Abstracts of panels and roundtables

This page contains the abstracts for whole panels and roundtables. Please note that not all panels have a shared abstract. For abstracts of individual papers, see the alphabetical list of participants with surnames beginning with letters A — D, E — H, I — K,  L — NO — RS and T— Z  on respective pages.

Migration has become a permanent part of development in Finland, and it is expected to increase in the coming years. Migration policy therefore has an impact on society and how it develops. The Ministry of the Interior has set up a project to define long-term objectives for Finland’s comprehensive migration policy. 

A healthy social debate is a key pillar for public policymaking and that is why one of the main tasks of the project is to investigate how to influence the social debate on immigration and amplify a diversity of voices.

With this aim in mind, we make a call to the international community participating in this conference to build together a participatory framework for immigration policy. We will use a digital whiteboard to visualize the main elements that need to be present in this framework. We welcome researchers and policymakers involved or interested in immigration policies. One of the main outcomes of this workshop is to map experiences in relation to the process of making and evaluating immigration policies. 

During this workshop, we will explore the following questions: 

  1. How to build a consistent and coherent immigration policy? 
  2. How to design stakeholders’ participation in public policy (in relation to immigration)?
  3. How to influence the social debate on immigration?

This panel analyses the factors behind Finnish immigration to Soviet Union in the late 1920s and 1930s. After the October Revolution and the Finnish Civil War thousands of Finnish citizens emigrated to Soviet Union. The global recession hit hard in Finland and a new wave of Finnish citizens moved illegally to the Soviet Union hoping to find work on the construction sites, which were advertised by the Soviet propaganda.

By discussing the Soviet propaganda and Finnish newspapers in Soviet Karelia as well as exploring the use of Finnish workforce on the construction sites in the Soviet 1930s, this panel addresses the questions of nationalism and citizenship, which are important questions in the global context of migration. Moreover, it discusses what influenced illegal immigration of the Finnish citizens to Soviet Union and what were the options for those Finns who managed to return to Finland after spending time in the corrective labor camps such as Svirstroi.

The papers of the panel are based on thorough archival research and the use of contemporary writings. The research material is collected both from the Finnish and Russian archives and newspapers. They use both quantitative and qualitative methods in discussing the factors behind the Finnish immigration to Soviet Union. The key concepts are involved with ideology, nationalism, citizenship, and labor in the context of Stalinist society and its attitudes towards immigration.

The roundtable will focus on labour migrants from Central Asia in the context of religion, and changes of religious and spiritual tradition. What is the role that migration plays in shaping migrants’ religious patterns and practices? Does migration affect transformation of their religiosity or/and approaches to religion? How migrants use new opportunities such as mosque/work networks to expand their religious interests? In which way migration can become the catalyst for religious change? What are the new ways of interpreting religion in the context of migration? (Brown and Yeoh 2018). Another aspect which we wish to explore is how migrants’ channel/transfer the rituals and practices that involve ritual food, religious/spiritual performances, healing services. Finally, we will examinate religious transfer which takes place not only between Central Asia and the Russian Federation, but also includes other places such as the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the European Union. Seven researchers who study a variety of aspects of Islam and migration will participate in the round table.

Dmitriy Oparin (Higher School of Economics, Moscow) will discuss religious authority in the context of migration, Anna Cieślewska (Jagiellonian University) will talk about religious transfer in the context of spiritual healing and other religious rituals performed by migrants. Rano Turayeva (LMU München), will focus on state discourses about Russian or traditional Islam in Russia, and religious practices brought by migrants in Russia and the identity politics within the Islamic space in Russia. Rustam Urinboyev (Lund University) will consider ethnic and religious identities in Russian Penal Institutions on the example of Uzbek Transnational Prisoners. Juliette Cleuziou (Université Lumière – Lyon) will present various aspects related to death and funeral practices among migrants. Emil Nasritdinov (American University of Central Asia) focus is vulnerability of labor migrants to radicalisation, and extremism. Edvard Lemon (Texas A&M University) interests are concentered on influences of religious policies of the Central Asian countries on migrations and migrant religious leaders in Russia and beyond.

The discussion will serve to expand existing knowledge on Islam and migration processes in the Russian Federation, also in a context of various forms of spirituality that go beyond a mainstream of Islam. It will provide an opportunity to see “Islam of migrants” from a different perspective and discuss its various aspects and approaches.

The project “Virus Diaries: Chronicles of Everyday Life” was launched in European University at St. Petersburg in March 2020. Personal diaries of social researchers (around 30 participants from 10 countries) constitute the database of the project, an estimated period of keeping a diary for every participant is 2-3 months. The goal of the project is to grasp numerous changes in professional and private spheres – with focus on communication, emotions, organization of space and temporality, and coping with different risks and practical issues. We are going to present the results of primary analysis of transnational aspects of social scholars’ everyday life.

In the pandemic time of closing borders, restricted travelling and physical contacts, when people and national states are strictly isolated from each other, we find empirical evidence of numerous trans/national communications on everyday level. Participants in different countries describe not only similar challenges and coping strategies (as well as differences), but also intensive cross border interactions maintaining trans/national belonging. We distinguish following major leitmotifs, which we are going to discuss during the session.

First leitmotif in the stories is internet communication across borders. Due to self-isolation during pandemic the majority of people participate in unusually large number of different transnational online events, ranging from birthday parties to professional webinars and on-line cultural events. Most of the participants are systematically involved in interactions with colleagues, friends and relatives in other countries and cities. They report that these communications have been strengthening nowadays and become habitual. In course of distant learning our students could be located in other cities or countries, while we ourselves easily transgress from seminar in Paris to hackaton in USA.  So, being personally and collectively isolated, participants have feeling of belonging to different trans/national professional, friendly or cultural communities.

