordförande: Elena Namli. Språk: svenska.

En genomgång av kalla krigets hemliga svenska incident- och underrättelserapporter ger en annan bild än den gängse, som dröjt sig kvar. De ”polska tavelförsäljarna” på 1970- och 80-talen antas fortfarande ha varit ett slags lönnmördare från Warszawapakten, men var det så? Hur uppträdde svenskt och sovjetiskt flyg när de möttes över Östersjön? Vilka uppdrag flög svenskarna? Vad övade egentligen Sovjetunionen? Vad hade DC-3:an år 1952 för uppdrag och var exakt blev Catalinaflygplanet nedskjutet?

Thomas Magnusson presenterar ett unikt bild- och kartmaterial, som fram till nu varit hemligstämplat: de svenska piloternas fotografier av sovjetiskt flyg, ofta tagna från mycket nära håll, men även de sovjetiska bilderna av det svenska flygvapnet. Flera av kalla krigets mest dramatiska incidenter presenteras i detalj, minut för minut.   

Thomas Magnusson har producerat Flygvapenmuseets böcker om kalla kriget och givit ut mycket av FoKK-projektets forskning. Han har en bakgrund inom svensk militär signalspaning. I samarbete med Medströms Bokförlag.

22 mar Prof. Philip Hanson (Chatham House): “Import Substitution and Economic Sovereignty in Russia”. Ordförande: Stefan Hedlund. Språk: engelska.

This talk is about the origins, main features and medium-term prospects of the current Russian campaign for import-substitution. It is argued that the campaign should not be viewed as merely a temporary expedient in response to Western sanctions.  The policy was launched before the announcement of Western sectoral sanctions, and owes something to long-standing concerns about economic sovereignty and to a continuing tendency towards greater state control in the economy. It is too easy to dismiss the campaign as doomed to failure. Much depends on the breadth of its attempted coverage and on the time-scale over which it might be pursued.  These are at present uncertain. Still, we offer an assessment of prospects.

Philip Hanson is Emeritus Professor of the Political Economy of Russia and Eastern Europe at the University of Birmingham and an Associate Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House. He has worked in the Treasury, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, as well as at a number of universities: Exeter, Michigan, Harvard, Kyoto, Södertörn and Uppsala. He acts as an analyst or consultant for Oxford Analytica and several banks and companies. His books include The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Economy, 1945-92.

29 mar (OBS! kl. 15:00-18:00) Lev Gudkov and Alexey Levinson (Levada, Moskva) "On Levada Center Project ”Sovetsky chelovek (Soviet human being)”. Ordförande: Elena Namli. Språk: engelska och ryska.

The seminar starts at 15:15 with Alexej Levinsson who will talk about the image of Russian society that emerges from Levada surveys. This part of the seminar will be held in English. During the second part of the seminar held in both English and Russian Lev Gudkov will present Levada’s project on a Soviet Man.

Lev Gudkov is Professor at Russian State Humanitarian University and the Higher School of Economics and since 2006 Director of Levada Centre. He is author of several books on the  theory of Sociology and problems of Russian society. His interests include social transformation, the problems of solidarity and inter-ethnic relations.

Alexey Levinson is Professor at Higher School of Economics (Russia) and in charge of the Department of sociocultural research at Levada Centre. He has written numerous articles on youth, militarism, and cultural dynamics.

Levada Analytical Center (Levada Center) is a Russian non-governmental research organization. The Centre regularly conducts sociological research and is the leading centre in the field in Russia. For more information about Levada Centre please visit http://www.levada.ru/eng/levada-center

5 apr Ildikó Asztalos Morell (UCRS): "Intersecting inequalities in recognition struggles of Roma women’s NGOs in Hungary ". Ordförande: Matthew Kott. Språk: engelska.

