Abstracts of Panels and Roundtables
The roundtable will take stock of the research conducted by the Russian Media Lab project since 2016, with a particular focus on the particular challenges that are involved in doing research on Russia media. In addition, the panelists will share some of the new research questions and future perspectives that have emerged from the project. Among other topics, the round table will address the following issues: visibility and impact of research, societal engagement; methodological innovation and interdisciplinarity; overcoming stereotypes embedded in (Western) Russian media research; policy-relevance and managing effective interaction between scholars and policymakers.
The Soviet Union’s devastating environmental record has been well documented in environmental humanities scholarship. Today, the scholarly consensus holds that the USSR demonstrated an anti-environmentalist bias, and when opposed by environmentalist social movements, succeeded in silencing those voices. Recent scholarship has questioned that one-sided analysis. Since the 2000s, several dozen scientific articles and books have suggested that environmental concerns were present in communist plan economy in the USSR, even in the darkest Stalinist times. (Weiner, 1988, 1999; Brain 2011).
This session will further investigate the history and role of environmental values and ethics in the Soviet Union, focusing in particular on construction and engineering, history of consumer recycling, nuclear energy as basis for social identity, and literary and as well as cultural reflections on Soviet Promethean projects as a way of challenging the mainstream ideology.
Elena Kochetkova’s paper examines the views and values shared by Soviet engineers. How did they perceive the interplay between nature and industrial production? The presentation will be based on the history of the construction on Lake Baikal and industrial enterprises of Leningrad and Leningrad region.
Viktor Pál’s paper explores environmental values and ethics behind the USSR’s consumer recycling programs. Namely, the Soviet Union developed and operated an extensive consumer recycling system under the Cold War, which included the extensive recycling of paper and cardboard, metal scrap and beverage containers (макулату́ра, металлолом, стеклотара ).
Inna Sukhenko’s paper examines the creation of “nuclear phobia” in post-Chernobyl USSR within the framework of energy humanities. The lack of full understanding of nuclear energy studies and the ignorance of nuclear energy as a “social value” combined led to the perception of
risk, the secrecy of information, the absence of trust in the government in the nuclear issues.
In the mid-1950s, following the death of Stalin and the new leadership’s shift in Soviet foreign policy, the USSR and its dominated Eastern Europe started to open up towards the rest of the world. Along with Nikita Khrushchev’s policy of peaceful co-existence political relations eased and mobility, transfer and exchanges between the socialist Eastern Europe and the Capitalist and Third worlds started to grow. Allowing more open contact with non-socialist countries did not amount to full freedom of mobility but rather controlled encounters regulated by the socialist states and their institutions as well as capitalist states and private companies.
The papers of this panel address East-West mobility from the perspectives of tourism, artistic tours and youth exchanges. The papers discuss Scandinavian Tourist agencies focused on travels to Eastern Europe, the tours of a French-Italian singer and actor Yves Montand to the USSR and a Soviet-sponsored international youth event, the World Youth Festival, and its function as an institution of youth travel. We discuss institutional structures, agency, rationale and motives and the role of politics and ideology as the driving forces of fostering cultural and tourist exchanges. Finally, we consider the long-term impact of the increased mobility in the disintegration of the socialist bloc in the late 1980s.
Education has traditionally been one of the most decentralized policy spheres in federal countries. At the same time, seeking to establish and maintain a common legal and political space, each federation chooses its own patterns of interaction between central and regional governments, thereby creating its own model of education governance. The panel "Territorial Dimension of Educational Policy in Russia and Germany" is devoted to the comparison of two such models — in Russia and Germany.
The panel consists of three presentations. The first one — Shift in Distribution of Administrative Responsibilities: Germany and Russia Compared — aims to provide a detailed overview of similarities and differences in territorial systems in the two countries as well as discuss recent policy change in the balance of administrative responsibilities in both cases studied.
The second presentation describes how the system of intergovernmental relations in Russia functions at the level of current public administration in the sphere of education policy. It will demonstrate how the federal centre attempted to find an appropriate amount of leverage over this policy, reveals problems in public administration that appeared during the processes of and tensions over centralization and decentralization and challenge the effectiveness of control mechanisms in this system of government. The Russian case is compared with the German one to distinguish between effects of federal intergovernmantal relations and particularities of the Russian political system.
Finally, the third paper is focused on how the datafication of education through complex and expanding assessment data infrastructures becomes embedded in the federal architecture in Russia and Germany. The authors seek to understand how datafication works through the existing federal architecture, but also affects and transforms it, as earlier research on education datafication in other federal states (e.g. USA, Australia or Canada) would postulate. Federations are constantly contested in terms of internal power devolution and represent a complex bundle of national-regional relations. Datafication as collection and use of assessment data may fuel changes in the relations between the centre and the regions, as well as among the regions, by means of fabricating old or initiating new “data entities” for analysis and comparison, thus forming national (topological) spaces. By examining some cases of both vertical and horizontal datafication, the presentation illuminates the variety of often simultaneous and contradictory dynamics of re-spatialisation when data infrastructures become embedded and affect federal architectures – both when looking at transformations within a federation and when contrasting federations against each other.
