University of Glasgow, UK  

”Is there a new postsocialist welfare regime? Social security and insecurity in Central and Eastern Europe”
(September 2015, May 2016)

Biography:
Terry Cox is Professor of Central and East European Studies at the University of
Glasgow, UK and editor of the journal Europe-Asia Studies. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in the UK and a Past-President of the British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies. His research interests are in the political sociology of post-socialist transformations. He is currently working on comparative projects on social security and insecurity in East Central Europe, and on interest representation in Central and Eastern Europe. His recent publications include edited books Challenging Communism in Eastern Europe: 1956 and its Legacy (2008), Reinventing Poland: Economic and Political Transformation and Changing National Identity (2008 with Martin Myant), Reflections on 1989 in Eastern Europe (2012), and Civil Society and Social Capital in Post-Communist Eastern Europe (2014), as well as articles in Perspectives on European Politics and Societies and the Journal of Agrarian Change.

Short description of ongoing research:
As part of the economic and social transformation in the region since 1989 the provision of welfare and access to it by different social groups has undergone significant changes. While pensions and social security systems have been reformed and new forms of unemployment benefits and welfare assistance schemes have been introduced, the overall outcome has been a decrease in the extent of universal state welfare provision, an increasing reliance on welfare assistance benefits that are generally not provided at levels above the poverty threshold, and in provision by non-state institutions and groups in civil society, and informal support through communities, families and households. Consequently there have been growing inequalities in access to welfare.
Taking these changes into account, there has been a growing literature aimed at developing a new conceptualisation of the emerging welfare regime(s) in the region that goes beyond existing ideal types of welfare. A central concern in this literature has been to assess the relevance to CEE of the ideal types of welfare regime developed by Esping Andersen for the OECD old member countries and the adaptations and supplementary types introduced by scholars subsequently. A debate has emerged on the question of whether the existing ideal types apply to the current situation in the CEE countries or whether a new postsocialist welfare regime, or a range of different postsocialist welfare regimes have emerged. Key contributions to the debate have been made for example by Bohle & Greskovits, Cerami, Fenger, Ferge, Hay & Wincott, Inglot, Myant& Drahokoupil and Vanhuysee.
Within this framework the objectives of the project will be: 1) To describe the changing structure and characteristics of welfare provision and access to welfare in the region; 2) To identify the key criteria and processes which determine access to welfare and secure livelihoods for various social groups; 3) To explore the question of whether the emerging patterns of provision can be characterized in terms of the concept of a new post-socialist type of welfare regime.

During my fellowship, in consultation with my research partner, Prof. Julia Szalai of CEU Budapest, I will engage with a comprehensive review of the existing literature on the provision of social security and the sources of social insecurity in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) since 1989, and with a critical examination of existing theories and concepts of welfare regimes – and assess their ability to explain the emerging situation in Central and Eastern Europe. I will also design an empirical research project to further explore questions of social security and insecurity and the character of welfare regime(s) in CEE countries. This will involve examining existing comparative statistical data sets and literature on poverty and insecurity to identify patterns of provision of both state and non-state welfare; deciding which selection of countries to focus on  in order to best capture the range of characteristics across the CEE region; and designing new primary research on the social situation of those social groups that are dependent on local government or non-state sources of social assistance and welfare that are administered at local level and often by charities, NGOs and churches, or that are accessed through networks of community and familial support.

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Meri Kulmala and Jouko Nikula

University of St. Gallen (HSG), Switzerland

“Remedying Corruption in Russian Higher Education”
(mid-August – mid-September 2015)

Biography:
Dr. Elena Denisova-Schmidt, MBA, is a lecturer at the University of St. Gallen (HSG) in Switzerland. She has taught and conducted research at the Humboldt University in Berlin, the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies and at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Before moving into academia, Denisova-Schmidt worked for the VSMPO-AVISMA Corporation in Russia. Her current research interests cover corruption and informal practices in various settings in Russia and Ukraine.