This presentation sheds light on the ways how classifications are constructed through which agents of NGOs engaged with Roma and/or Women’s recognition struggles make sense of the conditions forming the lives of Roma women and how they position Roma women’s interests into this context. Exploring the question how they account for the intersecting aspects of ethnic, gender and class based relations constituting Roma women’s position, I aim to identify which segments of the complexity of relations are those that different NGOs articulate as central for their understanding. Furthermore, since NGOs represent diverse partial societal interests. I am to explore whether Roma women’s NGOs can be seen as more reflexive of the intersectional complexity of Roma women’s relations compared to Roma and Women’s organizations. Therefore, some of the studied organizations are representing ROMA at large, WOMEN at large, while some represent ROMA WOMEN specifically. This provides an opportunity to explore the importance of different actor positions for the articulation of Roma women’s issues.

Ildikó Asztalos Morell is Associate Professor in Sociology at Mälardalen University and is currently affiliated with the Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies as senior research fellow. Her current research explores processes of marginalization in rural Hungary from an intersectional perspective with special focus on the precarious conditions of Roma minority following the post-socialist desindustrialisation process. Her previous studies focused on rural transition during state socialism and post-socialism, gender and inter-generational aspects of the emergence of post-socialist family enterprises. Her major contributions to comparative gender regime analysis are the co-edited volumes of Gender regimes, citizen participation and rural restructuring, Elsevier, 2008 and Gender Transitions in Russia and Eastern Europe, Gondolin, 2005.

12 apr Andrea Gullota (University of Glasgow): ”Virtual'naja Intelligentsia, or on the Uses of Social Media by Russian Intelligenty”. Ordförande: Elena Namli. Språk: engelska.

The debate on intelligentsia has recently been fed by Inna Kochetkova's book "The Myth of Russian Intelligentsia" (2010), in which the author stated that the 'the phenomenon of the Russian intelligentsia is [...] a cultural myth'. Kochetkova focuses mainly on the shestidesiatniki, while there is a "new army" of intelligenty which is composed by young poets, writers, cultural historian, musicians, scholars etc. born in the USSR but bred in post-Soviet Russia. As their Western colleagues, most of them use social media, each giving the medium a peculiar function. Counting on my ongoing research on the topic, I will analyse some case studies with the aim of showing how, while in some situation the social media is used mainly as an extension or a 'megaphone' of someone's activity, in others it is a peculiar space for creativity, other than functioning sometimes as one of the grounds where the eternal battle between power and intelligentsia is being fought.

Andrea Gullotta is lecturer in Russian at the University of Glasgow. He has also worked for the University of Palermo, the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and the University of Padua, where he obtained his Ph.D. He is co-editor of the journal "AvtobiografiЯ", which deals with life-writing and the representation of the self in Russian culture. His main field of research is the literature of the Gulag. He is the author of “Intellectual Life and Literature at Solovki 1923-1930. The Paris of the Northern Concentration Camps” (Legenda, forthcoming).

19 apr Irina Karlsohn (UCRS): “Александр Солженицын: История и утопия” Ordförande: Elena Namli. Språk: ryska.

The seminar «Александр Солженицын: история и утопия» examines attempts by Alexander Solzhenitsyn to influence the course of Russian history. Dr. Irina Karlsohn will discuss the writer’s view of the historical process, as well as the results and consequences of his attempts, and how we can assess Solzhenitsyn’s efforts.   

Irina Karlsohn holds a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Gothenburg (2010). Karlsohn is currently Research Fellow at the Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University and Assistant Professor of Russian at Dalarna University, Sweden. In her ongoing research, Karlsohn examines different aspects of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s conception of history.  

26 apr Roland Kostic (PCR/HVC, UU): “Diplomatic Counterinsurgency, Peace Building and the Growing Russian Influence in Bosnia-Herzegovina”. Ordförande: Matthew Kott. Språk: engelska.