Second leitmotif is coping and caring practices of those participants, who permanently or temporarily live outside Russia. They face such problems as limited possibilities to provide and receive support at a distance, or inability to come back home, or legal, cultural and practical challenges (this is also concern of some separated families in Russia). However, many of them have regular on-line communication with their families in other countries/cities, routinely exchange information, care about each other and make special efforts to support parents, elderly or other relatives. So, being distanced, participants maintain belonging to their families and relatives.

Third leitmotif is internal mobility represented in the diaries. Many participants had to travel to join their relatives, some decided to self-isolate themselves at dachas (summer cottages), or receive relatives at home. Despite of the isolation they continue to move and not only symbolically but also physically maintain communication, belonging and solidarity.

These and other leitmotifs facilitating or limiting transnational belonging and solidarity will be in the focus of our exploration and discussion.

It is commonplace to view Russian local self-governance as a mere continuation of ‘the federal power vertical’. However, even under such stifling conditions - the lack of resources and excessive areas of operational responsibility - sometimes allow for some administrative autonomy. The latter manifests itself in better than average quality of public goods provision and more political contestation. In 2014, a new model of local heads’ selection was introduced on par with the city managers and direct elections - selection by the commission on a competitive basis. Does this curb the autonomy of the local governance? Does it affect the quality of governance and votes delivery to uphold an authoritarian regime? What are the resistance strategies of the municipalities or ‘weapons of the weak’? Do elected mayors still affect local decision-making being formally accountable to the voters, but de facto the upper levels of power? Most of the existing research focuses on case studies and there is still a deficit of larger cross-section and cross-temporal comparisons. The proposed panels will present the results of the empirical studies of all Russian municipalities drawing on the unique data and will provide a wider and more systematic picture of local politics and governance in the times of creeping autocratization in Russia.

Home is among the most value- and emotion-loaded concepts in the human mind and communication. It is linked to the development of our identities and relations with other people. It is in the center of our experience of personalizing space and turning it into a meaningful place; above all, it forms an indispensable part of our life-long strife for the “feeling of wholeness” (Marcus 1992). There is nothing special in the idea of making a home somewhere else than in the country of birth, yet, it is perceived as a crucial change in one’s life. Combined with characteristics of narratives about one’s ‘own’ and the ‘other’s’, migrants’ reflections about moving home tell about various stages in the process of adaptation and integration. They reveal the challenge of simultaneously adhering to the traditions of the old and the new country, which are sometimes different and even incompatible. In many respects, the attitudes to home differ today from those that evolved in traditional cultures, turning it into a rich conglomeration of meanings, elusive and difficult to define (Mallet 2004). This is particularly true with migrants, who lose culturally and socially fixed territory, which should satisfy human needs for status and recognition, a medium through which one’s image can be communicated to the outside world, thus lending a person the feeling of stability and safety (Gold 1980: 86). Circular migration, transnational lives and the growing mobility of people belonging to different layers of society cause tension between home as the embodiment of stability and fixture, and home as a manifestation of the fluidity of contemporary life (Dusacova 2005; Ralph, Staeheli 2011). Trying to make a home, to find a safe and comfortable place for living becomes especially challenging in the times of trouble (Aybek et al. 2015, Selwyn, Frost 2018).

The panel will show how migrants of various waves of the Russian-speaking, but not necessarily ethnically Russian migration in several countries cope with the goal of ‘domestication’. They demonstrate that people migrate in search of a better life, a secure future, and a new home. Even in situations when going back is impossible, ties with the old home are seldom broken completely. They may be as concrete as remittances sent to families left behind, or symbolic, devoid of material form and perpetuated in memories, stories, and mental images. Nostalgia used to be an indispensable part of migrants’ life and fertile ground for creating diasporic myths (Cohen 2008). In order to overcome difficulties of adaptation to the new environment, people try to reproduce the familiar in everyday practices, the arrangement of their dwellings, rituals, crafts, and art forms. These attempts reflect people’s desire to rebuild the ideal home which never existed (Boym 2001: xvi). Idealizing the past and reaffirming one’s connections to it comes up strong in the context of migration as resistance to minorization in the host society. It helps individuals to feel part of a group distinguishing themselves and their in-group members from others and in this way expressing distinctiveness.

Transnational migration studies have shown that migrants maintain a relationship with their ‘home’ country, even when they are well integrated in a country where they reside and also when they make up the second and later generations. Trajectories of mobility and transnational belonging of second-generation migrants in and from Eurasia are not yet well studied. This panel is focused on emerging infrastructures, actors and motivations young people develop to stay engaged in mobility or to ‘rediscover’ the homeland of their parents/ancestors in Eurasia. A variety of activities and strategies include homelands visits, social remittances, charity culture, transfer of know-how, volunteering without relocating to the country of origin permanently. Their transnational behaviour and motivations to keep ties to the homeland differ from the parents’ experiences in many aspects. The panel discusses the emerging field of second -generation migrants’ transnationalism from anthropological and sociological points of view (gender perspective, cultural activists, social projects, COVID effects on mobility).