Short description of ongoing research:
Dr. Denisova-Schmidt has been examining corruption in higher education in the BRIC countries using Russia as an example. Her analysis of this phenomenon shows the origins of academic corruption, its various forms, the widespread ambivalence to it as well as its potential to affect western universities. Her current study looks into a range of cheating
techniques that are widely used at Russian universities as well as the motives of the involved actors for applying, accepting and/or pretending to ignore these activities. Using quantitative (questionnaires) as well as qualitative (interviews and focus groups) research tools, the study
collects and reviews data in selected regions in Russia. The analysis represents the views of all the involved parties: university administration, faculty and students. Actions undertaken by these three groups are not illegal per se, but altogether, they weaken academic integrity and undermine public trust in an important social institution. During her stay at the Aleksanteri Institute, Denisova-Schmidt will work on her book on academic corruption in Russian higher education, focusing on the chapter on remedying corruption, which includes reforms and
concrete tools for this sector.

Dr. Denisova-Schmidt's visiting fellowship is supported by the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian studies - Choices of Russian Modernisation.

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Katalin Miklóssy and Anna-Liisa Heusala

Tulane University, USA  

“The Politics of Socialist Consumption”
(May 2016)

Biography:
Martin K. Dimitrov is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Asian Studies Program at Tulane University. He is also Chair of the Working Group on Authoritarian Resilience at the Holbrooke Forum for the Study of Diplomacy and Governance Statecraft in the 21st Century at the American Academy in Berlin; an Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University; and the Associate Editor for Asia of Problems of Post-Communism. His books include Piracy and the State: The Politics of Intellectual Property Rights in China (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Why Communism Did Not Collapse: Understanding Authoritarian Regime Resilience in Asia and Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2013). He is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Dictatorship and Information: Autocratic Regime Resilience in Communist Europe and China. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2004 and has held residential fellowships at the American Academy in Berlin; the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; the Aleksanteri Institute at the University of Helsinki; the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Notre Dame; the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford; the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard; and the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard. He is a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations and a member of the board of the Confucius Institute at Tulane University. He has conducted fieldwork in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Russia, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Cuba.

Short description of ongoing research:
Communist regimes exemplify the concept of a “shortage economy” (Kornai 1980). The standard interpretation is that these regimes do not aim to satisfy the consumption preferences of the population (Brzezinski and Friedrich 1965), ruling instead through repression of the masses (Arendt 1951; Brzezinski and Friedrich 1965; Bueno de Mesquita et al. 2003). This received wisdom has been challenged both by early scholarship that emphasized the decline in repression in post-Stalinist regimes (Dallin and Breslauer 1970) and by subsequent studies of the social contract (Pravda 1981; Millar 1985; Hauslohner 1987; Cook 1993), which argued that citizens would remain quiescent for as long as the regime provided them with stable access to jobs, housing, welfare benefits, and importantly, consumer goods. The collapse of communist regimes led to an archival revolution that allowed scholars to assess the validity of arguments that were made without access to primary regime-generated sources. Recent archival studies have confirmed the insights of the earlier literature concerning the importance that communist regimes attached to satisfying the consumption preferences of the population (Landsman 2005; Siegelbaum 2008; Betts 2010; Bren and Neuburger 2012; Koenker 2013). Research on “welfare dictatorships” (Jarausch 1999) has thus validated Václav Havel astute observation that late socialism involved “the coming together of a dictatorship and a consumer society” (Havel 1979, 71; Havel 1985, 31).
This project extends the findings of the recent archival literature on consumption (which has been developed exclusively by historians) by focusing on several interrelated questions that allow us to shed light on the political logic of socialist consumption. Namely, it addresses the following puzzles: when do communist regimes start paying attention to the consumer preferences of the population; how do they find out what these preferences are; how do they aim to satisfy these preferences; and how does their eventual inability to satisfy these preferences increase the likelihood of systemic collapse. The project contributes to two literatures: the literature on welfare in autocracies (Cook 1993; Haggard and Kaufman 2008; Inglot 2008) and to the rapidly expanding literature on durable authoritarianism (Magaloni 2006; Brownlee 2007; Levitsky and Way 2010; Bunce and Wolchik 2011; Svolik 2012). The project is comparative and relies on a large corpus of archival materials from Bulgaria, the Soviet Union, the German Democratic Republic, Cuba, and China that I personally collected in a number of archives, libraries, and document repositories in Europe and Asia.
During his fellowships at the Aleksanteri Institute, Dr. Dimitrov will work on finishing his book manuscript titled “The Politics of Socialist Consumption”.