Since the beginning of the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords in Bosnia-Herzegovina, US-led Western countries engaged in practices of promoting networks of pro-Western politicians in order to undermine ethnonational parties and ensure local ownership of peace. According to this understanding of peacebuilding, strongly influenced by the military tradition of counterinsurgency warfare, the external parties waged diplomatic counterinsurgencies against local actors and networks resisting implementation, in conflict fought over power by means of diplomacy, politics and economics. In the Republika Srpska, one of the main benefactors of this practice was Milorad Dodik and his party Independent Serb Social Democrats (SNSD). After a decade of fighting the enthnonational Serb Democratic Party (SDS), SNSD assumed power in RS in 2006 with the diplomatic support of Western governments and practical support of various Western think thanks on the ground. However, since 2006, Dodik and his party transformed into the main pillar of the Russian response to NATO enlargement ambition in Bosnia and Herzegovina. To that end, Russian government provided political support for Dodik when he undermined US and UK-driven police reform in 2006, and politically defeated the Office of High Representative in 2007, making the OHR de facto redundant. In addition, when the Western-supported opposition led by SDS tried to organise protest in RS during the election week in 2014, Cossacks from Crimea visited RS. More recently, in July 2015 Russian government vetoed British proposal on the Srebrenica genocide in the UN SC on bequest of Republika Srpska and Serbia, and currently arm and train special police force of the RS.

The presentation deals with some of the main components of the Russian current strategy to expand its influence in RS and B-H. It explains some of the possible causes, main directions of the strategy and key elements of how the projection of power is achieved in both Bosnia but also in Serbia and beyond. Finally, it discusses repercussions of the Russia- US struggle for stability of Bosnia-Herzegovina and South East Europe at large.

Roland Kostic is Associate Professor in Peace and Conflict Studies from Uppsala University, Sweden. He is currently employed as a Research Director for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the Hugo Valentin Centre, Uppsala University. His main research interests include

28 apr Boklansering "Citizens at Heart? Perspectives on integration of refugees in the EU after the Yugoslav wars of succession". Uppsala Multiethnic Papers 56 (Hugo Valentin Centre: Uppsala 2016) Li Bennich-Björkman, Roland Kostić och Branka Likić-Brborić (eds.). Språk: engelska.

This edited volume is based on presentations made at the international conference “Citizens at Heart: Immigrant Integration in a European Perspective”, held at Uppsala University in March 2013. The book is a contribution to the growing literature investigating the aftermath of the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia and the processes of re-settlement and integration experienced by the refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tomislav Dulic, Director of Hugo Valentin Centre, together with Claes Levinsson, Director of the UCRS, will hold an introductory word, while the editors, Li Bennich-Björkman, Roland Kostić and Branka Likić-Brborić will each present different parts of the book.

29 apr Heldagsseminarium "Digital Diaries: Resistance, Self-Representation and Civic Journalism in the Russian-Language Internet". För mer information ladda ner programmet samt abstracts & bios. Anmälan: mikhail.suslov@ucrs.uu.se. Språk: engelska och ryska. 

This seminar will initiate a research on studying blogging in the Russian-language internet (Runet) in the context of the development of freedom of expression. Blogging in Runet builds upon cultural, religious and literary traditions of writing diaries, self-staging and carving out niches of free speech in the state-controlled narrative environment. Blogging in Runet reflects both global tendencies of ‘digital storytelling’, and culturally specific features of ‘domesticating’ the internet in Russia. The intention of the project is to frame blogging as a rhetorical and cultural practice broadly defined, which produces and tests concepts and ideas. Keeping this in mind, the seminar will discuss the ambiguous impact of the digital communicative environment on the public sphere: on the one hand, it gives voice to the voiceless and fosters non-conformism; on the other hand, it gives ample possibilities for those in power to insidiously manipulate the public opinion in many ways, ranging from the deployment of the army of paid commentators to outsourcing of the state propaganda to private bloggers.

The seminar is open for the public. For further information please contact Dr. Mikhail Suslov (Mikhail.suslov@ucrs.uu.se). The seminar is organized with the support of Uppsala Forum on Democracy, Peace and Justice, and in collaboration with the “Russian Media Lab project” conducted at Aleksanteri Institute, Helsinki.

29 apr Boklansering av "Eurasia 2.0: Russian Geopolitics in the Age of New Media" Mikhail Suslov and Mark Bassin (red.). För mer information se inbjudan och besök förlagets hemsida. Språk: engelska. Ordförande: Elena Namli.

