Russian Modernization: A New Paradigm

Building on an original interpretation of social theory and an interdisciplinary approach, the Finnish Centre of Excellence is introducing a new paradigm in the Russian studies. Taking a fresh view of Russia’s multiple experiences of modernization, it seeks to explain the Putin era in a completely new way.

The aim of the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies (2012-2020) was to provide a fresh view of Russia’s multiple experiences of modernization. More than 50 international scholars were involved in the multidisciplinary research projects conducted under the CoE, and over the 8 years, over 40 books and 200 refereed articles were published.

The final volume of this massive project will be published in November 2020 in Routledge series Studies in Contemporary Russia. This edited volume, Russian Modernization: A New Paradigm, seeks to explain the Putin era in a completely new way. It explores the paradoxical and contradictory aspects of Russia, analyzing the energy-dependent economy and hybrid political regime, but also religion, welfare, and culture, and their often complex interrelations.

Follow the Book launch panel online on 22 October

To offer a glimpse of the new paradigm in Russian studies presented in the book, the Aleksanteri Institute has put together a panel discussion with the editor Markku Kivinen, contributors Kaarina Aitamurto and Pami Aalto, and hosted by the second editor, Brendan Humphreys. The discussion will share light to the political, economical and cultural questions that contemporary Russia is facing in its on-going modernization.

The panel discussion will be streamed live from University of Helsinki Think Corner, on Thursday 22nd October from 5 to 6.30 pm, and it will be available afterwards on the Aleksanteri Institute YouTube channel. Questions and comments are invited in advance by email (, or in real-time via Twitter using hashtag #russianmodernization.

Panelists in brief

Markku Kivinen is Emeritus Professor and was long-time director of the Aleksanteri Institute. A sociologist, he was the director of the Center of Excellence in Russia Studies, and contributing editor to Russian Modernization, a New Paradigm.

Kaarina Aitamurto is research coordinator and senior researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute. A scholar of religion, she is the foremost expert on Russian neo-paganism, and also publishes on such topics as migration and nationalism.

Pami Aalto is Jean Monnet Professor of International Relations in Tampere University, and specializes in political economy, governance, and integration. He directed the Economy research cluster in the Centre of Excellence, with a special focus on Russian energy policy.

Brendan Humphreys is a political historian, specializing in Eastern Europe and the Cold War, a senior researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute, and contributing co-editor to Russian Modernization, a New Paradigm.