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Mila Oiva and Markku Kivinen

Bowdoin College, USA  

“Women in Red: Communist Mass Women’s Organizations and International Feminism during the Cold War”
(May - mid-July 2016)

Biography:
Kristen Ghodsee has her Ph D from the University of California-Berkeley and is a Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at Bowdoin College. She is the author five books, including The Red Riviera: Gender, Tourism and Postsocialism on the Black Sea (Duke University Press, 2005); Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe: Gender, Ethnicity and the Transformation of Islam in Postsocialist Bulgaria (Princeton University Press, 2009); Lost In Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life After Socialism (Duke University Press, 2011); and The Left Side of History: World War II and the Unfulfilled Promise of Communism in Eastern Europe (Duke University Press 2015).
 Ghodsee is the recipient of fellowships from the National Science Foundation, Fulbright, NCEEER, IREX and ACLS and has been awarded internationally competitive residential research fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC; the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, New Jersey; the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Study (FRIAS) in Germany.  In 2012, she was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Anthropology and Cultural Studies.  She is currently the President-elect of the Society for Humanistic Anthropology.

Short description of ongoing research:
The book I will be writing at the Aleksanteri Institute argues that ideological competition between capitalism and communism catalyzed the unprecedented pace of change in women’s status during the 20th century.  Across the globe, women benefitted from a dramatic expansion of social, political, and economic opportunities.  The legal equality of the sexes has become a standard article in almost all democratic constitutions, and the majority of the world’s governments ensure access to education and formal employment outside of the home.  By 2012 only Saudi Arabia and the Vatican City forbade women a voice at the polls.  Certainly, barriers remain, but no one denies the radical transformation of women’s lives that characterized the period between 1900 and 2000.  Although demands for women’s emancipation appeared as early as the 18th century, The Women’s Cold War posits that the rapid global progress of the 20th Century required the intense East-West rivalry of superpowers trying to prove the preeminence of their economic and political world views.

Methodologically rooted at the intersection of anthropology, history, and gender studies, a decade’s worth of interdisciplinary research on three continents substantiates the claims made in The Women’s Cold War.   Based on extensive ethnographic interviewing and archival investigations in the United States, The Netherlands, Bulgaria, and Zambia, the book presents a wide variety of evidence to show that women’s rights became a political tool for both the United States and the Soviet Union.  Specifically, Eastern Bloc success at organizing women in the emerging postcolonial world – and the undeniable gains made by women in countries pursuing a socialist path to economic development – spurred the U.S. government to begin committing resources to programs for women in the global south.  U.S. efforts to convince Asian, African, and Latin American women that democracy and free markets promised true emancipation inspired Eastern Bloc countries to further expand and intensify their own work among women in the developing world.  This competition took the world stage during International Women’s Year (1975) and throughout the subsequent United Nations Decade for Women (1976-1985).  Superpower grandstanding about which system could provide true sexual equality, forced male political elites to take women’s rights seriously, committing new resources to women’s literacy, education, professional training, and opportunities for women’s employment.  Thus, Cold War tensions ultimately benefited all of the world’s women, whether they lived in the capitalist, communist, or developing worlds.

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Sari Autio-Sarasmo and Freek van der Vet

University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Czech Republic  

“Defining Russia through Ukraine”
(mid-August – mid-September 2015)

Biography:
Magda Leichtova is Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Her research focuses on the Russian political transformation, Russian foreign policy and International Relations theories. She was the Project Leader for the ESF grant on modernizing teaching methods and the Principal Investigator in several research projects. She has been Deputy Head of Department in 2011-2014. She published her book Misunderstanding Russia in 2014 with Ashgate Publishing.

Short description of ongoing research:
In my dissertation research and follow-up research project I analyzed how switches and twists in national identity formation impact praxis of Russian foreign policy. I tried to interpret the instabilities in Russian-Western relations as part of deeper internal discussions whether Russia is part of the West, part of the East or specific unit of the international relations and who are its allies and enemies. In current research – part of which is my visit to Aleks anteri Institute - I focus on Ukrainian crisis as a cornerstone of Russian identity search. I focus on how Russian elites interpret the Ukrainian claims, how they represent historical events, what is their reasoning for Russian rights and claims and what picture of outer world they construct. Ukrainian crisis created not only challenge but also opportunity for Russian leaders to intensify their “nation building” activities and also limit the foreign influences over this process.

