Head of the Organising Committee
Sanna Turoma
sanna.turoma [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Coordinator
Kaarina Aitamurto
kaarina.aitamurto [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Secretary
Maarit Elo-Valente
maarit.elo-valente [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Intern
Miikka Piiroinen
miikka.piiroinen [at] helsinki.fi

Conference e-mail:
fcree-aleksconf [at] helsinki.fi

The Aleksanteri Institute

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

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi


Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Keynote speakers (in alphabetical order)


Catriona Kelly

Catriona Kelly is Professor of Russian at the University of Oxford and one of the foremost cultural historians of modern Russia. She has published widely on Russian culture, especially of the Late Imperial and Soviet periods; her interests range from modernist poetry to the visual arts, women's writing and cultural history.

Her books include Petrushka, the Russian Carnival Puppet Theatre (CUP, 1990); A History of Russian Women's Writing, 1820-1992 (OUP, 1994); An Anthology of Russian Women's Writing, 1777-1992 (OUP, 1994); Refining Russia: Advice Literature, Polite Culture, and Gender from Catherine to Yeltsin (OUP 2001), Russian Literature: A Very Short Introduction (OUP 2001), Comrade Pavlik: The Rise and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero (Granta 2005); and Children's World: Growing Up in Russia 1890-1991 (Yale 2007). In 2007-2011, she led the project 'National Identity in Russia from 1961', supported by a major grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Her book resulting from the project, St Petersburg: Shadows of the Past, appeared from Yale University Press in 2014.

Her Aleksanteri conference key-note address is titled:
Russia and Europe, 1991-2014: La Grande Désillusion

Selected publications
Conference abstract
Link to presentation


Vlad Strukov

Vlad Strukov is Associate Professor in Digital Culture at the University of Leeds. His research interests include digital media, visual culture, popular culture, film and television, with a particular emphasis on space, consumption and identity. Prior to his present appointment, he served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at University College London. In 1998-2002 Strukov was an Assistant Professor at the University of Voronezh. In 2003-5 Strukov was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was also a Research Fellow in 2001 and 2002. He has also taught and researched extensively at the Universities of Helsinki, London, Edinburgh, Leuven and Moscow.

His publications include Celebrity and Glamour in Contemporary Russian Culture: Shocking Chic (co-ed. with H. Goscilo, Indiana University Press 2010); New Media in New Europe-Asia (co-ed. with J. Morris and N. Rulyova, Routledge 2014); and From Central to Digital: Television in Russia (co-ed. with V. Zvereva, Voronezh UP 2014). His Contemporary Russian Cinema: Symbols of a New Era will be published by the Edinburgh University Press in March 2016. Strukov is the founding and principal editor of a journal entitled Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European New Media (Digital Icons).

His Aleksanteri conference key-note address is titled:
The Conservative Turn: Culture as Politics in Putin's Russia

Selected publications
Conference abstract
Link to presentation


Vera Tolz

Vera Tolz is Sir William Mather Professor of Russian Studies at the University of Manchester. Her current, AHRC-funded project, 'Mediating post-Soviet difference: an analysis of Russian television representation of inter-ethnic cohesion issues' addresses Russian state television's approach to ethnic tensions. Tolz's interests include nationalism and ethnic politics in modern and contemporary Russia; Oriental studies and national identity in imperial and early Soviet Russia; and comparative imperial history.

Her publications include The Demise of the USSR: From Communism to Independence (edited, Macmillan 1995), Russia: Inventing the Nation (Arnold/Hodder Headline Group 2001), Gender and Nation in Contemporary Europe (edited, Manchester 2005), 'Russia's own Orient': The Politics of Identity and Oriental Studies in the Late Imperial and Early Soviet Periods (Oxford 2011), and Nation, Ethnicity and Race on Russian Television (co-authored with S. Hutchings, Routledge 2015).

Her Aleksanteri conference key-note address is titled:
Projecting the Nation: Media Events and Changing Narratives of Nationhood in Putin's Russia

Selected publications
Conference abstract
Link to presentation


Elena Vartanova

Elena Vartanova is Professor and the Dean of the Faculty of Journalism at the Lomonosov Moscow State University. She lectures on media economics, contemporary foreign media systems with a special focus on Nordic media, and Russian media model in global context. Vartanova has published several monographs (in Russian) on the Nordic media model, European information society and media economics. In 1996, she founded and headed the Centre for Finnish-Russian Studies of Culture and Mass Media at the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

Her monograph, Northern Model at the End of the Century: Press, TV, and Broadcasting Among Government and Market Regulation (1997) was awarded Shuvalov's Prize by Moscow University. She co-edited Russian Media Challenge (Kikimora Publications 2002), to which she also contributed a chapter on media structures in Russia. The manual Media Economics of Foreign Countries was published in 2003, the first book to cover this subject area in Russia. Vartanova is also the founder and editor-in-chief of several published and electronic editions, for example: Medi@lmanac, MediaScop and MediaTrends. Her scientific articles, monographs and manuals have been translated into many foreign languages and published all around the world.