We would like to invite you to a book launch of “Eurasia 2.0: Russian Geopolitics in the Age of New Media” at the UCRS. The book, edited by Mikhail Suslov (UCRS) and Mark Bassin (Södertörn University), discusses the return of geopolitical ideas and doctrines to the post-Soviet space with special focus on the new phenomenon of digital geopolitics. The editors Mikhail Suslov and Mark Bassin as well as contributing authors, Saara Ratilainen, Galina Zvereva, Per-Arne Bodin, Fabian Linde, will each hold a short presentation, followed by general discussion chaired by Professor Elena Namli.

3 maj Marina Henrikson (UCRS): "Nation-Building in Times of Conflict: The Discursive Construction of Russian National Identity and the 2008 War in Georgia”.  Ordförande: Stefan Hedlund. Språk: engelska.

The Russo-Georgian War in August 2008, and especially Russia’s role in the conflict, was subject to highly divergent interpretations. Many international observers argued that the military intervention into Georgia and the recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia demonstrated contemporary Russia's neo-imperialistic nature. In contrast, the Russian political leadership presented a starkly different picture than its critics in order to counter the critique while simultaneously uniting the Russian nation behind the flag and framing the war as demonstrating Russia’s heightened importance in the world political arena. The presentation will focus on Russian official discourse, which contained certain themes that were familiar to both international and domestic audiences - themes often concerning Russian nationhood and membership in the collective. It will discuss the discursive construction of Russia as a non-imperial great power, historical (primarily Soviet) legacy and the protection of Russian citizens/compatriots. These themes all touch upon questions concerning the ‘just’ borders of the Russian nation/state and the belongingness to the Russian nation.

Marina Henrikson is a guest PhD Candidate at the Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, with the University of Manchester in the UK as her home university. Her research interests include Russian foreign policy, identity formation, the South Caucasus, International Relations, constructivism and discourse analysis.

10 maj Vasil Navumau (UCRS): "Forgetting “Ploshcha”: Quest for Alternative Concepts for Analysis of Belarusian Activism after 2010". Ordförande: Matthew Kott. Språk: engelska.  

The last two decades saw slow but irreversible decay of both number and intensity of mass actions in Belarus. The Tent Camp protest action of 2006 has been considered as a watershed in the history of protest activism, with many of theorists suggesting we witnessed the birth of New opposition, deployment of Belarusian Maidan, etc. However the subsequent developments confuted the bold predictions: the majority of youth activists, engaged with the organization of so-called “Ploshcha” in 2006 left the country after being released from prison, while authorities undertook tough approach with regards follow-up actions. The brutal dispersion of mass protest against the falsification of presidential elections’ results on 19th December, 2010, labelled “second Ploshcha” has become the culmination of that process. This article problematizes key assumptions lying at the center of the protest activity scholarship in Belarus: concentration mostly on the analysis of actions, arranged by the so-called major political actors (such as political parties), with smaller actions being left out of the consideration, emphasis on the “street politics” and “Ploshcha” as the only meaningful way of struggle against the political regime, lack of attention towards the cultural dimension of protests. All those trends, which largely coincide with Laclau and Mouffe’s “struggle for hegemony”, concept do not allow for unbiased analysis of collective actions in Belarus. Melucci’s New social movement approach combined with the Deleuzian concepts molarization/molecularization is presented as an alternative approach allowing to adequately analyze new forms of collective actions such as silent actions, politically-charged flash-mobs and happenings, emerged after 2006. 

Vasil Navumau completed his PhD at the Graduate School for Social Research at the Polish Academy of Sciences. He specializes in social movements' theory and is author of the book "Belarusian Maidan: A New Social Movement Approach to the Tent Camp Protest Action in Minsk." Currently he is an editor of Belarusian web-based journal e-gov.by, devoted to discussion and popularization of ideas in the sphere of public sector innovation, e-government formation and e-participation enhancement in Belarus. His research interests focus on the ways new ICTs influence the transformation of repertoire, scope and ideology of social movements and the ways they can contribute to the formation of more transparent, participative and inclusive government. Vasil is staying at the UCRS between 1 September- 31 May with the financial support of the Swedish Institute and is working on a research project entitled "Social Activism in Belarus and Ukraine. Application of the New Social Movement Approach to Euromaidan, 2014.