Dr. Leichtova's visiting fellowship is supported by the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian studies - Choices of Russian Modernisation.

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Hanna Smith and Tuomas Forsberg

University of Edinburgh, UK  

“Nationalist values projection in the foreign policy of Great Powers: Russia, China and the United States”
(May 2016)

Biography:
Luke March is Senior Lecturer in Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics at Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh, UK. He is also Director of the Graduate School of Social & Political Science and Deputy Director of the Princess Dashkova Russia Centre, both at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of four books on Russia and European Politics, including The Communist Party in Post-Soviet Russia, Russia and Islam: State, Society and Radicalism, and Radical Left Parties in Europe, and over 30 articles for journals such as Party Politics, Slavic Review, Comparative European Politics and Europe-Asia Studies. His general research interests include:  the politics of the former Soviet Union, especially Russian and Moldovan politics, political parties in the FSU, democratisation and institution-building; the radical left in Europe; populism; communism and Russian nationalism.

Short description of ongoing research:
My research plan at Aleksanteri will be entitled ‘Nationalist values projection in the foreign policy of Great Powers: Russia, China and the United States’. It is part of a longer-term project beginning in 2016 on ‘Nationalism in the foreign policy of Great Powers’.  As the titles suggest, the aim is to position the role of nationalism within foreign policy formulation and conduct. It will critique those paradigms that assume that Russia is uniquely nationalist in its conduct, as a supposedly consistently aggressive, revisionist power, motivated by a strong sense of grievance and wish to project its power abroad, and will compare it with other ‘Great Powers’ to assess the unique and the general in Russian foreign policy. The immediate focus is to produce a research monograph that analyses the relationship between nationalism and foreign policy in depth, and which challenges and adapts existing heuristic frameworks. In addition to focusing on nationalism and foreign policy as the central line of analysis, the key innovation is its comparative angle. It is my contention that analysing Russian nationalism without awareness of the comparative context risks ‘Orientalising’ Russia, whereby its nationalistic proclivities are seen uncritically as deviations from the ‘normal’ path espoused by Western states.

The key puzzle driving this project is interrogating John Breuilly’s observation (1993) that there is no such thing as a ‘nationalist’ foreign policy – states defending their national interests in way that other states regard as nationalist or assertive are so commonplace as potentially to render the term ‘nationalist’ otiose and superfluous. At the same time, it is undeniable that (particularly since 2012), there is an increasingly assertive, nationalistic tone in Russian foreign policy discourse that demands observation and cannot be simply defined away (this trend being noticeable even before Russia’s intervention in Crimea/Ukraine). In addition, Monaghan (2008) argues that Russia has become a ‘value centre’, focusing on projecting its own national interests and values beyond its borders. So, to what degree can we trace values projection as an important part of foreign policy? To what degree is the nationalist ‘tone’ simply a rhetorical inflection, or something that reflects a fundamental shift in the values and doctrine informing foreign policy? Above all, perhaps, are the questions of what drives Russian foreign policy? What balance between ideas and interests? What balance between domestic and international factors? Where does nationalism fit into such an equation?

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Hanna Smith and Jussi Lassila

Belarus  

“Political Activism in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine: Application of the New Social Movement Approach to Euromaidan, Bolotnaya and Tent Camp”
(June 2016)

Biography:
Vasil Navumau completed his PhD at the Graduate School for Social Research at the Polish Academy of Sciences, having defended thesis entitled "Social Activism in Contemporary Belarus: A New Social Movement Approach to the Tent Camp Protest Action in Minsk, 2006."  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.