The mobilities turn in the social sciences primarily considered the patterns, modalities and experiences of free movement in the globalized world but paid less attention to coerced mobiltities. In this panel we will be concerned with the coerced movement of ethnic minorities as a punitive measure across Soviet and post-Soviet space from the gulag to the present day. With reference to diverse ethnic groups, including the Roma, Karelian Finns, Uzbeks among others, the panelist will discuss the the continuities and changes in the patterns, motivations and consequences of the the punitive use of transportation to control these ethnic groups, and will compare the different experiences of the people on the receiving end.
 

Aim and background
The aim of the panel is to examine internationalization of higher education (HE) as viewed from within universities, by internal stakeholders implementing internationalization ‘on the ground’. We understand internationalization broadly as internationalisation of education, research and outreach (Woldegiyorgis et al 2018).

We address questions such as what the roles of different internal and external stakeholders in internationalization of HE are, what drives and motivates them to encourage internationalization or to participate in it. Does internationalization have a purely instrumental role for national governments for the purposes of power accumulation and economic development (Sidhu & Dall-alba 2012, Moscovitz and Zahavi 2019), purely academic role for educators or serving special interests of administrators and policy makers? How is internationalization perceived and implemented in universities?  What changes does internationalization undergo in the current context of neo-liberalization of HE?  

Russia offers an interesting case for studying practices and implications of internationalization of HE (Shenderova 2020). In Russia, HE has undergone controversial reforms since the collapse of the Soviet Union, simultaneously aiming at commercialisation and stratification at the institutional level (Smolentseva 2017) and at greater state control together with a massive amount of reporting obligations to demonstrate accountability.

Papers will look at the questions above in the national context of Russian HE and Russia’s cooperation with EU partners, mainly Finland (Deriglazova and Mäkinen 2021). The papers zoom into cases such as the Bologna process, Finnish-Russian HE cooperation, and cross border cooperation between regions of Northwest Russia and neighboring EU member states. They address both the national contexts and the international political environment, including the ongoing crisis in EU-Russia relations.

Methods
The papers use a variety of research materials and methods. In our case studies, we apply non-local ethnography and qualitative content analysis. Primary data includes author-conducted semi-structured interviews and online survey of internal stakeholders in several universities in Finland and Russia, official EU, state and institutional-level documents related to internationalisation including cross border cooperation, as well as other public sources such as websites of universities and media materials.

Findings and conclusion
The panel finds that there are various stakeholders that influence the outcome of internationalisation of HE in Russia, and that state policies alone cannot determine the outcomes. The motivations for internationalization vary as to these different stakeholders. Educators do not necessarily support the political rationale for internationalisation propagated by the state. Most of the cross-border cooperation projects that Russian universities participate in are vaguely related to academic cooperation but are rather response to pressure from above urging universities to participate in international projects of any kind. The dissonance in motivations and goals is also true of the partners in international collaborations; even if there is a shared goal of collaboration, the drivers for this collaboration may vary, and thus expectations for collaboration are not always met. The panel concludes that the institutional, national and international political environment together create a context which may have alarming consequences to outcomes of HE internationalization in Russia and does not necessarily strengthen good neighbourliness.
 

This panel explores the governance of migration in the three largest immigrant destinations in Eurasia: Russia, Kazakhstan and China. The aim is to shed new light on the historical and political specificity of this region. Approaching the political regulation of migration from different disciplinary perspectives, we examine the ideas and interests inscribed in the governance of migration and the factors that determine migration policy-making.

Elena Barabantseva (The University of Manchester) examines the stories of marriage and migration of “Russian wives” from the former Soviet republics in the People’s Republic of China. Focusing on marriage migration, she highlights the role of historical, racialized and gendered factors in population governance, migration regime and national security. By weaving the insights from across a diverse collection of sources including legal regulations, visual representations, and women’s life stories, she presents a rich account of the politics of border control, population governance, race, body, sexuality and gender in China’s dream of global rise. She argues that Chinese national borders are not only public expressions of national security, but are at the same time intimate processes which condition and shape family lives.

Julia Glathe (Freie Universitaet Berlin) deals with the complex interaction between expert knowledge and migration policy in the authoritarian environment of today’s Russia. She argues that Russia’s contradictory immigration policy is not simply the result of a corrupt and populist state, but results from competing political projects of ‘postsocialist development’ generated, inter alia, in Russian expert discourse. Based on an analysis of qualitative interviews with leading migration experts in Russia and a document analysis of expert publications, she reveals the conflicting and contradictory political rationalities that shape the political discourse on immigration.

Song Ha Joo (Zhejiang University) examines the role of regime dynamics in shaping migration policy in the authoritarian states of Russia and Kazakhstan. Russia has actively adopted anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, whereas Kazakhstan has depoliticized migration issues and turned a blind eye to undocumented immigrants. Based on expert interviews and an analysis of legislation, media reports, and official documents, her research shows how variations in the degree of electoral competition facilitate such differences between the two countries.

The common finding of the individual contributions is that migration governance in Eurasia is closely interwoven with political attempts to maintain power and dominance, which cannot be understood without the historical and political context.
 

