Research staff and experts L-Ö

The Aleksanteri Institute is an academic community of more than 60 researchers and other experts in Russian and Eastern European Studies. We share a multidisciplinary approach to the social, political and cultural phenomena. Our internationally renowned research covers the study of politics, history, civil society, regimes, culture, environment and the media. A notable part of the Institute's activities stems from its role as a national centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies: we coordinate nationwide research and study programmes and provide information services for a network of Finnish universities.

For technical reasons our staff have been alphabetically listed on two separate pages. Research staff and experts with surnames beginning with letters from A to K are to be found via this link. 

For emeritus members and associates (title of docent), please click here.

NB! Email addresses follow the pattern unless otherwise indicated. If you have trouble finding the right expert, please contact information specialist Niina Into.

Visiting Researcher

I am a visiting researcher in the Russian Environment Research Group. My research has focused on societal and cultural aspects associated with Arctic energy developments and I am currently working with themes related to just energy transitions in the north. I am currently based at the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, but I will be joining the FLOWISION project led by Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen in fall 2023.

Visiting Researcher

I hold a PhD in Political Science from the University of Illinois-Chicago (2014). My areas of expertise are party politics and democratization in Eastern Europe and the Caucuses. My current research focuses on women and politics in Ukraine with a specific interest in the role political parties play in hindering or facilitating gender parity in political representation.

Previous research of mine has focused on populism in Ukraine and Georgia, the democratic impact of the color revolutions, the meaning of party membership in Ukraine, Ukrainian right-wing politics, as well as the decentralization of party politics in Ukraine. My research has been published in East European Politics, Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, The Oxford Handbook on the Radical Right (2018), as well as elsewhere.

I have worked with think tanks in Washington, D.C., Riga, and Prague, as well as taught political science and humanities courses at colleges and universities in the United States. In addition to being a visiting researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute, I will be lecturing in the Ukrainian Studies program.

University Lecturer, Head of Discipline in Eastern European and Balkan Studies

I am a historian and an area specialist in East Central and South Eastern Europe. In my current research, I focus on how spatiality determines the closely interlinked subjects of the rule of law, strategic culture and nationalism. Previously, I have also studied the role of competition in societal development and Cold War interactions. My latest publications include the co-authored book Strategic Culture in Russia’s Neighborhood (Lexington 2019) and special issue Erosion of the rule of law in East Central Europe (Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 3/2018). Based on my expertise, I have been invited to evaluate research projects for the EURIAS, the Austrian Science Fund and Baltic Sea Fund. I also frequently assist the media, political decision-makers on the Finnish and European level, and NGO’s.

 In 2013, I was appointed as a founding member of the Teachers’ Academy at the University of Helsinki, as acknowledgement of teaching skills and scholarship in education. Ever since, I am working to develop the internationalization of higher education and to invent new methods for interdisciplinary teaching. At the moment I am involved in a multilateral teaching co-operation with three Baltic universities (the Nordplus-project) Baltic-Nordic Network for the Advancement of Methodology in Area Studies. Previously, I collaborated with Belarussian and Georgian universities in the three-year Basercan-project.

Room 243
Tel. +358 50 368 3231

Katalin Miklóssy: Research outputs, projects, activities, press media
Katalin Miklóssy: Contact information

Doctoral Student

I’m a quantitatively oriented social scientist specialized in Russia and post-Soviet countries. At the moment, I work as a doctoral researcher in doctoral programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change (PSRC). In my dissertation research, I examine the relationship between political participation and autocracy in Russia and more generally in post-Soviet countries.

Room 219

Twitter: @eemilmitikka
GitHub: eemilmitikka


Associate Professor, Russian law and administration

I have been engaged in socio-legal research and policy activities with public and voluntary sector organisations since 1996. I have worked as a researcher, trainer and professor for academic and non-academic agencies and projects, including the UN (UNDP program in Central Asia), NGOs (including women’s shelters in St. Petersburg) and a number of universities in Russia, Finland, the US and the UK. My research and policy engaged projects include those sponsored by the EC, US State Department, Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils, Finnish Academy and Dutch National Research Organisation.

My research is interdisciplinary, bringing together history, social sciences and law to examine long-term trends and patterns in social development, with a special focus on normativity, gender and violence. Some of my most recent projects focus on family violence (violence against parents and domestic violence), the history of crime (homicide and, particularly, femicide), legal history, gender history, and history of sexuality. Currently, I am focusing on the study of everyday uses of law based on empirical data from Russian courts and how it contributes to thinking about rule of law and better governance.