12 maj Richard Sakwa (University of Kent, UK): “One Europe or Many? Monism, Pluralism and the Ukraine Syndrome” Ordförande: Matthew Kott. Språk: engelska.  

The talk will be based on the Prof. Sakwa’s latest book entitled "Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands" (2016). In his book Richard Sakwa unpicks the story of Russo-Ukrainian relations and traces the path to the recent disturbances through the events which have forced Ukraine, a country internally divided between East and West, to choose between closer union with Europe or its historic ties with Russia. As the first full account of the Ukraine crisis from the Euromaidan Protests to the catastrophe of MH17 and up to the October 2014 parliamentary elections, Frontline Ukraine explains the origins, developments and global significance of the internal and external battle for Ukraine.

Richard Sakwa is Professor of Russian and European Politics at University of Kent. While completing his doctorate on Moscow politics during the Civil War (1918-21) he spent a year on a British Council scholarship at Moscow State University (1979-80), and then worked for two years in Moscow in the 'Mir' Science and Technology Publishing House. Before moving to Kent he lectured at the University of Essex and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prof. Sakwa is an Associate Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies (CREES) at the University of Birmingham and since September 2002 a member of Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences.

17 maj Andrei Tsygankov (San Francisco State University): “The War of Terror 2.0: Putin's New Old Foreign Policy”. Ordförande: Elena Namli. Språk: engelska.

What are Putin’s main foreign policy objectives in general and since Russia’s Syria intervention in particular? Professor Andrei Tsygankov will discuss Putin’s decision-making in the context of his core beliefs on fighting terrorism and the new great power rivalry with the West.

Andrei P. Tsygankov is Professor at the departments of Political Science and International Relations at San Francisco State University. Tsygankov has published extensively on Russian foreign policy, state building and Russophobia. His latest monograph is "Russia's Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity in National Identity."

19 maj Leonid Polishchuk (UCRS): "Chronicles of a democracy postponed". Ordförande: Matthew Kott. Språk: engelska. 

The seminar will be a presentation of recent research findings by Elena Gaber, Leonid Polishchuk, and Denis Stukal.


The authors trace illiberal sentiments and a lack of civic culture in today’s Russian society, and poor state of the Russian democracy, to economic and political transformations of the early 1990s. Prior to the reforms, there was considerable optimism in Russia about free market and liberal democracy, but these hopes and expectations were quickly shattered. The collapse of trust and civicness that ensued was often ascribed to economic hardship, and as such expected to be temporary and repaired by an economic recovery. However, value drift away from liberal democracy continued against the backdrop of decade-long economic growth. Another hope for a value shift – due to a generational change – has also failed to materialize, and younger generations with no memory of the Soviet regime are sometimes less liberal and civic than older ones.

The authors explain the observed trends and outcomes by a democratic deficit at the time of reform, when democracy was viewed as a political obstacle and liability, rather than a resource and driving force of transformation. Democratic support was expected ex post, once market institutions start paying off. However the representation void was filled by organized elite groups – first the oligarchs and next the “vertical power” bureaucracy, which have established and sustained “extractive” economic and political institutions, instead of “inclusive” institutions serving the society at large. Temporary suppression of democracy at a “critical juncture” has set in motion a stable vicious circle, reproducing a general pattern a la Acemoglu and Robinson’s Why Nations Fail. The authors argue that such mechanism involves a cultural change towards paternalism and survival values, which provides a stable ground to a competitive authoritarianism-type regime. The authors draw from multiple waves of the World Values Survey and other data sources to provide empirical support of the above conjectures, and to conclude that the present state of the Russian politics and society reflects not only centuries-old, but also much more recent path-dependencies.