The aim of this panel is to investigate the movements of people across multiple social orders (Gershon, 2019). It will look into trajectories of mobility for work situating life stories, aspirations, and place making across multiple social orders among migrant workers in Russia. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, the papers explore lived experiences of internal (Dagestan) and international (Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) migrant workers in big Russian cities looking at the embodied processes of becoming a migrant, struggles to maintain multiple social ties across borders and attempts to carve out a space for ‘good life’ despite normalized experiences of overexploitation, xenophobia, and police brutality. Migration for work and the experience of becoming “foreign” and “the other” mobilizes numerous resources, from the claims to place based on calls to universality and ethics, making transnational and translocal living, to relying on value systems of social orders even after their ruptures and disappearances.  The panel poses a general question as to how a meaningful life is produced and maintained in precarious situations, what values and norms of prior social orders and universal values are mobilized to make meaning and sense of vulnerability, surroundings and oneself. What kind of transnational life is lived and how historical past and local contexts shape "being" in migration. Doing so, the panel critically interrogates the vast interdisciplinary pool of academic literature on migration in Russia, which is still largely shaped by political agendas and based on ‘push-pull’ explanations. To move away from big narratives feeding onto macro theories of migration, the papers rely on a number of theoretical perspectives, such as conceptions of transnationalism, translocality, transnational familyhood, which allow to make a fair use of data originated from the deep and longitude engagement with the respective fields. Emphasising the importance of scholarly engagement with ‘bottom-up’ accounts on movement and stasis, the panel calls for a more nuanced approach to contemporary migration in Russia, the one which would take into account lived experiences of mobile actors grounded in the historical dimension of mobile trajectories and local systems of value.

In this roundtable we seek to discuss one of the biggest challenges of our time, climate change and energy transition, through fresh and diverse approaches, focusing both on Finland and Russia. We focus on the visibility of fossil and renewable energy, and waste as they traverse through society in Russia and Finland. By unfolding how these resource flows are made (in)visible in these contexts we open avenues to understand how they are part of the political.

We head to understand these energy and waste assemblages via three realms: the energy sector, civic activism, and the media. Our panelists come from different academic backgrounds and hence, bring different notions to the discussions. The Roundtable is organized around the questions of visibility/invisibility of waste and energy, the role of civil society in the energy transition, and the influence of mediatized and anticipatory knowledge of energy within the transition process. We hypothesize that in the energy rich, but fossil-energy dependent and authoritarian context of Russia flows of oil, gas and coal are made visible and part of the hegemonic discourse of the energy-dependent regime, yet the flows of renewable energies and waste are made invisible. Finland, which is an energy poor, energy-import dependent and democratic context, the flows of mainly Russian fossil energies are being made invisible, and the flows of waste and renewable energies visible due to ambitious resource-efficiency and climate policy objectives.

Visibility and visualization of resource flows, or the lack of it, tells us about how these commodities are being (de)politicized, and how they are being imagined and discursively framed as part of climate mitigation policies and broader environmental and societal agendas. This knowledge makes it possible to promote environmentally sustainable  practices in the societally very different contexts of Russia and Finland. More, we pursue to learn from both contexts – look for the best narratives and practices – to come up with advice on how to speed up the transition to a carbon neutral world beyond Russia and Finland.

This Roundtable is organized by the FLOWISION (UH & EUSP) project, however including scholars also from other institutions, focusing widely on the topic of energy transitions.

Karelia, de facto a part of Soviet Russia, was a contested area during the entire four years of the Russian Civil War (1918-1922). Bolshevik Red Army, Allied forces, Finnish volunteer troops, and the anti-Bolshevik Whites all fought over control of this territory, while the local Karelian population alternately sided with one or another camp or attempted to claim independence. Historians have examined in some detail the military actions of the various forces operating in the region, as well as the international diplomatic negotiations over the future of Karelia. However, less traditional topics have until now mostly remained outside the focus of enquiry.

Our panel showcases several innovative approaches that help us advance our understanding of the Russian Civil War in Karelia. The three presenters in turn examine the unlikely alliances that emerged in the course of the conflict, the relationship that various warring sides had to the region’s natural world, and the continuing war of words waged by historians over the definitions and explanations of this conflict. Bringing these various approaches to the history of Civil War in Russian Karelia together into a single panel demonstrates the potential for further investigation of this complex and multifaceted conflict.

In his paper, Aleksi Huhta explores the role of Finnish Red Guards as native auxiliaries in the Allied intervention in Northern Russia. He focuses on the encounters between the British army and Finnish refugees in North Russia, analyzing the complex reasons why Finnish refugees decided to serve the British Empire and how the differing interests of the empire and the refugee auxiliaries were negotiated. The paper also explores the post-intervention migration of some Murmansk Legion's leaders to Canada, setting it into a broader context of post-war refugee mobility.

Tamara Polyakova seeks to reinstate nature to its rightful place within the narrative of the Civil War in Karelia. Using the tools developed within the discipline of environmental history, she brings to light the role that massive forests, the system of rivers and lakes, the frost in winter and mosquitoes in the summer, and livestock and its forage all played in shaping the course of the Russian Civil War in Karelia. The paper argues that the Soviet idea of nature as an enemy to be conquered has its roots in the battles of the Civil War.

Finally, Alexander Osipov examines the history and historiography of the Karelian Rebellion of 1921-22, in which Karelian peasants in the northern part of the Karelian Labor Commune, dissatisfied with Soviet local economic policies and supported by Finnish officers and volunteers, revolted against Soviet power. The paper analyzes various historiographical approaches to this event, comparing the positions expressed by Soviet, Russian, and Finnish scholars, as well as the conflicting naming of this conflict, variously titled “civil war,” “kindred war,” and even “The First Soviet-Finnish war.”