I am a founding member of the Russian Association of Women’s Historians (RAIZhI) and co-chair of the Women and Gender Network of the European Social Sciences History Conference. I am also an editor for the Palgrave book series World Histories of Crime, Culture and Violence and a member of a number of editorial boards, including for the Russian Law Journal and Comparative Legal History.

Marianna Muravyeva: Research outputs, projects, activities

University Lecturer in Russian and Eurasian Studies

I am in charge of the Finnish Universities network’s Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES) since May 2019. I plan and develop teaching in this study module as well as teach and supervise the ExpREES students.

I am a scholar of  international politics and hold a PhD in Political Science (2008). In my research I have focused on Russia’s role in international relations, and my current research interests deal with the link between higher education and international relations. Recently I have published on EU-Russia cooperation in the field of higher education and Russia’s educational diplomacy. I continue studying how Russia promotes its higher education abroad and how Russia’s higher education is perceived and its promotion received in the countries of post-Soviet space and EU member states. I am the leader of the research project Towards Good Neighbourliness with Higher Education Cooperation funded by the Kone Foundation and hosted by the Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University. I have also published e.g. on Russian geopolitical argumentation, geopolitics teaching and studies in Russian universities and Russian border discourses.

Previously I have worked at Tampere University, Finland, for 20 years in different positions in teaching, research and administration. I have supervised Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctor’s theses and taught courses on Russia’s domestic and foreign policy, geopolitical thinking and methodology. I have also been a convener for a double degree programme in Cross-Border International Relations (CBIR) organized in cooperation with St. Petersburg and Petrozavodsk State Universities. In addition, I have been the chair and deputy chair of the Finnish Political Science Association. 

Room 241
Tel. +358294123656

Sirke Mäkinen on Research Gate



Postdoctoral Researcher

I graduated from the History Department of Pskov State University and studied as a postgraduate student in the St.Petersburg Institute of History (Russian Academy of Sciences) in 2012-2016. Additionally, I was a Research Associate in the Carceral Archipelago project (School of History, University of Leicester), funded by the European Research Council. Currently, I am a DPhil student at St.Peter's College, History Faculty, University of Oxford.

My area of expertise includes a comparative history of penal medicine, the GULAG, and Russian imperial prisons. I joined ERC-funded GULAGECHOES (Gulag Echoes in the “multicultural prison”: historical and geographical influences on the identity and politics of ethnic minority prisoners in the communist successor states of Russia and Europe) project in September 2019 as a post-doc researcher. My principal responsibility as a member of the team is to elucidate the historical dimension of the project research questions, particularly unexplored ethnic facets of the Soviet GULAG. 

Room 320

Visiting researcher (International postdoc Musikverket, Stockholm/ Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki)

I hold a PhD in Art History and Visual Studies from University of Gothenburg, Sweden. My research interest lies primarily in the field of performing arts, visual arts, scenography and materiality. In my PhD thesis I analyzed audiovisuality and material interrelations in live music performances, with the specific focus on bodies, screens, screen visuals and sound.

Since Autumn 2020 I am working on my postdoctoral research Women Practitioners and Scenography of Trauma in Contemporary Russian Theatre. I am spending two thirds of my research time as a visiting researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute.

My research lies on the intersection of performance studies, Russian studies and trauma studies and carries a dual intention. First, it aims to focus attention on women theatre directors and women stage artists in contemporary Russian theatre whose creative practices is often undermined and even discriminated. Second, the project aims to explore the representation of trauma in performances created by women practitioners. This aim is endorsed by problems in the sociocultural sphere in contemporary Russia, where the subjects of trauma and diverse traumatic experiences are often underrepresented, undesirable and even perceived as threatening for the state’s agenda. While trauma, alongside memory and history, is continuously fractured, molded and even ignored, I aim to explore how specifically women theatre practitioners continue to challenge the limits of articulation and apprehension of trauma in their work.

Doctoral student

I am currently working on the University of Helsinki three-year project “Strategies of Persuasion: Russian Propaganda in Algorithmic Age”. In this project, I study how Finnish websites that present themselves as “alternative news”, use RT and Sputnik as their information sources. In addition, I am involved in the Russian Media Lab Network . More general research interests of mine deal with establishment and contestation of authority that are embedded in national ideas in public discussion. Furthermore, I am affiliated with the University of Eastern Finland, where I do my PhD research on discursive Russianness in Russian and Finnish media within the Doctoral Programme on Social and Cultural Encounters.
Room 306


I coordinate the planning and implementation of the East Central European, Balkan and Baltic Studies (ECEBB) and Ukrainian Studies teaching programmes.  In addition, I am coordinator for the Baltic-Nordic Network for the Advancement of Methodology in Area Studies (BAMSE 2020) network funded by Nordplus.