Since 1990’s post-Soviet healthcare systems have plunged into the reform process, which though lasting for over 25 years continues to unravel. Prolonged and still unfinished institutional transformations have lead to the emergence of multiple organizational practices and uncertainties in the sphere. And while some scholars have associated the changes with the increase in inequality in access to healthcare and corruption, the others outline possibilities for entrepreneurship and agency that have emerged in the shifting context.
Papers which compose the panel consider the transformations of post-Soviet healthcare from the perspective of the actors that inhabit the institution. Conceptually, we take on the recent call of institutional theorists and examine the issue of institutional change from the unconventional angle – we focus not on the interplay of socio-political or institutional forces, but on how changes in healthcare are enacted on the level of everyday routine. We explore how patients and professionals as embedded institutional actors interpret, reproduce and alter institutional logics, regulating principles and forms of knowledge that constitute social order of the healthcare institution. Our particular ambition is to discern the pockets of agency and innovation that emerge on the ground level as the result of macro-level shifts.
Both post-Soviet medical professionals and their patients are commonly viewed in academic literature as ‘victims’ of the reforms. We intend to question this assumption and to present insights on how the transforming institutional setting not just creates new barriers and restrictions, but introduces new opportunities for participatory practices in healthcare, for institutional work of the individual actors, and for the ground-level innovations.
Empirically, papers of the panel regard the transformations that have occurred in health systems of different post-Soviet countries (Russia and Ukraine), in different areas of medicine (maternity care, pharmaceutics), and in different aspects (medical education, clinical practice, innovations in medical technologies). By considering the diversity of the cases of innovation and agency in post-Soviet healthcare we aim to contribute conceptually to the current debates on the transforming social roles of post-socialist healthcare professionals and patients.
At the first glance, area studies may appear as an academic field incompatible with big data techniques. Area studies are rooted in a tradition of in-depth understanding of a context through focus on the history, languages, cultures and institutions of a spatially defined region. Big data studies, on the contrary, are based on searching for patterns and trends through the use of algorithms, not limited to any specific place and driven by data rather than theory. Do the two fields have anything to offer to each other? This panel sets to explore opportunities and limitations for big data techniques in area studies. The speakers represent different scholarly traditions, cover different regions, currently working both at the University and research organizations outside academia. They will discuss how they utilize big data in their own research, how they see the future cross-fertilization between area studies and digital humanities, and what are the critical issues for the success of this endeavor.
The aim of this panel is to examine the cultural influence and the meaning of the Prague Spring 1968 in the Eastern Bloc in comparison with the Hungarian Uprising 1956 by analysing case studies on cultural and generational aspects in the Soviet Union, Hungary, Baltic states and the GDR.
The Prague Spring was a symbolic event for those citizens in the Eastern Bloc who were engaged in “better” democracy and “freedom.” At the same time, it meant the opposite to Stalinism. From this perspective, the panel explores the meaning of the Prague Spring among citizens in the Eastern Bloc.
Susan Ikonen describes the year between 1953 to 1968 as a period when Soviet society, led largely by the intelligentsia, attempted to have the remnants of Stalinism, or the “Cult of Personality,” shed behind. Whereas the official reactions to the events of 1956 did not end these attempts but only set their limits, the 1968 crushing of the “Prague Spring” marked a compete end to the “Thaw.” Nothing that the crushing of the Prague Spring crushed also the “60ers movement,” the paper asks: to what extent did this “crushing of hopes” both in 1956 and 1968 related to and resulted in the division of Soviet culture into two types of “modes”: the mainstream, “conformist,” “stagnation culture” and to that of the growing public and underground dissident movement and to the private kitchen talks and the emerging unofficial culture of Late socialism.
Rosario Napolitano’s aim is to analyze the role of Latvian Glavlit (the Latvian branch of the main censorship body called Glavlit) in the Hungarian Uprising in 1956 and the Prague Spring in 1968. How did the Baltic society react to those two events? Were there repercussions of what happened in Hungary and in Czechoslovakia on Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia? Die the censorship become more strict in Latvia, which represented one important part of the Soviet bloc, or did not the situation change between 1956 and 1968?
Miwako Okabe compares jazz music around 1956 with beat-music around 1968 in Leipzig in the GDR. The students’ pop-music activities had close connections with the events in other communist states and Western countries, even though the GDR society was still under the shadow of the failure of the uprising of June 1953 by the Soviet Army. She clarifies what mattered to the youth and what they hoped to achieve through pop-music, and how the authorities reacted to their situation.
The participants problematize the liberal interpretation of events following the collapse of the communist system in 1989. They discuss causes of the recent de-democratization tendencies and problems of democratic consolidation in East Central Europe. The crisis of liberal conduct is presented less as a temporal anomaly than a manifestation of important domestic continuities and a mixture of enduring and recurring problems of democratization in the East Central European countries. The roundtable reflects on the situation, in which Western-informed theoretical approaches like the conventional democratization and Europeanisation theories need to be further refined in order to enhance their explanatory power and improve the understanding of processes currently underway in East Central Europe.