The theme of migrants’ lifestyle and the interrelation of materiality with spiritual inner life seldom comes up in immigration studies (Davies, and Fitchett 2006). And yet, we should take into account the paradox noted by Miller, “the best way to understand, convey and appreciate our humanity is through attention to our fundamental materiality” (2010: 4). Physical surroundings are essential for self-perception and thus, for the identity of people on the move. Whether they live in a temporary shelter or in a stable privately owned house, most people prefer to keep some elements of their previous life that accompany them through the upheavals of migration. The personalization of space is largely created by movable objects (Marcus 1992). Artifacts surrounding us can be invisible in a familiar environment, but when it changes, do we pay more attention to them? Do they preserve the same meaning or acquire a new one? How can we explain that some of the most mundane household objects, such as children’s toys or cooking utensils, dishes, or towels brought from the old home are imbued with new importance in migrants’ eyes? Anthropologists have often observed that objects don’t have fixed meanings, but can act as prisms, deecting and refracting the meanings they may initially have had, or that people initially intended them to have (Budach et al. 2015: 391). The panel will investigate how the material culture of migration becomes a communicative medium involved in social practice, how it is used for storing, preserving, or transforming social information (Tilley 1994: 70). Immersed in the host society, even those immigrants who oppose assimilation, gradually pick up everyday practices and some everyday habits of their new environment. People can exert some influence over their life course by choosing and constructing an environment (Bandura 1989). By influencing their substantial world they also achieve changes in themselves. Researchers from different countries with a diverse professional background will show the results of their studies of the spectrum of the new self-reflections. Research into lifestyles of Russian-speaking migrants abroad, their identities and multicultural practices is multifold: it explores everyday routines, consumption preferences, principles guiding household practices and tastes in the interior design. These investigations lead to the discussion of the interdependence of the material and the spiritual. The personality of the migrating consumer and homemaker is reflected in the varying attitudes towards keeping old and buying new objects, in self-expression through photos, pictures on the walls, albums, bibelots, and books on the shelves. It emerges in the discussion about styles, in the revival of family memories, and in the discursive construction of the uniqueness of the home. The participants of the panel provide a multifaceted and empirically based analysis of the material culture of post-Soviet migrants.

The scholarship on migration in the Eurasian region has moved well beyond dry facts and figures. ‘Human stories’ (Trilling 2019) of Central Asian migrants in Russia have a great currency among researchers. These are special kind of stories – they give the greatest prominence to individual migrant experiences, both physically and emotionally.

We use this panel to discuss the value of the everyday life and human stories for migration scholarship more broadly. What do these particular kinds of human stories bring to the migration scholarship? What is their analytical usefulness beyond mere illustration? I open this panel suggesting that the role of migrant-centred stories is ambiguous at best. On the one hand, these stories connect most strongly with audiences: perhaps in a way that encourages greater understanding of the issue at hand, empathy, or a particular course of action in response. On the other hand, however, they often fit into predetermined ideas about the ‘problem’ of migration: who needs protection, who is innocent and who is deserving of blame.

Blasphemy, profanity, and desecration - as discursive categories and social practices - attract relatively little attention from social anthropologists, especially in comparison with historians. Jeanne Favret-Saada, who points on this fact in her recent article, suggests that the topic of desecration of the sacred simply does not seem safe to ethnologists. She remarks that “historians do not run the risk to see their position challenged by the “natives” when those are living in seventeenth-century Zurich or eighteenth-century France” (Favret-Saada 2016: 30). In our opinion, however, there can be several other possible reasons, in particular epistemological presuppositions of modern anthropology that date back to Protestantism, secularism and theories of progress. Blasphemy is intuitively understood by researchers as a kind of religious/social/ideological “survival” that deserve, first of all, historical attention. In fact, however, the situation seems to be rather different, as evidenced by the public importance of the category of blasphemy in present day societies - one can remember the Pussy Riot case or the Charlie Hebdo shooting.

At the same time, a number of anthropological works devoted to the analysis of blasphemy and desecration from various theoretical positions have appeared in recent decades. Thus, in the volume “Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech”, Talal Asad and Saba Mahmood problematize the idea of blasphemy in modern European culture (Asad et al. 2009). Mahmood, in particular, remarks that religious concepts of blasphemy and desecration must be interpreted in the context of different semiotic ideologies and that the very perception of an action in relation to different material forms of sacredness depends on how these latter are related to religious agents and charisma, what is the “medial distance”, say, between a deity and his/her image. Anya Bernstein, in her article ““Caution, Religion!” Iconoclasm, Secularism, and Ways of Seeing in Post-Soviet Art Wars” (2014), argues that the conflict between different groups of Orthodox and secular activists associated with works of art perceived as blasphemous is based on the interaction of different “scopic regimes,” that is, again, semiotic and media ideologies that attribute different meanings to sacred images. The authors of the two-volume “Negotiating the Sacred: Blasphemy and Sacrilege in a Multicultural Society” (2006; 2008) problematize the very opposition between sacred and profane, arguing that the boundaries between these two domains in different cultures can be movable and permeatable.

The discussion of blasphemy as a cultural category should involve then issues of political and semiotic ideologies, religious and secular concepts of sacred and profane, intercultural and interconfessional contacts and conflicts. The roundtable is aimed at discussion of anthropological approaches and methodologies related to the study of blasphemy in present day Eurasia. We intend to pay specific attention to how public ideas and practices related to blasphemy are shaped by political and cultural conflicts that follow migration and growing diversity of religious landscapes.

The aim of the panel is to discuss and identify the hybrid policy instruments Russia uses to advance its foreign policy interests in Northern Europe. The roundtable gathers some of the leading national experts in Russian hybrid influencing from Finland, Sweden, and Norway with the aim of teasing out the similarities and differences in Russian hybrid strategies in different Nordic states.