Our courses are open to all University of Helsinki degree and exchange students and students of the nationwide Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES), and students from other Finnish universities via the Flexible Study-Right Scheme (JOO). I am responsible for guidance and support for students and teachers, and I take care of international teachers visiting our programmes. I want to provide students with a nice learning environment and teachers with a good teaching environment.

If you have any questions concerning ECEBB, Ukrainian Studies or BAMSE, please turn to me!

Room 202
Tel. +358 50 330 1898

Minna Oroza: Research outputs, projects, activities
Minna Oroza: Contact information

Professor, Research Director

In 2018, I was awarded European research Council Advanced Grant to continue the research I have been engaged in for the past decade on the experiences of minority prisoners of the Russian penal system, especially of its geographical aspects.  I am happy to have been able to bring this grant to the Aleksanteri Institute, and to lead the GULAGECHOES project. As well as research director of the ERC project in Helsinki, I am emeritus professor at the University of Oxford and Christ Church (college) in the United Kingdom.  

I have  been  researching and writing on the former Soviet Union and the Russian Federation for my whole academic career and have authored books and articles on a range of subjects, including the Stolypin Land Reform, household production in the rural peripheries, Soviet spatial planning and, since 2009, minorities’ experience of the Russian prison system. In 2016, I was made President of BASEES (the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies, a position which I have held for the past three years. 

Read a profile written by Joonas Pörsti for Yliopisto 8/18: "Who runs Russia's prisons? Judith Pallot, who transferred from Oxford to Helsinki, knows prison hierarchy"

Room: 323
Tel. +358505685215



I coordinate the Finnish Universities network’s Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES) and make sure that the roughly 100 study units provided by the 12 Finnish network universities all fit into the big picture, the 25 ECTS ExpREES study block.

I take care of study administration and offer advice and guidance to the over 180 registered students. As our students are geographically scattered all over Finland, my aim is to promote online teaching and e-learning. I'm also interested in other projects in education development and international education exchange (see, for example, BASERCAN).

My academic interests include the Russian economy and entrepreneurship.

Room: 202
Tel. +358 50 331 9894
E-mail: hanna.o.peltonen at

Hanna Peltonen: Research outputs, projects, activities, press media
Hanna Peltonen: Contact information

Doctoral Candidate

I am a Doctoral Candidate in the Doctoral Programme of Political, Societal and Regional Change at the University of Helsinki. I'm  an early stage researcher in the Aleksanteri Institute within the framework of the H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions funded Consortium MARKETS. The University of Helsinki subproject focuses on the evolution and coherence of informal and formal rules and practices in the development of post-Soviet institutions.  In my PhD thesis, I explore and compare informal practices in the provision of social welfare in Russia and other post-Soviet states and their impact on the implementation of social policies.


Visiting Professor

I am a historian of modern Russia and Europe (Ph.D., Columbia University, 2011), and focus on the cultural and intellectual history of the Stalin- and post-Stalin-era Soviet Union. I am currently completing a book manuscript, tentatively titled, The Origins of the Thaw: Thought and Literature under Stalin and Khrushchev. My work has appeared in Slavic Review, Russian Review, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, and other publications. I am also the editor of the Russian-language volume, Posle Stalina: Pozdnesovetskaia sub”ektivnost’ (1953-1985) (St. Petersburg: EUSPb press, 2018).

I have held a number of fellowships, including from the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, American Councils for International Education (ACTR/ACCELS), and the Aleksanteri Institute.

Before coming to Helsinki, I taught at Columbia University, the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the City College of New York, and the European University at St. Petersburg. My teaching interests include Russian/Soviet history; European intellectual history; the history of the diary and autobiography; genre studies; the history of the modern self and subjectivity; and academic writing.

Postdoctoral Researcher

I am a philosopher of science with an interest in values in science. I defended my PhD dissertation in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at University of Cambridge in 2019. My PhD research focussed on epistemic values in the development of periodic systems of chemical elements, including the system of the Russian chemist Dmitrii Mendeleev. The results of my research have been published in journals such as Philosophy of Science, Ambix, and Centaurus.