Short description of ongoing research:
My current research focuses on social activism in three countries – Belarus, Russia and Ukraine during 2000-2014 and studies the gradual transformation of collective actions with an advent of ICTs and Internet. The project considers cross-movement and cross-national changes in the degree of protest and its dependence on other important criteria (such as economic and political variables), as well as dynamics of opposition and “reconciliation” between major collective actors and the state. The most important dimension of the project is analysis of the micro-level of the most significant protest events occurred in countries mentioned above: in particular, I examine communication processes and discursive strategies used by the participants of Orange Revolution (2004), The Tent Camp in Belarus (2006), Euromaidan (2014) and Bolotnaya protest in Russia in Internet to mobilize supporters, conduct negotiations and oppose the adversaries as well as the negotiations between various groups of interests comprising the movements.

During my one-month stay at the Aleksanteri Institute, I plan to focus on analysis of Bolotnaya protest movement. This part of my work appears to be the first attempt of generalization of accumulated information on Russian activism (I have fully accomplished part devoted to Belarusian activism in 2000-2014 and made considerable progress in what concerns Ukrainian activism): I will also try to apply elaborated theoretical scheme and its interpretation based on my theoretical framework (Melucci’s NSM theory complemented with the Deleuzian conceptual instruments of molar/molecular).

I plan to analyze polls conducted by Levada Centre to describe the participants of the mass actions who came to the streets to protest against the electoral fraud. I am looking to learn about the demography, number of protests, their intensity both in capital and in regions and reveal the dynamics of the opposition between the collective actors and the state (intensity of violence used by police, number of arrested participants etc.). This will allow making the first outline of the Bolotnaya protest movement which later will be expanded using Melucci’s NSM theory (which interprets social movements as important messages in themselves) and a conceptual pair molecular/molar. In my future research work I plan to analyze main similarities and differences between Bolotnaya and other Russian protest: the demographic characteristics of participants, repertoire, causes of collective action and slogans.

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Jukka Pietiläinen and Mark Teramae

Aston University, Birmingham, UK

"Transitional Justice and Hybridity: Contested Discourses and Divergent Narratives in Public Consultations for the Former Yugoslav Truth Commission”
(mid-August – mid-September 2015)

Biography:
Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Aston University, Birmingham. Her work focuses on transitional justice, and investigates how societies confront violent pasts; socially, politically and institutionally. Her monograph, Ethnic Conflicts and War Crimes in the Balkans: the Narratives of Denial in Serbia (IB Tauris, London, 2013) explores the stories, silences and narratives of the violent past in Serbia. She is also interested in civil society and political participation more broadly.  Her work has been published in The International Journal of Transitional Justice, West European Politics, East European Politics and Societies and others.

Short description of ongoing research:
This research plan centres around a paper which will be written during the fellowship, based on empirical research already carried out. During the fellowship, the paper will be developed, and its theoretical framework refined. This is quite an experimental paper, so the aim of the fellowship would be to make the paper robust and obtain peer feedback, in order to prepare it for publication. The fellowship will also consist of a presentation of the work.
This paper explores the tensions within local or ‘domestic’ transitional justice communities, focusing on the normative and discursive divergences and convergences between practitioners and victims. Transitional justice is a discourse and a process aimed at rebuilding and reconciling societies after conflict. It is composed of initiatives such as war crimes courts, truth commissions and reparations; it is predominantly victim-centred.  Literature often points to the disconnect between global norms of transitional justice practice (or, the external-domestic contestations), but less is known about the intra-local contestations and tensions regarding this process. This research considers how intra-local tensions are externalised through (1) encounters between transitional justice practitioners and victim communities and (2) the storytelling process inherent in witness testimonies often used by practitioners for transitional justice goals.  The paper then explores the hybrid forms of witnessing and testimony produced by practitioner-victim encounters. The paper uses the former Yugoslavia as its case study, and explores these dynamics by examining the regional campaign for a truth commission (known as ‘REKOM’), which brings together practitioners, victims, civil society organisations, war veterans and former prisoners of war, at frequent, large-scale consultations. 

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Dragana Cvetanovic and Freek van der Vet

EUSP, Russia  

“The Individual after Stalin: Writers, Diaries, and the Reform of Soviet Modernity”
(February-March 2016)

Biography:
Anatoly Pinsky received his Ph D in History from Columbia University and is currently assistant professor (dotsent) of late Soviet and contemporary Russian history at the European University at Saint Petersburg (EUSPb). He is interested in questions of the self and subject, modernity, autobiography, and genre. He is the editor of a Russian-language volume on post-Stalin subjectivities, Posle Stalina: Pozdnesovetskaia sub”ektivnost’, 1953-1985 [After Stalin: Subjectivity in the Late Soviet Union, 1953-1985], to be published by the EUSPb press in 2016, and is writing a monograph on diaries, literary form, and ideas of individuality in the post-Stalin USSR. His work has appeared in Slavic Review, Kritika, and elsewhere.