Socio-democrats formulated pre-primary education principles long before revolution and reinforced them in 1920s. Freedom and equality were the core principles of the first programs. Education could happen in any language of the peoples of Russia. There was not enough communists to satisfy all the educational needs. Pedology searched for new ways and was forbidden. The strict authoritarianism after the war and humanism of the Thaw alternated with omnipotent administration in 1970s and emerging interest for contemporary Western trends in 1990s. Today, the synthesis of various methods corresponds to increasing parents’ demand in the freedom of choice of the educational path for their children.
The education system, being very broad and "state/budget" segment, is one of the most stable sectors from the point of view of labor demand and employment. Although preschool education is not compulsory, there is a wide network of institutions and jobs in almost every city of Russia, with a guaranteed income. The pre-school teachers started working in the former USSR, during the time when the government rather than the employees themselves provided welfare and social security. In the few coming years this part of pre-school teachers in Russia will retire. The continuing fundamental commitment to the vocation combines with an understanding of its constraints and lacks satisfaction in the independent professional functioning. The corporate solidarity is weak, the possibility of full job purpose remains low. The most discriminatory factors on the Russian labor market are age, health and sex. The generational change will affect some of the group’s meaningful metrics.
The kindergarten is the space of day care and teaching, where children perceive social order, norms and rules of interacting, opportunities and limitations of their desires. Democracy supposes children being active participators in their own life and childhood world. Moscow and other Russian cities have participated in the UNESCO international initiative ‘Child Friendly Cities’ since 2009. Keeping pace with other states, Moscow carried out structural changes in the field of childhood. Russia has fulfilled large-scale structural reforms in the sphere of pre-primary education. Based on children’s interviews, research shows functioning of pre-primary schools from their perspective, as a space of game and communication with peers, and problematize the practices of catering, sleeping, outing and emotional commitment of teachers.
Ethnolinguistic conflicts revealed contradictions in the sphere of language education between the Federal center and some regions. Most notably, they appeared in Tatarstan. The leaders of the region consider preschool education as a part of the unified system of ethno-linguistic education, thus, it was also included in the conflict. Since 2013, in pre-primary educational institutions of Tatarstan, the Tatar language has become mandatory for all children. As it turned out in the course of the development of contradictions, this was mainly due to the timing of other classes. Accordingly, the study of the Tatar language in kindergartens became optional, too. For the moment being, contradictions persist, although apparently resolved. The problem is, at what scale and volume a person can choose the language of education in a multilingual state.
Democracy as a method of political leadership selection and a broader set of political values has largely failed in Russian and the post-Soviet space with a few exceptions of Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, partly Kyrgyzstan and perhaps Armenia. Authoritarian regimes, especially those that emerged and consolidated in Russia and its form Soviet republics, have revealed a variety of modes to sustain authoritarian rule (Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Belarus). Rigid and neopatrimonialism regimes have posed a major threat to democracy and further institutional and economic development in the region.
Most of the scholarly attention has been paid to the institutional and socio-economic traits of the regimes, although little research has been done on the micro-level dynamics of authoritarian rule with a few notable exceptions (e.g. Reuter and Remington, Noble). This panel will focus on the micro-level interactions under authoritarian regimes within the legislative and executive power, on the local, regional and national levels. The questions the panel aims to address include the mechanisms of authoritarian survival, coalition-building, power-sharing, cooptation and defections; how public goods provision is handled given the lack of public accountability and open institutional channels of political contestation.
The panel employs the ethnographic approach towards the study of deinstitutionalization patterns in contemporary Russia focusing on the cases of foster care and the NGO assisted living projects for adults with intellectual disabilities. The papers are based on ethnographic research and the narratives of deinstitutionalization and fostering produced foster parents, NGO social workers and volunteers, and the individuals is care.
The gradual collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and at the beginning of the 1990s produced a boom in memory. In the successor states, diverse forms of gathering, researching and publicizing personal and cultural memories has produced diverse understandings of the Soviet era and reproduced national pasts. These memories have been produced in written life stories, oral history interviews and in cultural forms of remembering. This new freedom to remember and to discuss in public these memories did, however, produce new master narratives and dominant discourses of remembering. Some memories were silenced, and some topics were not considered worth remembering.
This panel addresses how the forms of remembering the late Soviet era and the transition period (c. 1960s-1990s) are shaped by the local and national histories as well as current political and societal conditions in Belarus and Estonia. The presenters discuss the memories of Soviet everyday life, emotions expressed when remembering the Soviet era and the tension between national or collective and personal memories. The contributions address questions of applying Western theoretical and methodological approaches of oral history, cultural memory studies, and queer theory to post-Soviet and Eastern European contexts.
Uku Lember’s paper discusses the life-story interviews of older Estonian gay men in relation to their national and gender identities, as he presents the first results of a larger research project on queer history of Soviet Estonia. Kristiina Silvan’s paper explores, based on oral history interviews conducted in Belarus with former members of the Communist Youth League, the ways how Soviet-era Komsomol is remembered today. It argues that for many interviewees Komsomol activism was an inseparable part of the Soviet everyday life and youth. Riikka Taavetti's contribution addresses the glimpses of Soviet Estonian gay male past discovered in a collection of life stories gathered in 1996, and in contemporary art, namely Jaanus Samma's exhibition NSFW: A Chairman's Tale (2015/2016). The presentation discusses the possibilities of remembering Soviet queer pasts in the post-Soviet era and the questions concerning its reproduction.