I also have an interest in the role of values in climate science as my previous postdoc concerned values in climate modelling. The project Values, Choices, and Uncertainties in Climate Modelling was a collaboration between philosophers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and climate scientists at Stockholm University.

At the Aleksanteri Institute, I am researching the role of values in science in the Soviet Union with the aim of determining how past science can inform our normative frameworks regarding the management of social, political, and epistemic values in scientific practice more broadly.

I have been a principal instructor for Ethics of Medical Technology at KTH and a seminar supervisor for Philosophy of Science and Ethics and Politics of Science and Medicine at University of Cambridge. I am also one of the editors and co-founders of Jargonium, the blog for history and philosophy of chemistry. I also edit Chemical Intelligence newsletter for Society of History of Alchemy and Chemistry (SHAC).

Room 308


Assistant Professor, Russian Security Policy
(University of Helsinki and National Defence University)

I am an assistant professor at the University of Helsinki (Aleksanteri-institute), holding the Mannerheim Chair of Russian Security Studies. This joint professorship between the University of Helsinki and the National Defense University was established in August 2017, and a multidisciplinary research project titled "Russia's Role in the World in 2035: Interests, Resources, Challenges" was developed in collaboration with Russia Group at the NDU. The research project explores four main themes: Russian military policy and the changing character of war, Russia’s strategic goals and the rupture of international system, security implications of the energy transition and climate change, and resilience of the Russia’s political system.

Within this larger research program, my own research focuses on Russian foreign and security politics, with emphasis on changes in strategic thinking (doctrines, strategies and concepts), conceptualization and implementation of information warfare tools as part of Russian foreign policy, and the analysis of treat perceptions and enemy images in Russian strategic communication/deception.


Room 215
Tel. +358 299 530577

Katri Pynnöniemi: Research outputs, projects, activities
Katri Pynnöniemi: Contact information

Conference Assistant, M.Sc.

 I work as conference trainee in autumn 2021 in the yearly Aleksanteri Conference organised by Helsinki University’s Aleksanteri-instituutti. I study presently in the two-year International Master's Program in Russian Studies in the University, and the internship is a part of my studies. My tasks in the organising committee include taking part in the planning and coordinating of the event, as well as assisting with the communications.  

Room 231
Tel. +358 50 594 2453

Postdoctoral Researcher

My work focuses on the political economy of post-communist transformations in the Baltic states, forms of resistance against neoliberal restructuring of East-Central Europe and concepts in historical materialism.

I completed my doctoral studies in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham in 2020. Funded by the Kone Foundation the post-doctoral project “The Enigma of Baltic Post-Communist Transformations” builds on the doctoral research to explore the conditions and processes undergirding the economic sociology of post-communist change in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Aided by historical materialist approach, I seek to unearth the vectors of continuity in the forms of class-constituted rule during Soviet and post-Soviet periods, study the processes conducive to the exasperation of geographical and social unevenness and centre analytical attention on intra- and inter-class conflicts that shaped the trajectories of so-called post-communist ‘transition’. This project sheds light on previously under-explored themes ranging from the transnational origins of neoliberalism in the Baltics as well as currency and monetary reforms, which served to institutionalise distinctive varieties of post-communist capitalisms in the region to labour resistance in the episodes of privatisation, the modalities of 2008-2011 crisis management operations, and more recently, the rise of far-right in Estonia.

The second strand comprising my current research programme revisits once-thriving historical materialist debates on the concepts of mode of production, domestic (household) labour and historiographies of capitalism. In the collaborative project “Revisiting the 'Mode of Production': Enduring Controversies over Labour, Exploitation and Historiographies of Capitalism” together with Kayhan Valadbaygi I delve into three inter-related thematic leitmotifs. First, we re-examine the mode of production concept by looking at several aspects of the debate including emergence and periodisation of capitalism, the analytical ‘schools’ of social formation/articulation as well as categories of ‘free’ and ‘unfree’ labour, ‘market dependence’ and ‘merchant capital’. Second, we adumbrate the complexity of the ‘domestic labour debate’, by approaching the latter through the lenses of the role of the body in the emergence of capitalism, the interiority between production and social reproduction spheres and household activities as productive or non-productive of value and surplus value. Third, the notion of uneven and combined development (U&CD) is evaluated. This is accomplished by considering the notion’s promises in studying the expansion of capitalism, its relation to the concepts of the mode of production and domestic labour, its capacity to write non-Eurocentric histories and the critique of its applications.