Short description of ongoing research:
At the Aleksanteri Institute, I will be working on a portion of my book project, tentatively titled, The Individual after Stalin: Writers, Diaries, and the Reform of Soviet Modernity. My project examines a modern ideal of individuality advanced by Soviet writers under Joseph Stalin’s successor, Nikita Khrushchev. I argue that this ideal amounted to a crucial reconceptualization of Soviet ideology, one that gave the ordinary citizen more agency than ever before in Soviet history. Thus, if the modern subject sees oneself as the object of one’s own creation, post-Stalin writers approached this tenet in a more expansive sense than their early Soviet predecessors. The project also contends that Khrushchev-era writers presented the embrace of this ideal as the primary imperative of post-Stalin reform. My subjects considered individuality the catalyst of the socio-political reforms often at the center of post-Stalin histories. I therefore work to shift the focus in the historiography from institutional change to the self-transformation of writers who saw themselves as the vanguard of progress. At the heart of my study are the diaries and personal papers of more than forty writers, including leading figures such as Fedor Abramov and Aleksandr Tvardovskii. These sources reveal that their authors experienced the post-Stalin era in a quintessentially modern key: faith in progress existed alongside feelings of acute anxiety. I use these sources not only to critically apply theories of modernity to so-called de-Stalinization, but also to explore what the modern experience in the post-Stalin USSR can tell us about the larger modern world.

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Sanna Turoma and Mila Oiva

Stanford University, USA

“Post-Soviet Heritages in the Making: Archaeology, culture and statecraft in Russia’s resource colonies”
(24 October 2015-mid-January 2016)

Biography:
Gertjan Plets is a postdoctoral researcher at the department of anthropology of Stanford University (Stanford Archaeology Center). He holds a PhD in archaeology from Ghent University (Belgium). Gertjan’s interests lay in heritage ethics, cultural landscapes, memory politics, and resource development. His current postdoc at Stanford focuses on the heritage and identity politics of newly developing economies and the evolution of archaeological practice and ethics in those countries. Drawing on continuing anthropological fieldwork in Siberia (Altai Republic) and completed research in Xinjiang (northwest China) he specifically spotlights the use of the past in the cultural present in the (former) Soviet/socialist world. Issues as difficult heritage, world heritage activism, cultural diplomacy, indigenous rights, post-Soviet theory and representational practices are some of the cornerstones of his research.

Short description of ongoing research:
At the Aleksanteri Institute Dr. Plets will finish his monograph ‘Post-Soviet Heritages in the Making: Archaeology and statecraft in Russia’s resource colonies’, contracted by Routledge. The outcome of 7 years of concerted ethnographic fieldwork, the book investigates the evolution of heritage practice, management and research in the multicultural Altai Republic (South-central Siberia). Through investigating the social life of archaeological objects and interconnected embodiment practices, he will investigate issues of multiculturalism, governmentality, indigenous rights and citizenship in post-Soviet Russia. Besides spotlighting how deeply rooted socialist dispositions and subjectivities still structure the webs of significance different actors across social space spin, the book also looks into the extensive impact of resource development on the social fabric and cultural practices in so-called resource frontiers (peripheral regions geographically far from the center, but politically close because of their geopolitical relevance).