The panel will focus on the conservative turn in politics and culture that is presently observed in Eastern Europe including Russia from the perspective of the revised theory of modernization. `The conservative turn’ embraces the rise (if any?) of nationalism, traditionalism, religiosity and cultural liberalism. Current literature tends to explain the rise of conservatism, including nationalism, with economic variables. However, empirical evidence yields mixed results. Our explanation is premised on the assumption that people’s values are affected by inequality that comes with economic and social modernization. Those segments of society that lose as a result of the expansion of global capitalism experience rising anxiety about their prospects.
At the proposed panel, we aim at spotting relevant cross-national and within-country trends of political and cultural conservatism. Do we observe an overall conservative turn or there is just a group of countries or incidents that illusively create such picture? How values mediate the relationship between economic hardship and the conservative shift in politics? Because human values have more inertia than the more volatile economic indicators, this may be the reason why previous studies reported mixed results on the popularity of conservative and populist parties in Eastern Europe. Is true that the degree of tension between the haves and the have-nots is greater in those countries where both factions are numerous? For instance, the conservative shift in Russia, where most people share traditional values, was initiated by the government and, judging by its approval rating, was a political success; the minority of post-modernists (many of them opposing the government) is too small to matter. On the other hand, in those countries where the Great Recession that started in 2008 has eventually split society by value preferences, a significant anti-globalist opposition initiated hot political struggle.
The fall of the USSR and de-sovietisation of Eastern Europe have produced an impression of liberation and freedom, as well as legal and political improvement across the region. This feeling of change for the better has also concerned spheres of gender and sexuality. Many post-Soviet states have since then joined international institutions with direct requirements to implement policies in relation to gender equality and LGBTIQ rights. After three decades of legal reforms and innovations, where are we in terms of gender equality and LGBTIQ rights? What has been done for these years and – most importantly – what has not been done so far? Was the feeling of improvement back then a correct impression of the changes? We aim to discuss these questions against the background of the raise of the far-right movements across the globe and amplification of conservative political agenda across Eastern Europe and in Russia.
In Russia, most recent conservative legal reforms specifically target the spheres of gender and sexuality. Few examples speak for themselves. The reform of the ‘battery law’ (decriminalisation of battery) was presented as compliance with ‘traditional family values’ that protect misogynist version of a heterosexual union. As for LGBTIQ populations, these were banned from appearing publicly through the ‘gay propaganda’ bill and also stigmatised as ‘non-traditional’ in the context of re-traditionalisation of public policies and discussions. Many countries in the Eastern Europe offered a similar agenda. Poland has implemented a hostile cultural policy that has targeted ‘gender ideology,’ a term with which current constructivist approaches to gender are designated as unwanted. Hungary’s conservative government has worked to make the country worst in gender equality last year. There are other examples.
Our aim is to assess legal and policy evolution in the gender and sexuality spheres in Eastern Europe and Russia over the three decades of post-Socialism. By answering the questions presented above, we want not only to review events of the past and present, but also to rethink the socialist legacy in gender and sexuality legal and policy matters. This latter issue refers to the question of whether something could have gone differently, if the socialist past were acknowledged to some extent? Can socialist approaches to gender and sexuality inform current debates in these spheres or they are simply oppressive and authoritarian mechanisms of control? This set of questions refers to the critical positionality of researchers of gender and sexuality in the post-Soviet countries, on the one hand. On the other hand, the questions refer to the future by making us think about possible different venues to gender equality and LGBTIQ rights in the region and globally.
The panel looks at different ways of resisting hegemonic information production and memory politics. It explores digital and print platforms as nodes of oppositional networks. The topics cover late socialism and contemporary Russian-language media and cultural practices. The papers probe into oppositional strategies and resistance in political and lifestyle journalism, canonical literature, and archival activism.
The panel aims at an understanding of historically contingent cultural values and practices in their particular contexts over time. We suggest that the etymology and the change in meaning of terms forms a crucial basis for contemporary cultural, conceptual and linguistic understanding. E. g. the Russian language has two words for 'freedom': svoboda, which is closer to the general and political term of the liberal discourse, and volia, existential, inner freedom, liberty, license, the exercise of one's will. However, neither of these words semantically coincides with their “Western” counterparts: the English freedom and liberty (which differ in meaning), the French libertė (which does not coincide with either of the English words), etc.