Leonid Polishchuk is a researcher based at UCRS. His areas of expertise include political economy, institutional reform, and the role of culture, social networks, and norms in economic development, political processes, and government performance.

24 maj Litauens Ambassadör Eitvydas Bajarunas: “Crisis in Ukraine: Who is Winning?”. Ordförande: Stefan Hedlund. Språk: engelska.

Eitvydas Bajarunas is Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania to the Kingdom of Sweden. Prior to his nomination as the Lithuanian Ambassador to Sweden, Eitvydas Bajarunas served as the MFA Political Director in 2009-2011. He has also been director of several MFA bilateral departments and head of foreign policy planning and multilateral relations units. Before joining the MFA, he headed the international relations division in the MoD for several years. He also served as the diplomatic adviser to the President of the Republic. Prior to joining governmental service, E.Bajarunas was research fellow and doctoral student in research institutes of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, and lecturer at Vilnius Technical University. Eitvydas Bajarunas has published several publications on international security issues, on Russia’s foreign policy, and on security policy in Lithuania, UK, US, France, Estonia, and Germany.

31 maj Ineta Lipša (Historical Institute of Latvia): “Homophobia in Latvia: Sources, Expressions, Comparisons”. Ordförande: Matthew Kott. Språk: engelska.

The seminar will offer a historian’s view on how the Latvian legacy of the past affects people's attitudes towards homosexuals in contemporary Latvia. Dr. Lipša’s reflections will deal with the issues such as the role of Soviet homophobia in the development of attitudes, as well as what is this Soviet legacy and where it is present, what parallels it allows to discern between what is going on in the Latvian and the Russian public spaces in the last years and what conclusion can be drawn comparing of experiences of the both countries.

Ineta Lipša, Dr. hist., is a former journalist and one of Latvia’s leading social historians. She works as a senior researcher at the Institute of Latvian History of the University of Latvia. She is also the responsible editor of Latvijas Vēstures Institūta Žurnāls (Journal of the Institute of Latvian History) and a contributing expert for the official Government Commission for KGB Research. He recent publications include: Seksualitāte un sociālā kontrole Latvijā, 1914–1939 [Sexuality and Social Control in Latvia, 1914–1939] (Riga: Zinātne, 2014); and “‘Over-Latvianization in Heaven’: Attitude towards Contraception and Abortions in Latvia, 1918–1940”, in: Baltic Eugenics: Bio-Politics, Race and Nation in Interwar Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, 1918–1940, eds Björn Felder & Paul Weindling (Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, 2013).

7 jun Fabian Heffermehl “Face - Body – Name. Shalamov's Descriptions of Convicts in Gulag”. Ordförande: Elena Namli. Språk: Engelska.   

The seminar is going to explore how new concepts of the author in Russian modernism reactivated archaic concepts of imprint and tactility. The focus will be on Varlam Shalamov for whom “…the author is no observer, no spectator, but a participant in the drama of life (…) Pluto ascending from hell, and not Orpheus descending into hell”. The quotation implies that the Cartesian separation between an observing subject and an observed object – between the self and the world – is impossible. Instead Shalamov proposes a view of the writer as part of the literary space s/he creates. A written, suffering object is internalized in a writing subject. Shalamov’s awareness of himself as an object derives at first hand from his Gulag-experience as a fragile, “porous I”, which had been denied the writer’s possibility of descriptive distance from the events. At second hand the fusion of subject and object can be traced back to the artistic practices of the Russian avant-garde, with which Shalamov became acquainted in the 1920s. Against this double background of revolution and banishment traditional paradigms of image and perception became abolished, reinterpreted or perverted.  

Fabian Heffermehl defended his doctoral thesis entitled "The Image Seen from the Inside, Mathematical and Iconoclastic Concepts of Florensky’s reverse perspective” at Uppsala University on 31 October 2015. Currently he is post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages at the University of Oslo. Dr. Heffermehl’s academic interests include Russian art and literature, Orthodoxy, images, icons, relationship between art / literature and mathematics, Russian modernism, Gulag-literature, cultural techniques.