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Kaarina Aitamurto and Jussi Lassila

University of Manchester, UK  

“Near Abroad: An Ethnography of Labour, Law and Hope in Migrant Moscow”
(mid-February-mid-April and May 2016)
 

Biography:
Madeleine Reeves is a Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester and Associate Editor of Central Asian Survey. She received her BA and PhD from the University of Cambridge and an MA from the University of Chicago. Her research explores the way in which state space and state categories (of legal and illegal residence; of citizen and non-citizen; of ‘titular’ ethnic group and national minority) are produced and ruptured in everyday life. Her doctoral research explored the everyday work entailed in ‘bordering’ the state in two regions of the Ferghana valley where everyday life has come to be transformed by the materialisation of new international boundaries. This has been published as Border Work: Spatial Lives of the State in Rural Central Asia (Cornell University Press, 2014), which was awarded the 2015 Joseph Rothschild Prize of the ASN. Her post-doctoral research, published in Slavic Review, Central Asian Survey, Neprikosnovennyi zapas and American Ethnologist has explored moral reasoning around family absence in the context of protracted out-migration for work in rural Kyrgyzstan, the role of remittances in sustaining ritual economies, and the experience of Kyrgyzstani migrant workers in navigating the Russian migration bureaucracy. She is the editor of Movement, Power and Place in Central Asia: Contested Trajectories (Routledge, 2012) and the co-editor, with Johan Rasanayagam and Judith Beyer of Ethnographies of the State in Central Asia: Performing Politics.

Short description of ongoing research:
At the Aleksanteri Institute, Madeleine Reeves will begin work on a book project entitled Near Abroad: Labour, Law and Hope in Migrant Moscow that will synthesise and extend her earlier research on labour migration from Central Asia to Russia. This project will incorporate an analysis of earlier field materials, interview recordings and a household survey conducted in 2009-10, together with follow-up study of the changing legislative environment regulating legal entry, employment and residency in Russia for Central Asian migrant workers since 2010.  The project is situated within debates at the intersection of social anthropology and critical legal studies around the everyday navigation of statecraft and bureaucracy. It attends to the ethical and affective dimensions of  transnational family life  on the one hand, and the ways that individual documentary strategies and family aspirations are shaped by encounters within the legal “grey spaces” of the Russian migration bureaucracy on the other.  As well as contributing to a broader comparative literature on aspiration, risk, and temporal reasoning in contexts of irregular migration, the project highlights the way that inconsistencies within the Russian migration regime (for instance, between federal and city legislation; between an “open doors” no-visa regime and a highly restrictive quota system for legal labour) generate spaces of legal and institutional ambiguity that serve at once to irregularise migrant workers and to create opportunities for creative concealment and the brokering of documentary legibility.

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Kaarina Aitamurto and Freek van der Vet

Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany  

“The International Counter Narcotics Policy of Russia After 2014 and the Western Sanctions against Russia”
(September-October 2015)

Biography:
Akmal Sokhibov obtained a PhD degree at the Institute for Political Science, the University of Magdeburg in December 2014. His dissertation dealt with the d evelopment a id of Russia and the d rug p olicy in Afghanistan. It contained such sub-topics as the Afghan Statehood, Counter -Narcotics in Russia and Afghanistan, Development Aid of Soviet Union and Russia to Afghanistan, Economy of Violence and Drugs as well as Alternative Development in Afghanistan. The key research question of his thesis was: To what extent has the Afghan counter- narcotics policy been related to the development aid of Russia in Afghanistan? The main finding was that the limited development aid of Russia to Afghanistan was the result of a weak counter narcotics policy of the Afghan government. His recent article addresses the economic and political restraints for reducing the drug economy in Afghanistan. His main areas of interest are counter- narcotics and security policy in Russia, Central Asia and Afghanistan. 

Short description of ongoing research:
Akmal Sokhibov’s post-doctoral project is entitled The International Counter -Narcotics Policy of Russia After 2014 and the Western Sanctions against Russia. The project addresses the following central question: To what extent does the crisis in Ukraine, and the sanctions by the West, affect the counter- narcotics politics of Russia in Central Asia and Afghanistan after 2014? The research question is investigated based on academic texts, current reports, official statements and expert interviews conducted by Dr. Sokhibov. The literature reviewed contains topics like counter- narcotics, sanctions and international cooperation. The research results may demonstrate how Moscow’s counter- narcotics cooperation can be significant for international conflict management of the Ukraine crisis. The present-day opium production in Afghanistan confines the Kremlin to security-related measures in Central Asia and Afghanistan. To achieve some success in doing so, Russia relied on regional counter- narcotics cooperation with the USA, especially in Afghanistan. But the western sanctions towards Russia in 2014 impaired the international counter- narcotics cooperation of Russia both in Afghanistan and Latin America. This owes to the fact that the C hief of the Federal Drug Control Service found himself on the sanctions list of the USA. However, Russian counter- narcotics interventions are mostly militarized and conflict-laden supposing that powerful drug networks may challenge political stability and invoke ethnic conflicts in the drug trafficking states of Central Asia.