The participants of the panel will discuss Russian linguistic expressions most of which are typical of liberal discourse in the historical perspective, in particular, prava cheloveka ‘human rights’, svoboda ‘freedom’, tolerantnost' ‘tolerance’, pliuralizm ‘pluralism’, chastnaia sobstvennost' and privatizatsiia ‘private property and privatization’, demokratiya ‘democracy’, spravedlivost' ‘justice’. The analysis deals with the evolution of paradigmatic ideas and value systems over time. We will analyze the semantics of the words under consideration, the contrast between some alleged synonyms (such as svoboda and volia, terpimost’ and tolerantnost’) before the Revolution, their semantic development during Soviet times and their status in contemporary discourse: their meaning and usage, connotations, and the attitude of native speakers towards them. These expressions entered into the language at different times and in different ways. At present, different people understand these words differently.
It may be argued that the homonymy of the Russian words mir ‘peace’ and mir ‘universe’ resulted from the decision (made by St. Cyril and St. Methodius) to translate the Greek words εἰρήνη ‘peace’ and κόσμος ‘world, universe; community’ with the same Slavic word mir ‘harmony, concord’. The reason for that decision was probably of poetic nature: the Greek words often co-occur in the Orthodox liturgical texts. A semantic link between the two homonyms sill appears in some contexts. Thus, the opening petition of the Great Litany Mirom Gospodu pomolimsja ‘In peace, let us pray to the Lord’ is often understood as ‘Let us pray to the Lord all together’.
We will also discuss some of the main notions of political language of the 18th century Russia such as "subject", "citizen", "slave". One can consider these notions as a way to the important channels of state's social control and, on the other hand, the instrument of political discuss between the throne and Nobel political opposing as well.
The discussion aims at the wide range of those who are interested in the Russian culture, the Russian language and the history of ideas. We will pay attention to metalinguistic comments on their semantics by Russian speakers.
The questions to this roundtable addresses are:
What are the recent trends in the study of economic history of the socialist and post-socialist Russia?
What does post-socialist entail: What are the continuities in the economic field from the centrally planned to the market economy?
What does interdisciplinarity in the study of Soviet/Russian economic history mean?
Is there room for digitalization in Soviet/Russian economic history?
In Russia of today, the absence of a political competition made historical memory and politics of memory to become a space where various political and societal views and social attitudes may contend or interact. The long-ago events and memory of them, such as a memory of the Great Patriotic War and a memory of the social, economic, and political crisis of the 1990s, still affect identity process and influence generational consciousness.
The year of 2017 was the year of the Russian revolutions centenary. However, it was described as ‘silent’ in Russia, which was commemorated by academics, museums and archives workers, and some other professionals only. This anniversary turned out to be inconvenient for Russian political actors and was not used by them for their purposes. The overwhelming majority of ordinary Russian people did not notice it.
We propose the panel joining researchers from Israel, Poland, and Russia. Two papers of this panel consider how the Revolution of 1917 had begun to be commemorated right after it had taken place. The first paper is about two archives established in Moscow and in Prague in order to preserve the memory on the Revolution. The paper examines the contribution of both archives to the commemoration of the revolutionary events and the particular impact each of them made on the formation of the contradictory narratives of the Great Russian Revolution.
The second paper addresses following questions: what was the content of the collective memory in first revolutionary years and how the Bolsheviks wanted to shape it; to what extent were monuments a result of adjustment to the former cultures of memory (the Tsarist and the Provisional Government); were the monuments openly contested by other groups; and what general conclusions concerning the nature of the Bolsheviks regime can be drawn on the basis of to whom or what were the monuments erected.
The third paper considers how a revolution term was used in post-Soviet states. It demonstrates that, having common Soviet past and some shared memories from that past, various countries differ in their attitudes towards a notion of revolution. These attitudes depend mostly on an actual political and social context. In some states, the revolution name would rather add legitimacy to ongoing transformations (e.g. Ukraine, Moldova). In other cases, people tend to declare negative attitudes to it for it means for them economic, political, and social crisis, only (e.g. Russia, Belorussia, Azerbaijan).
The forth paper considers how an image of the “hard 1990s”, which were perceived sometimes as “revolutionary”, has been used to legitimize Putin’s regime. A collective memory of that period is a significant factor of the political process in Russia. It shapes identities of current political forces, plays important role in legitimization of the current political system and affects public attitudes towards future transformations.
This panel, organised by members of the Finnish-Russian Network in Russian and Eurasian Studies (FRRESH), examines aspects of contemporary Russian, post-Soviet and European politics and societies. More specifically, the panel discusses the impact of cross-border political processes (collapse of the Soviet Union, European integration and the Ukrainian events of 2014) on societal groupings ranging from political elites to ethnic and linguistic minorities. The aim of the panel is to present empirical evidence of cross-border and cross-time period interrelations and discuss theoretical approaches which allow combining national and international levels of analysis.
The panel consists of three papers. Kristina Silvan’s paper examines the development of the Russian Youth Union from a historical institutionalist perspective as well as analyses its current role in the Russian society. The paper draws various sources of data collected in Russia in 2018: archival material from the Russian Youth Union, period press and interviews with key individuals. It demonstrates how the adaptation of the Russian Komsomol to the changing political and socio-economic system. It offers not only a new perspective on how the institution transformed as the USSR collapsed, but also contributes to our understanding about the making of Russian state youth policy in the 1990s and 2000s.