The concept of hybrid influencing has become a subject vivid scholarly interest since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis in 2014. A multitude of research articles and monographs have been written on the subject, but most of them have covered either the concept of hybrid influencing or hybrid war, or they have studied Russia’s policy of hybrid influencing with regard to specific countries, including Nordic countries. The roundtable will discuss if it is useful to take a wider perspective and analyse the region of Northern Europe as a whole from this perspective.

The participants represent different scholarly traditions and research interests, and work in a variety of universities and research institutes. The different backgrounds of participants allow us to analyse the theme, which is by definition nested in ambiguity, from a multitude of perspectives. At the same, by concentrating on Russia’s applied foreign policy instruments with regard to different Nordic countries, we can analyse the topic also from a practical vantage point.

Our findings will bring clarity to Russia’s practical approach to advancing its foreign and security policy interests in Northern Europe, as well as to the results Russia has achieved with its hybrid influencing in Nordic countries.

Given the combination of the ambiguous nature of our topic and the variety of research backgrounds of our panelists, we also expect to discover new potential topics for future research and clarify the picture of Russia’s foreign policy in Northern Europe.

The panel offers a comprehensive view of the highly qualified migration in Russia, discussing four different dimensions of this process: Brain Drain, the return elite migration, the highly qualified immigration to the RF, and the internal movement of the academic personnel within the country. Panelists look at four major categories of elite migrants: academic personnel, highly qualified workers, students, and “investment” migrants. Considered are the push and pull factors of migration as well as the scale, dynamics, and structural characteristics of the elite migration flows in modern Russia. Of special interest to the participants are the financial aspects of these trends in migration, including the scale of migrant remittances, and the recent changes and the effectiveness of the Russian governmental policy towards the elite migrants.

The results of linguistic and cultural assimilation in the 1.5 and 2nd generation of immigrants overcome the barely linguistic scope: they outreach the life of the community, the global spectrum of cognitive potential, and the plenitude of cultural amalgamations. The home contexts are completed by the in-group encounters, as well as by the influence of the environment and compulsory and private educational systems’ efforts. The formal and informal use of the language stimulates listening to different bearers of language and culture, as well as combination and application of the own representation of the important things, self-construction and reconstruction, self-evaluation and moral judgements. The research shows that the acquisition of this maybe abridged variety of linguistic and cultural capital follows the same stages as the learning of a language in a monolingual environment. The age of the children and the exposure to the language determinate the volume of acquired language (Brecht, Ingold 1998, Polinsky 2018, Remennick 2014). The panel aims to compare contexts of the heritage language acquisition, which might reveal the true role of nature vs. nurture: what helps elaborate a fully-fledged competence and what can determine a Russian-speaking identity. The fact that a language was learned first should signify that its quality is that of a native speaker and that the so-called picture of the world is primarily taught within the family. Nevertheless, this criterion is evidently not enough. The secondary socialization, which happens in the society, challenges the heritage, and introduces other values that the youth adopts as their own. Teaching of the heritage languages at the later stages of the personality development makes the socialization slightly different, because it normalizes the knowledge already acquired at home and introduces compromises between differing communities. The communities of the speakers of Russian outside Russia include all types of speakers. In the countries with large Russian speaking communities, there are media and educational institutions in Russian, because as the research shows the speakers of Russian value the education in Russian and maintain the Russian culture on material (food, shops, books, etc.) and spiritual levels. During the panel, researchers from Germany, Italy, Israel, the USA and Finland will compare education in the Russian language of/ the Russian-speaking youth in respective countries. They will present results of surveys, interviews and experiments that helped to imagine multiple identities and third cultures of the 1.5 and second generation multilingual immigrants. Factors affecting the knowledge of language and culture include the socio-economic status of all family members in various generations (their education, knowledge of languages, occupations, the quantity of the family members and generations living together), length of exposure to any language, age in which the exposure started, quantity and quality of exposure, identities (e.g., cultural, ethnic, religious views) and attitudes towards multiculturalism and language use.