My articles, book reviews and commentaries have appeared in the Economic and Labour Relations Review, Europe-Asia Studies, Historical Materialism, Political Studies Review, Journal of Soviet & Post-Soviet Politics & Society, Progress in Political Economy and Jacobin.

Before coming to Helsinki, I taught political economy, international relations and post-Soviet politics at the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent.

Room 308
Tel. +358504731922

Academy of Finland Visiting Researcher

My research interests are in the field of gender studies, child welfare and education policies. My new research project is about gender and migration. It is titled: "Russian Academic Migration to Finland: institutional culture, gender and race". The research aims at producing new knowledge about the subjective experience of women in Finnish universities at the early stages of their careers. Taking as a case the experience of Russian women, my research sheds light on subjectivities, career strategies, perception of inequalities, informal barriers for women with a post-soviet background in Western academia.

Postdoctoral Researcher

I have a political science background and hold a PhD in Political Science with a focus on the non-profit sector development. I have conducted empirical research on various types of NGOs and their involvement in social service provision as well as interest representation in Russia and other contexts. I’ve participated in several international projects such as the UNRISD research project, New Directions in Social Policy: Alternatives from and for the Global South (supervised by professor Linda Cook of Brown University). Currently I’m working as a post-doctoral researcher on the A Child’s Right to a Family: Deinstitutionalisation of Child Welfare in Putin’s Russia research project run by Dr.Soc.Sc Meri Kulmala at the Aleksanteri Institute.

From 2010 I have been teaching and running seminars in both Russian and English language at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg) as well as giving lectures at universities at home and abroad (University of Helsinki, Finland; University of Bielefeld, Germany).

Room 217
Te. +358 40 811 6381

Anna Tarasenko: Research outputs, projects
Anna Tarasenko: Contact information

Information specialist

I am in charge of Aleksanteri Institute's information service and reference library. This includes their development and following up the field of databases and online services concentrating on the topics around Russia and Eastern Europe, for example the recently created ResearchGuide to Russian and Eastern European Studies. I am helping and training researchers and students on information seeking and retrieval. My duties include guiding the academic staff in using the University of Helsinki Research Portal and I participate in the communications tasks of the institute.

Room 141 (Library)
Tel. +358 50 319 8581

Marko Tiainen: Contact information

 Professor, Russian Environmental Studies

From 2018 I have worked as associate professor and professor of Russian Environmental Studies, focusing on issues such as environmental policy, resource policy, regional and environmental planning, democracy and power. During 2011 – 2017, I worked as professor in Russian Energy Policy and energy and climate related themes continue to figure in my current work as well. I’m currently in charge of six research projects:

My teaching duties include lectures in the Master’s Programme in Russian Studies as well as other special courses and programmes coordinated by the Aleksanteri Institute. I’m also actively involved in societal interaction taking part in discussions in the media and at public events as well as providing expertise for public officials and the government. 

Room 309
Tel. +358 40 517 0521

Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen: Research outputs, projects, activities, press media
Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen: Contact information


Senior Researcher

Educated as a sociologist of law, I work at the intersection of sociology of law and ethnography, studying migration, corruption, governance, and penal institutions in the context of Russia and Central Asia. At the Aleksanteri Institute, I work as a Senior Researcher within the ERC-funded “Gulag Echoes” project led by Professor Judith Pallot. In addition, I am a principal investigator of the University of Helsinki-funded three year project “Non-Western Migration Regimes”.

My current research focuses on (1) transnational Muslim prisoners in Russian penal institutions, (2) migration, shadow economy, and informal legal orders in non-Western migration contexts, and (3) law, society, and corruption in Central Asia. I am the author of Migration and Hybrid Political Regimes: Navigating the Legal Landscape in Russia (2020), published by the University of California Press.

Room 215
Rustamjon Urinboyev: Contact information


Postdoctoral Researcher

I am a musicologist and my expertise lies in Russian Studies and intellectual history, especially in Western history of art music and musicology, Soviet musicology, Russian/Soviet intellectual and cultural history, Stalinism and Soviet culture.

I defended my Doctoral thesis, The Problem of the Modern and Tradition: Early Soviet Musical Culture and the Musicological Theory of Boris Asafiev (1884–1949), at the University of Helsinki in January 2017. In it, I analysed the Soviet culture, music, philosophy and science of the 1920s. Since April 2017 I have been working as a post-doctoral researcher sponsored by the Cultura Foundation and the Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation. In February 2018, I was employed as a post-doctoral researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute.