Teemu Oivo’s paper studies how the Finland’s dual citizenship discussion has been reflected in Russian language internet forums. In August 2014, it was reported that an investigation was initiated on the state of dual citizenship in Finland and what would follow from changing or even reversing the liberal policy towards multi citizenship. Stemming from historical relation of Russia as Finland’s national Other, recent events in Ukraine and the presentation of Russians as the biggest dual citizens group in Finland, this initiative was interpreted by many to be initiated because of Finland’s particular relation to Russians. Oivo has studied the representation of this issue, along with the perceived Finnish image of Russianness among Russian speakers. His paper prompts the question of in what ways it has been perceived as acceptable, alienating or aversive and how has the Russian relation been challenged.
Iurii Agafonov’s paper analyses the influence of the European Neighbourhood Policy on the political regimes’ dynamics in Eastern Partnership countries. By employing the mvQCA and case studies of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, the research shows the ENP could lead to three outcomes: democratization, stabilization of hybrid regime, and authoritarian consolidation. These outcomes are the product of rational-choice logic of the ENP influence on the elite preferences in the EaP states. The political regimes’ dynamics is explained by the interrelation of the ENP assistance and features of a particular political regime.
The round table aims to provide floor for discussion on methods in research on deinstitutionalization and disabilities in Russia, and opportunities and limitations for using visual data in sensitive study fields.
Anna Altukhova (European University at St.Petersburg) will present her documentary “Master’s Mansion” (2018, Russia) that traces the life of former residents of an orphanage for children with intellectual disabilities in rural Russia, and will share her reflections on doing a field study on self-representation of young adults with learning disabilities.
Барский дом (Master’s Mansion)
Directed by Anna Altukhova
Russia, 30 min, 2018
“Master’s Mansion” is a documentary that traces the life of former residents of an orphanage for children with intellectual disabilities in rural Russia and tells the story of several people who were institutionalized due to the efforts of a local NGO. If they succeed while housed for their test period in this assisted living lodgings, they get a chance to start their independent lives in their own social welfare apartments that they are expected to receive from the state, without the social workers’ control.
Language: Russian, English subtitles.
The panel discusses forms of protest and resistance in Yugoslav and Post-Yugoslav arts. Yugoslavia's longstanding dissident tradition and "third way" politics manifested itself in a protest culture between affirmation and subversion that translated into the post-Yugoslav present.
The panel participants analyze performance art, music and theatre as (ambivalent) counter cultural arenas from different disciplinary angles. How did Yugoslav performative protest culture translate into the artistic production of the present? What political potential can be ascribed to these artistic expressions in Yugoslavia and after? How are the performative arts intertwined and what, if at all, is their democratizing potential today?
This panel seeks to contribute to the discussion on the development and usage of the communist ideology in Soviet Russia, Soviet Union and Finland. It aims to stretch the ideas of public involvement in major political processes, using ideology as moral basis and reflecting political processes in art. The very title of the panel promises the diversity of topics, but all three papers give a historical perspective on the important issues raised by the October revolution and those ideas that motivated people to act.
In her paper, entitled Wireless Communication and Radio Experimenters in Twentieth-Century Russia, Ekaterina Rybkina examines how independent radio enthusiasts challenged a state monopoly on experiments with the wireless communication in the twentieth-century Russia. The tension between the desire of the state authorities to develop the radio technology and their fear of independent radio enthusiasts was present from the early days of the radio technology within the autocratic Russian empire. The argument is that the Bolsheviks’ utopian technocratic vision of the centralized state broadcasting came into conflict with the decentralized nature of the short-wave radio. As soon as the existing electrical market did not meet the consumption demand, the sole condition to access the air (radioefir) was the ability of enthusiasts to collect radio devices on their own. The state needed individuals to actively participate in the radio development by creating their own devices but simultaneously feared that individuals would use the technology to subvert the state power. Thus, the wireless technology itself gave agency to some individuals since it relied on individual receivers that could be homemade.
Dmitriy Ivanov presents the paper Post-Imperial Mobilization: Petrograd Province Paramilitaries 1917-1919. He looks at mobilization mechanisms and ideological rhetoric in the Russian Civil War. After the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917, a power vacuum appeared, with police force disbanded and army rapidly disintegrating. It was filled by ad-hoc paramilitaries like factory militias and Red Guards, which contributed to the crystallization of a new political system and the new army after the October coup. The “partisan” detachments were briefly revived in 1919, as the Soviet leadership mobilized potential allies in a last-ditch attempt to defend Petrograd—against the pro-Finnish Ingrian paramilitaries, among others. All sides in the civil wars fought around Petrograd designated their opponents as “bandits,” showing that fight for power and legitimacy was an essential element in these conflicts. Mobilization mechanisms and ideological rhetoric (the defence of freedom, social / national liberation, etc.) sought to motivate popular support for these paramilitaries, whether Red, anarchist,or Ingrian. PetrogradProvince’s border location gave it an interface status allowingfor transfer of political-violence practices between Russia and Finland.
