Conference Coordinator
Meri Kulmala
meri.kulmala [at]

Conference Secretary
Anna Salonsalmi
anna.salonsalmi [at]

Conference Trainee
Enni Valtonen
enni.valtonen [at]

Conference e-mail:
fcree-aleksconf [at]

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

aleksanteri [at]


Keynote speakers


Alexander Etkind

Professor Alexander Etkind is Mikhail M. Bakhtin Professor of History of Russia-Europe Relations at the Department of History and Civilizations of European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Previously, he taught in Cambridge University and the European University at St. Petersburg. He was a visiting professor or researcher at Harvard, New York University, Georgetown, Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, and Aleksanteri Institute.

His highly distinguished research has dealt with Russian cultural and intellectual history in global perspective. He has conducted comparative memory studies. In 2010-2013 directed the European research project Memory at War: Cultural Dynamics in Poland, Russia, and Ukraine. Currently, he is working on a new project A Cultural History of Natural Resources: Postcolonial and Postsocialist Perspectives. He is also an expert on the Russian novel, film, and cultural forms of protest in the 21st century.

He has recently published Internal Colonization: Russia’s Imperial Experience with Polity and Warped Mourning: Stories of the Undead in the Land of the Unburied with Stanford University Press. He has also co-edited Memory and Theory in Eastern Europe, published byPalgrave Macmillan.

His Aleksanteri conference key-note address is titled: Towards a Critical Theory of Hyper-Extractive State: An Exemplary Case of Russia.

He received his PhD in Psychology from V.M. Bekhterev Research Institute (Leningrad, USSR), and another PhD in Slavonic Literature from University of Helsinki. 

Selected publications
Conference abstract


Stephen E. Hanson

Stephen E. Hanson is Vice Provost for International Affairs, Director of the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies, and Lettie Pate Evans Professor in the Department of Government at the College of William & Mary. Previously, he taught at the University of Washington, Seattle. At the moment, he is also the President of the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES).

He is well-known as a scholar of comparative historical analysis of political ideas and institutions. He has published numerous journal articles and book chapters examining post-communist politics in comparative perspective. Among other books, he is the author of Post-Imperial Democracies: Ideology and Party Formation in Third Republic France, Weimar Germany, and Post-Soviet Russia published by Cambridge University Press (2010) and Time and Revolution: Marxism and the Design of Soviet Institutions by University of North Carolina Press (1997), which won the Wayne S. Vucinich book award from ASEEES. 

In addition to this key-note speech Russia, Ukraine, and the Borders of Europe, in this year’s Aleksanteri conference he will participate in the Special Session Russia after 2014, which has been dedicated to the analysis of most topical events in Russia.

He received his PhD in Political Science from University of California at Berkeley and his BA from Harvard University.

Selected publications
Conference abstract



Oleg Kharkhordin

Oleg Kharkhordin is Professor and Rector of the European University at St. Petersburg, Russia. Previously, he taught, among other places, in the U.S. at Harvard and Yale Universities, and at Sciences Po in Paris, France. He is a member of the Russian Presidential Council for Science and Education since 2012.

He is a leading Russian scholar on modern political theory with a special emphasis on republicanism and its applications to Russian and international studies. He teaches on theory of practices, republican theory and science and technology studies. Among others, he is the author of Teoriia praktik (Theory of Practices) that was published in 2008 by EUSP Press and co-authored with Vadim Volkov), of Main Concepts of Russian Politics, published in 2005 by University Press of America, and The Collective and the Individual in Russia. A Study of Practices by University of California Press (1999).  

His key-note speech, Is Russia Doomed to Creativity? Technology, Entrepreneurship and Society in Russia in Comparative Perspective at the Aleksanteri Conference draws on extensive cross-cultural study that compared patterns of technological entrepreneurship in four Russian regions (Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Kazan and St. Petersburg) and in Korea, Taiwan and Finland.

He received his PhD in Political Science from University of California at Berkeley.

Selected publications
Conference abstract


Alena Ledeneva

Alena Ledeneva is Professor of Politics and Society at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies of University College London in the United Kingdom.

She is an internationally renowned expert on interdisciplinary study of informality and informal governance in Russia and beyond. Her research interests include corruption, informal economy, economic crime, informal practices in corporate governance, and role of networks and patron-client relationships in Russia and other post-communist societies. She has published a number of scholarly books and articles. Her books Russia's Economy of Favours: Blat, Networking, and Informal Exchange (Cambridge University Press, 1998), How Russia Really Works: Informal Practices in the 1990s (Cornell University Press, 2006), and Can Russia Modernize? Sistema, Power Networks and Informal Governance (Cambridge University Press, 2013) have become must-read pieces in Russian studies and social sciences. She is currently working on the Global Encyclopedia of Informality.

Her key-note address in the Aleksanteri Conference is entitled Russia’s Practical Norms and Informal Governance: Modernisation v. Corruption.

She received her PhD in Sociology from Cambridge University

Selected publications
Conference abstract


Maria Lipman

Maria Lipman is an independent political analyst on Russian affairs. From 2004 until recently she was the editor-in-chief of Pro et Contra, the policy journal published by Carnegie Moscow Center.

Before joining Carnegie Moscow Center she was co-founder and deputy editor of the Russian weekly newsmagazines Ezhenedel’ny zhurnal (2001-2003) and Itogi (1995-2001). She writes frequently about the state of Russian politics. From 2001 till 2011 Lipman wrote a monthly op-ed column in the Washington Post. She has contributed to a variety of Russian and US publications; she has written a monthly blog for The New Yorker online since 2012.

She has featured as editor and contributor in several books on Russian domestic politics: most recently, she contributed to, and co-edited with Nikolay Petrov Russia 2025: Scenarios for the Russian Future published in 2013 by Palgrave Macmillan. 

In addition to her key-note address in the conference The Kremlin's Ideological Turn: Causes, Content, and Consequences, she served as a co- initiator (with Nikolay Petrov) of the Special Session Russia after 2014, which is dedicated to most topical events in the region, including the situation in Ukraine.   

Other publications
Conference abstract