The purpose of this discussion is to show the heuristic potential of the Russian intelligentsia’s work in immigration, to reveal the significance of immigrants’ activity for international cultural exchange and intercultural communication (Lotman Y.).
Since the 19th century, working in a foreign environment has become a source of new opportunities for Russian intelligentsia. The influence of geographical conditions on creativity was articulated by Hippolyte Adolphe Taine (1828-1893).
Better climate, formal education, and an escape from censorship and repression were the particular reasons for immigrants to leave their homes (Schlögel K., 1994). Immigration opened the way to implement ideas that were impossible in Motherland.
As a result, since the beginning of the 20th century, the works of Russian immigrants have become the antithesis of Russian culture and art in the Metropole. Thus, in the 1920s, during the persecution of icon painters in the USSR, Russians in exile opened icon-painting workshops. During the triumph of socialist realism in the USSR, the famous abstract artists born in Russia performed in America and Europe. The ideas of postmodernism entered the Soviet Union, becoming the basis for the development of nonconformism in the 60s-80s (for example, the ‘A-YA’ Magazine issued in Russian in Paris and circulated in Moscow), thanks to the contacts of artists of “two Russias”. Afterward, Soviet non-conformists joined the emigration of the 3rd and 4th waves.
Besides, the creative activity in the new cultural environment dictated plots and forms interconnected with nostalgia and actualized the problems of ethnicity. The homesickness provoked an urge for patriotic education and nationalism.
In the first part of the discussion, Yuki Hayashi, a young Japanese researcher completing her dissertation, will speak about the Symbolist poet of the Silver Age D. Merezhkovsky in immigration. He begins to be actively interested in politics and comes forward with socio-political criticism. Moving away from the “art for art” aesthetics that he previously shared, he begins to use art as a tool for analyzing the society of his time. He analyzes nationalism in his art instead of writing about patriotism directly.
The contribution of immigrants to the development of local and global culture is particularly apparent in some regions of Russia. The ethnocultural nature of Yakutia often creates unexpected images of Russian culture abroad. The report by Dr. Oleg Sidorov (co-authored with L. Sidorova) will focus on the first-wave emigrants, for whom emigration turned out to be a social elevator that allowed them to form professionally, and also an opportunity to realize their devotion to their native land. А bibliophile, M.Z. Vinokurov (1895-?) studied the Orthodox Russia abroad. This became the core of his research and archives creation. Second case: Asclipiodot Ryazansky (1898-1968) emigrated to China, and then Australia. He devoted more than 300 articles to Russian-Chinese relations in the world's leading media.
Before the discussion, Dr. Feigelson, a well-known political scientist and sociologist of Eastern European culture, will make a presentation about Svetlana Boym, a researcher of everyday life, writer, and artist. In the 1980s, Svetlana Boym left the USSR. In the United States, she became a professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature at Harvard, where she produced literary and visual works before her death in 2015. Her style combined the essay form, philosophical reflection, and her own diaspora experience as an exile struggling for freedom; she wrote six books on these topics. As co-translator of Boym's book, The Future of Nostalgia, currently published in various countries, he will revisit her work and her reflections on Russian writers, dealing with exile and their forsaken homeland. Nostalgia appears as a new form of aesthetics, an ""off-modern"" condition, as Boym wrote.

Historically the regions of German-Slavic-language contact and multilingualism in Central and Eastern Europe are multifold. Yet, the migration flows of work migration and political emigration in the 20th and 21st centuries have resulted in transnational literatures and multilingual practices, that significantly differ from the previous notion of bi- and multilinguality. The panel focuses on the specifics of today’s post-monolingual condition (Yildiz) in contemporary German literature by Slavic writers. What are effects of the ‘Slavic turn’ in German literature and how does this Slavic-German literature impact its sending and receiving societies?

The scholarship on migration in the Eurasian region has moved well beyond dry facts and figures. ‘Human stories’ (Trilling 2019) of Central Asian migrants in Russia have a great currency among researchers. These are special kind of stories – they give the greatest prominence to individual migrant experiences, both physically and emotionally.

We use this panel to discuss the value of the everyday life and human stories for migration scholarship more broadly. What do these particular kinds of human stories bring to the migration scholarship? What is their analytical usefulness beyond mere illustration? I open this panel suggesting that the role of migrant-centred stories is ambiguous at best. On the one hand, these stories connect most strongly with audiences: perhaps in a way that encourages greater understanding of the issue at hand, empathy, or a particular course of action in response. On the other hand, however, they often fit into predetermined ideas about the ‘problem’ of migration: who needs protection, who is innocent and who is deserving of blame.

The project “Virus Diaries: Chronicles of Everyday Life” was launched in European University at St. Petersburg in March 2020. Personal diaries of social researchers (around 30 participants from 10 countries) constitute the database of the project, an estimated period of keeping a diary for every participant is 2-3 months. The goal of the project is to grasp numerous changes in professional and private spheres – with focus on communication, emotions, organization of space and temporality, and coping with different risks and practical issues. We are going to present the results of primary analysis of transnational aspects of social scholars’ everyday life.

In the pandemic time of closing borders, restricted travelling and physical contacts, when people and national states are strictly isolated from each other, we find empirical evidence of numerous trans/national communications on everyday level. Participants in different countries describe not only similar challenges and coping strategies (as well as differences), but also intensive cross border interactions maintaining trans/national belonging. We distinguish following major leitmotifs, which we are going to discuss during the session.

First leitmotif in the stories is internet communication across borders. Due to self-isolation during pandemic the majority of people participate in unusually large number of different transnational online events, ranging from birthday parties to professional webinars and on-line cultural events. Most of the participants are systematically involved in interactions with colleagues, friends and relatives in other countries and cities. They report that these communications have been strengthening nowadays and become habitual. In course of distant learning our students could be located in other cities or countries, while we ourselves easily transgress from seminar in Paris to hackaton in USA. So, being personally and collectively isolated, participants have feeling of belonging to different trans/national professional, friendly or cultural communities.

Second leitmotif is coping and caring practices of those participants, who permanently or temporarily live outside Russia. They face such problems as limited possibilities to provide and receive support at a distance, or inability to come back home, or legal, cultural and practical challenges (this is also concern of some separated families in Russia). However, many of them have regular on-line communication with their families in other countries/cities, routinely exchange information, care about each other and make special efforts to support parents, elderly or other relatives. So, being distanced, participants maintain belonging to their families and relatives.

Third leitmotif is internal mobility represented in the diaries. Many participants had to travel to join their relatives, some decided to self-isolate themselves at dachas (summer cottages), or receive relatives at home. Despite of the isolation they continue to move and not only symbolically but also physically maintain communication, belonging and solidarity.

These and other leitmotifs facilitating or limiting transnational belonging and solidarity will be in the focus of our exploration and discussion.