Mia Öhman’s paper Soviet-Finnish Coproduction Film “Trust” (Doverie, 1976) as a Tool for World Peace, is taking a look on why was the film made. In the 1960s, a Finnish film company Fennada wanted to make an action film about Lenin’s adventures in Finland, to sell it to Western countries with a good profit. After ten years, the final product was a kind of Soviet view about what happened between Finland and Lenin around 1917, warmly supporting Finnish President Kekkonen´s ideas about Lenin as a guarantee of Finnish independence. The film included a documentary scene depicting the ECSC final summit in Helsinki, summer 1975, with Leonid Brezhnev among other leaders of the world signing Helsinki Accords, including the “Third Basket” on human rights. Kekkonen was expecting the Nobel Peace Prize for organizing the summit, but Nobel was given to Andrei Sakharov. In 1976, the Moscow Helsinki Group was established, to watch, based on Helsinki Accords, the realization of human rights in the Soviet Union. As the Soviet poster of the film Trust even shows Pravda headline about ECSC above Lenin´s head, it seems like the Soviet Union signed its own collapsing.
St. Tryphon of Pechenga (1495-1583) was a Russian monk, whose activity and legacy interlinks Arctic regions of three nation-states, Russia, Norway and Finland. His commemoration expands borders and is especially vivid among the Skolt Sami, indigenous people living in Lapland (from Neiden to Kola Peninsula) venerating St. Tryphon as their baptizer to the Orthodox faith.
Today, when the global climate warming poses serious challenges for arctic livelihoods, opens up business opportunities (eg. Northeast Passage), and boosts geostrategic and -political competition in the region, not surprisingly, memory politics has gained momentum. Using the memory of St. Tryphon of Pechenga is part of this phenomenon.
In this panel, we elaborate on the various representations and politicized uses of St. Tryphon’s life, based on recurrent conflicts and representations of enemy throughout history and today. St. Tryphon represents an ideal role model for Russian military conscripts and troops based in Kola, whereas the schoolbooks barely mention the most part of the conflicted history in the region. Notwithstanding the conflicted past and distorted political memory, we also ask, could St. Tryphon’s legacy serve as a symbol of reconciliation and of Christian unity in the multinational Arctic? Could St. Tryphon, whose honored memory is part of Skolt Sami oral history in three countries (Norway, Finland, Russia), teach tolerance in today’s all more global confrontations?
Dr. Caroline Serck-Hanssen will compare different accounts depicting St. Tryphon’s complex mental image. These include the traditional Russian hagiography, the prevailing story told in Norway – based on a novel The monastery in Pechenga (1884) written by the Norwegian linguist and writer Jens Andreas Friis – and Tryphon's rewritten Life by Russian bishop Mitrofan (2017) which partly contradict each other.
In Friis' dramatic novel, the young Tryphon is depicted as a brutal gang leader plundering and killing innocent people in the northern borderlands between Russia and Finland. One day, he kills his beloved Ellina by accident. He deeply regrets, and withdraws into the wilderness as an act of repentance. According to Friis, Tryphon received his calling not from Jesus, but from his dead companion. Friis based his novel partly on the hagiography, partly on Sami oral tradition, but also on the memoirs of the 16th century Dutch merchant Simon van Salingen who stayed for long periods in Pechenga and met Tryphon. Despite being a Protestant and diplomat serving the interests of Danish-Norwegian King Christian IV on the Kola peninsula, he describes Tryphon as a devout Christian, who sought redemption for his evil past by ascetic deeds. Elsewhere, Van Salingen's account corresponds to most of the information found in the Hagiography.
Study of the regimes of publicity in Russia and Eastern Europe - a new field of intellectual history, which may enrich the classical methodological toolbox of the history of political languages and ideas. In the panel we present several historical cases focusing on the XX century and methodological reflection on the importance of understanding and studying not only texts as rhetoric "moves" within established linguistic contexts, but also changes in the overall conventions and rules of public communication. We invite participants to reflect on these evolving rules, specificity of the audience and underlying representations of political actors and authors about them. During one century Russia witnessed probably half a dozen of such regimes of publicity, including declining open debates and emerging censorship in early 1920-s after X Party Congress, totalitarian drive of the late 1930-s, thaw, late Soviet regime, managed glasnost, regime of free speech 1991-1995, oligarchic press in 1995-2000, growing state pressure on mass media with pocket of free press 2000-2018. We believe that understanding the meaning of political texts in this context also implies facing the question of the (sometimes, swiftly) changing status of public speech. This methodological focus may be well suited to the Russian canvas, but its application to Eastern European and probably non-European countries may be also revealing.
David Hallbeck's paper deals how Soviet intellectuals, among others, Vadim Delaunay and Natalya Gorbanevskaya, interpreted the Western European 1968 movement. Their small but interesting reception of the western 1968 shows how they struggled to deal with the manifest anti-Americanism in e.g. the French 1968 movement, while simultaneously condemning it as bourgeois.
Takehiro Okabe's paper introduces recent discussions on 1968 in Japan, loser of WWII and under the heavy influence of the United States, by focusing on how the youth were influenced from and interpreted East and Wes European events.