Dr. Sokhibov's visiting fellowship is supported by the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian studies - Choices of Russian Modernisation.

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Anna-Liisa Heusala and Markku Kangaspuro

University of Turin, Italy

“Individual Subjectivity and the Collective in Russian Thought (XIX-XX Centuries)”
(September 2015)

Biography:
Daniela Steila teaches History of Russian Philosophy at the University of Turin (Italy), and is coordinator of local research programmes on Russian philosophy and intellectual history. She studied in Turin, Saint Petersburg, and Paris, and received her PhD at the University of Florence in 1991. She has been V isiting F ellow at the Aleksanteri Institute in 2010. Dr. Steila has worked on Russian culture in XIX and XX centuries, early Russian Marxism, the reception of empiriocriticism in Russia, Russian philosophical historiography, L. S. Vygotsky's thought, philosophy in Soviet era. Among her books are Nauka i revoljucija. Recepcija empiriokriticizma v russkoj kul'ture (1877-1910) (Akademicheskij proekt, Moskva 2013), and Genesis and Development of Plekhanov's Theory of Knowledge (Kluwer, Dordrecht 1991). Some recent essays of hers can be found in the volumes Russkij marksizm I: Lenin – Plekhanov (ROSSPEN, Moskva 2013), and Problemy i diskussii v filosofii Rossii vtoroj poloviny XX v. Sovremennyj vzgljad (ROSSPEN, Moskva 2014).

Short description of ongoing research:
When considering the specific context of Russian culture (before, during and after the Soviet period) Russian intellectuals and western scholars working on Russian intellectual history often ) stress the importance of peculiar relations between Individual Subjectivity and the Collective –  the dimension of personal freedom and responsibility on the one hand, and the higher interests of the society, or the state, or the class on the other . This theme is widely considered as deeply rooted within the Russians’ past and their religious and socio-political traditions—as something very characteristic, running across the whole of Russian history up to the present . The research which I will carry out at the Aleksanteri Institute will focus on the concepts of “individual” and “collective” as they have developed within Russian culture since the 19th century, and on their interlacing. Particularly, I will explore three main fields that are often interwoven: religious-philosophical thought, socio-political thought, natural-scientific thought. In each field, particular attention will be paid to the debates concerning Western European thought, at a time when many relevant works were translated and widely discussed. During my fellowship at the Institute, I will be starting work on a monograph and collecting material for this publication.

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Vesa Oittinen and Ira Österberg

National Research University Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg), Russia

“Regional Variations of Withdrawal from Welfare Provision in Russia: why Interest Groups Matter?”
(August-September 2015)

Biography:
Anna Tarasenko is a researcher at the Centre for Modernization Studies at the European University at Saint Petersburg and an Assistant Professor at the Department of Applied Political Science, National Research University Higher School of Economics (Saint Petersburg). Her PhD was devoted to the analysis of the consultative bodies (public chambers) in Russian regions as tools for interest representation and neo-corporatist type of arrangement between interest groups and local government.

Short description of ongoing research:
Anna Tarasenko’s recent research embraces such a broad topic as the examination of the interrelation between the welfare transformation and the model of civil society development. She employs such theoretical perspectives as social origin theory (Salamon and Sokolowski), interest group theory and the concept of clientelism and patronage to explore factors that affect the nonprofit sector development under the revision of social policy model in contemporary Russia. Her book “Razvitie nekommercheskogo sektora v stranah Evropeiskogo Soyuza i Rosssii v kontekste transformatsii gosudarstva blagosostoyania” (The Development of Nonprofit Sector in European Union and Russia under the Transformation of the Welfare State) scrutinizes trends of the nonprofit sector development in Russia in general and in Saint Petersburg region in particular.
During her stay at the Aleksanteri Institute, she will be working on a draft of an article. Therefore the main activity embraces the analysis of collected empirical data, work in the library with academic literature and writing a paper.

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Vladimir Gel’man and Meri Kulmala