The main purpose of the discussion is to examine the history of immigration of Russian artistic intelligentsia through the prism of the dissemination of ideas, ethnocultural representations, and stereotypes in the environment of global culture. This discussion is also focused on describing the immigrants’ output to the image of Russian culture abroad and how these ideas return to the metropole and influence its life.
It is well-known that Russian immigrants are still involved in the creation of news content about Russia and art products dedicated to Russian culture. In immigration, artists often idealized the Motherland or, on the contrary, criticized and ridiculed it mercilessly. How did the autostereotypes of Russian immigrants turn into heterostereotypes of the peoples of the world? In what ways did these images spread in different countries in the past and now?
The four waves of emigration and their socio-demographic structures created four different images of Russians. After all, their socio-demographic composition was strikingly varied from each other, they pursued different goals and reasons to get abroad. However, professional stability distinguishes artists from other groups of labor migration. As a rule, professional self-realization is the main goal of artists’ emigration. At the same time, it was not the original priority of the second emigration wave (1940-1950s) when artists made economic and social sacrifices to preserve the possibility of their professional activity, incorporating in their image and embodying in their artistic work semantic and figurative texts about Russian culture.

In their presentations, the panelists will show various ways and models of reproducing professional practices of Russian immigrants in the conditions of the recipient culture. They will also assess the contribution of this activity to the development of intercultural communications and cultural consumption of the recipient countries.

In her paper, Dr. Kateryna Lobodenko will present the role and the challenges of the satirical press emigrated with the example of Satyricon (published in the 1920s, Prague, Riga and Harbin; 1931, Paris; between 1949 and 1951, Germany) and New Satirykon (984-1986, San-Francisco). A comparison will be made around the themes of these periodicals, and, in particular, the caricatures published there.

Dr. Mina Yang will present the results of her study that investigates the popularization of the Russian dance culture in Korea during the 1920s-30s with the Korean-Russian Arts Troupe performances and the Korean-Russian activities of Yesulhakwon (the Academy of Arts). Especially, Dong-han Kim (Mikhail Kim), who studied arts in St. Petersburg in the early of 20th Century and played a big role in the fever of the Russian ballroom dance culture among Seoul’s new modern generations.

Dr. Marina Maguidovitch will talk about the Arnstam dynasty artists who emigrated to Berlin (1921) and Paris (1939). She will determine how the image of a Russian artist influences the professional trajectories and strategies of both the immigrants themselves and their descendants. Being in the recipient country, Russian artists often discovered new opportunities for professional realization, showing the highest level of adaptation to the latest art practices and then instilling in their children.

The panelists are united by a common research object - Russian artistic emigration. Katerina Lobatenko examined the images of Russia in cartoons and films by Russian emigrants of the first wave in France. The sociologist Marina Magidovich has been studying the professional identity of Russian emigrant artists for more than 20 years. The main research interests of the culturologist Dr. Mina Yang include the cultural activities of Korean-Russians during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and the role of the Korean diaspora in Korean-Russian cultural interaction.

The purpose of this interdisciplinary roundtable is to bring together a group of scholars from different disciplines (political science, sociology, anthropology) and to identify key issues, trends and limits for the study of social remittances in Eastern Europe and Eurasia.

Cross-border social remittances go beyond financial transactions and entail the circulation of ideas, norms and values affecting social, cultural and political attitudes and practices of migrants and non-migrants in both origin and destination countries. Different forms of social remittances, dynamics of transfer, actors and their effects on the societies in Eastern Europe and Eurasia have rarely been discussed from the interdisciplinary perspective. The goal of the roundtable is to launch an interdisciplinary discussion by linking up different conceptual and empirical perspectives on social remittances and generate new research questions within a regional context. How can different research perspectives and methodological approaches be effectively integrated into an interdisciplinary research agenda on migration-driven forms of diffusion, connectivity and (ex)change in Eurasia? The roundtable will also address the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic on social remittances and cultures of transfer in the context of limited mobility.

The gradual dissolution of the Soviet Union led to significant economic, political, cultural, and social transformations in post-Soviet Central Asia since the 1990s. In turn, new regional geopolitical alignments and transnational flows in Central Asia led to the formation of novel migration routes and forms of mobilities. In the midst of this widespread domestic and regional economic chaos, privatization, erosion of social welfare programs, and loss of state-guaranteed employment, many Central Asian populations started to pursue mobile lifestyles and engage in the newly available opportunities of capital accumulation such as the informal business of shuttle trading, circular or temporary labor migration to neighboring and further destinations. While Russia had historically been the main destination for trade, labor, and educational migration during the Soviet regime, Turkey eventually emerged as an alternative, “safer,” and culturally closer destination. The ease of finding jobs in the flexible and informal domestic and care work market, the cultural and linguistic proximity, previously established migrant networks, and Turkey’s visa-free entry for citizens of Central Asian countries, play vital roles in their choices of destination.

With migration becoming one of the primary nodes through which different populations come together, but also are stratified, studying the lived experiences of physical, social, spatial, and affective mobilities are crucial to understand the current predicament of the world. Hence, in this panel, we aim to elicit conversations on the livelihoods of Central Asian migrant populations that have conventionally stayed at the margins of migration studies in Turkey and in the wider region of Eurasia and the Middle East. The panel consists of regional scholars who will present their findings from long-term ethnographic fieldworks in Turkey and Central Asia. With this panel, we hope to evoke intellectually rigorous debates about the various strategies, infrastructures, and networks of mobility, survival, and settlement of Central Asian migrants in Turkey.