Tuomas Savonen's paper takes a close look on the Communist Party of the USA's policies concerning the Czechoslovakian occupation, especially the role of the General Secretary Gus Hall and some critics of the military operation within the party. Given the fact that the CPUSA was one of the few supporters of the military operation in the West, the example this paper presents is an important contribution to the discussion on 1968.
The three papers of the panel address the changing profile of inequality and the perception of inequality in Russia during the socio-economic transformation since the late 1990s until today. The findings are based mainly on qualitative interviews carried out during 1996-2017 in Saint Petersburg plus other Russian research results utilized for comparison.
This roundtable discusses the changing societal values in Russia and EU countries. It explores the hypothesis that cultural nationalism increasingly challenges the value of culture as a foundation of tolerance and societal inclusiveness. Drawing on this hypothesis the roundtable asks how culture is construed as a national value in the globalized world, and how this value relates to the values associated with the tasks often assigned to culture in civil societies. In order to probe into the tensions between the civil and national paradigms, the participants will consider the role of policy documents, museum exhibits, flagship cultural institutions, and celebrations of national anniversaries in three national contexts, Finnish, Estonian, and Russian.
This roundtable has been cancelled
The session will consist of a presentation by Elizabeth Walker from Routledge, Taylor & Francis covering areas such as how to choose a journal, writing for academic journals, writing with a specific audience in mind, the submission process, peer review, and ethics for authors, as well as some brief advice on how to promote your article and make an impact. This presentation will be complemented by the view from the academic journal Editors participating in the panel, who will share their advice from the ‘frontline’, what they look for in a good submission, and specific advice for submitting to their journals, including, Europe-Asia Studies, the principal academic journal in the world focusing on the history and current political, social and economic affairs of the countries of the former 'communist bloc' of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and Asia.
The panel will end with the distribution of some printed resources for researchers/early career scholars.
Intended audience: this session is aimed at Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and those looking to publish in journals for the first time, or who are still relatively new to the publication process, as well as more experienced scholars who are looking to publish in international and/or English-language journals for the first time.
This panel deals with multilateral economic diplomacy within the Soviet bloc, particularly within the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, CMEA. While the CMEA integration has been deemed as a failure, the papers in this panel are interested also in the (relative) successes of cooperation within CMEA. Moreover, the continuous efforts to reform the organization are highlighted in all papers.
Russia is now undergoing a major child welfare reform that builds on the idea of every child’s right to grow up in a family. The reform strives to dismantle the massive system of children homes by promoting domestic adoptions, developing foster family system and creating support services for families at risk to prevent children entering public residential system. The proposed panel analyzes the child welfare reform at the level of new ideas and its implementation.
The analysis of the national policies allows us to identify a paradigm change in Russia´s child welfare policy elements that will bring Russia into line with the global trend toward deinstitutionalization. The paper “Child Welfare Reform in Contemporary Russia: From Child Protection to Child Focused Approaches” by Meri Kulmala, Maija Jäppinen and Zhanna Chernova scrutinizes the key policies and concrete practices brought by them at the level of child welfare institutions. The authors argue that the paradigm change at the level of ideals and national goals in Russia is from child protection orientation into the direction of child focused model with elements of family support model. Yet, at the level of practices, many aspects of child protection orientation remain. The implementation of the reform is underway, and many serious pitfalls persist due to the multiple path dependences. The investigation conducted by Larisa Shpakovskaia titled “Punish or love: public debate on acceptable pedagogical methods in the context of child welfare reforms”. She demonstrates how the ideological changes in the base of the reform concern the normative ideas about what is considered as good childcare, what the fundamental needs of a child are, and how the relationships between state, parenting, family and children should be organized. These questions are addressed through the analysis of publicly shared understandings in legislature, public debate and experts’ vision of what constitutes well-being of a child. In particular, the methods (which are considered acceptable and effective) of upbringing and pedagogical techniques as an indicator of discursive / ideological changes in child's well-being, its political and social understanding are examined. The paper titled “Reform of the Residential Care for Children without Parental Care: Russian Regional Patterns” by Anna Tarasenko focuses on the level of the organizations in the midst of the reform. The comparative analysis of Russian regions reveals the most salient regional examples of institutional resistance produced by the public residential care institutions. The detailed study of six regional cases enables the authors to reveal factors which explain the institutional inertia of public residential care system.
By covering all the mentioned levels and aspects of the reform the panel will produce a complex picture of the nature and outcomes of the on-going changes and transformations.
The panel deals with the governance of sustainable development in Russia and in Finland. Sustainable development refers to policies, which aim at increasing social, ecological and cultural sustainability of societal development, on various levels of government. In practice, sustainable development can cover different measures from the smart use of resources to equal access of services, and acknowledgement of green areas in land-use planning. Governance refers to the interplay of public, private and civil society organizations in designing, implementing and monitoring sustainable development. The public actors, both at local, regional and national level, can provide resources, regulate, and coordinate activities and transfer their own organizational practices along the line of sustainability. Private enterprises, and civil society actors, may also contribute to sustainable development, by transforming business practices, and organizational goals, towards sustainability. The panel discusses sustainable development in both Russia and Finland, and aims at comparing the two.