My post-doctoral research project focuses on Soviet cultural theories, musicology and the intellectual culture of the Stalin era. It is connected to a larger, international and multidisciplinary project, Russian Cultural Modernisation during Stalinism in Russian/Soviet intellectual history department at the Aleksanteri Institute.

I have worked as a visiting scholar in Russia, the US and China. Currently I have the pleasure of being able to concentrate mainly on research. I am, however, also interested in teaching and especially in developing international interaction in university teaching. I am looking forward to future teaching duties on the Master’s programme in Russian Studies and in the musicology section of the Department of Philosophy, History and Art Studies.

Room 331
Tel. +358504119338

Elina Viljanen: Research outputs, activities, press media

Conference Assistant

I started Russian studies in 2013, with a special interest on Russian culture, politics and society. My current focus is on digital culture and media studies from a critical angle. The theme of my bachelor’s thesis, as well as my forthcoming master's thesis, is nostalgy towards the 1990s in Russia.

I have worked both as a museum guide and archivist at the Finnish Labour Museum "Werstas" and the Lenin museum. In spring 2021, I'm busy assisting the Aleksanteri-foorumi online conference, taking part in the planning and coordinating of the event, as well as assisting with the communications. 

Postdoctoral Researcher

My research focuses on how perceived electoral malpractice affects electoral turnout and other politically relevant outcomes, and how Russian voters consume and process political information translated by the media. This is studied through a series of survey experiments.

I defended my PhD dissertation, "When Elections Subvert Authoritarianism: Failed Co-optation and Russian Post-Electoral Protests of 2011-12", in the European University Institute, Florence in 2017. I've published  in journals such as Democratization, East European Politics, Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, and co-edited a volume, Electoral Integrity and Political Regimes: Actors, Strategies, and Consequences (Routledge, 2018).

Currently, I'm working on several projects:

I've taught classes on Comparative Political Economy, Quantitative Methods, Russian Politics, and Comparative Politics for undergraduate and graduate students at several Russian universities and look forward to also teaching a in Finland.

Room 229
Tel. +358 50 329 7066

Postdoctoral researcher

I defended my PhD in sociology at the University of Cambridge (2019), and hold a PhD in sociological theory and methods from the Higher School of Economics (2016). In 2019, I joined the University of Helsinki as a postdoctoral researcher on the project “Gulag Echoes in the Multicultural Prison”, funded by the European Research Council.

I am a political sociologist focusing on systems of social control. I examine how states establish and maintain the rules people are governed by in their everyday lives, and how people respond such rules from the bottom up. My doctoral work at the University of Cambridge investigated how journalists construct their civic, ethnic, and professional identities in a context of state crackdown on news media, focusing on the case of local Crimean journalists during Russia’s occupation and annexation of the peninsula. In 2018-2019, I held the Oxford Russia Fellowship at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, and carried out a research project examining the limits of journalistic autonomy during peacetime and in times of conflict, comparing the Republic of Tatarstan to contemporary Crimea. The results of my research have been published in The British Journal of Sociology, Current Sociology, The Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, The European Journal of Communication, and Nationalities Papers.

On the Gulag Echoes project, I work on social control in the context of penal systems. I employ qualitative methods across multiple field sites to examine how ethnic, civic, and political self-identification form among prisoners in the Russian penal system.

Room 320

Research coordinator  / Post-doctoral researcher

I work as Aleksanteri Institute’s Research coordinator in 2021. In this position, I participate in the administrative and operational duties, and also in the planning and development of research at the Aleksanteri Institute. Additionally, I am the coordinator of the nationwide Russian language training programme for Finnish students in Russia and the secretary of the organising committee for the annual, international Aleksanteri Conference.

As a researcher my areas of expertise are Russian culture and Russian cinema. Methodologically my background is in Russian formalist and structuralist theory, but I am also interested in quantitative analysis and computer-assisted methods. My PhD dissertation focused on film music narratology and was titled "What Is That Song? Aleksej Balabanov's Brother and Rock as Film Music in Russian Cinema" (2018). I am currently working on film production companies and the production environments in contemporary Russia and Finland, as well as the early technological development of film sound and related innovations in Russia’s Grand Duchy of Finland. I am also the managing editor of Idäntutkimus, the Finnish Review of Russian and East European Studies.

Room 234
Tel. +358 50 448 4074

Ira Österberg: Research outputs, activities, press media
Ira Österberg: Contact information