Her Aleksanteri conference key-note address is titled:
High or Low? Mass Media as a Driving Force of Contemporary (Russian) Culture

Link to presentation

van der Zweerde

Evert van der Zweerde

Evert van der Zweerde is Professor of Political Philosophy at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He is interested in the various forms of established politics at a variety of levels (regimes and policies, democratic politics, government and opposition, etc.) and the underlying issue of 'the political', i.e. the ubiquitous possibility of conflict. Zweerde has analysed these topics in the contexts of European politics, Russia, the South Caucasus and the Middle East. The themes which he has examined in his numerous publications include the concept of civil society and religious traditions, especially Orthodox Christianity and Islam. He has led research projects on the Russian philosopher/theologian Vladimir Solov'ëv, the 'borders' between Orthodox Christianity and 'the West', repertoires of democracy (as part of a nationwide programme on Contested Democracy), and nation, religion and democracy in the South Caucasus. In all these cases, his focus is on concepts.

His publications include Civil Society, Religion, and the Nation: Modernization in Intercultural Context: Russia, Japan, Turkey (co-ed. with W. Cornelissen and G. Steunebrink, Rodopi 2005), Soviet Historiography of Philosophy. Istoriko-Filosofskaja Nauka (Springer 2010), Orthodox Christianity and Human Rights (co-ed. with A. Brüning, Peeters 2012), Religion, Nation and Democracy in the South Caucasus (co-ed. with A. Agadjanian and A.Jödicke, Routledge 2015), and Futures of Democracy (co-ed. with B. Leijssenaar & J. Martens, Wilde Raven 2015). Zweerde is the co-editor of the serie 'Reframing the Boundaries: Thinking the Political' at the Rowman & Littlefield Publications.

His Aleksanteri conference key-note address is titled:
Democracy in Russia - Perspectives, Expectations, Concepts

Homepage at Radboud University
Conference abstract
Link to presentation

Speakers at the pre-conference round table


Kalle Kniivilä

Kalle Kniivilä was born in Joensuu in eastern Finland. He majored in Eastern European studies, history and Russian at the University of Lund in Sweden. He also studied Russian at Leningrad State University 1989-90. During 1991-92 he was the Moscow correspondent for the Finnish left wing daily Kansan Uutiset. Since 1997 he has been employed by Sydsvenska Dagbladet in Malmö, the largest daily newspaper in the south of Sweden, where he was foreign editor in 2011-2013. Since 2003 he has coordinated several media development projects financed by Swedish International Development Agency in Belarus and Russia. He runs Glasnost.se, the best Russia blog in Sweden, according to the Stockholm daily Svenska Dagbladet.

His first book, Putin's people (fin. Putinin väkeä, Into Kustannus), was published in 2014, simultaneously in Swedish, Finnish and Esperanto. The book received excellent reviews and the Finnish version was awarded the prestigious Kanava price as the best non-fiction book of the year 2014. His second book, Crimea is ours (fin. Krim on meidän - Imperiumin paluu, Into Kustannus), was published simultaneously in Swedish, Finnish and Esperanto on March 18, 2015, the first anniversary of the annexation of Crimea.

Personal homepage


Irina Prokhorova

Irina Prokhorova, literary critic and cultural historian (PhD), is the head of the New Literary Observer magazine and publishing house. In 1992, she founded the first independent academic journal in Russia, Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie (The New Literary Observer), dealing with the theory and history of literature and literary criticism. This periodical has now become the leading Russian intellectual journal covering not only literature, but also offering a picture of contemporary Russian culture and exploring the problems of Russian literature within a wider global cultural context. In 1995, Irina Prokhorova founded a publishing house of the same name. Its activity includes book series ranging from philosophy to children's literature, art studies, modern poetry, new cinema, history, and everyday culture. Ms. Prokhorova is also co-founder of the Mikhail Prokhorov Fund. The priority of the Fund is to support the development of new cultural institutions and initiatives in Russia, as well the promotion of Russian culture in the global intellectual community.

She was honoured by the Government of the Russian Federation for New Literary Observer magazine (2002), and received the independent American award, Liberty, for her contribution to the development of Russo-American cultural relations (2003). In 2005, Ms. Prokhorova became Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France), and a laureate of the Andrey Bely prize for literature (2006). In 2012 she became the Chevalier of the Order of the Legion of Honor of France.

Irina Prokhorova on Mikhail Prohorov Fund


Roman Senchin

Roman Senchin was born and raised in the Republic of Tuva in Siberia. Having completed his engineering studies, he went on to study at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow, where he still lectures today. Nowadays, he also lives in Moscow. He is one of the leading literary luminaries of his generation: his prose works have been awarded several important literary prizes in Russia, and their rights have been sold to several European countries. So far his works have been translated into German, French, Finnish and a number of other languages. He is also a highly acclaimed playwright.

His break-through novel The Eltyshev Family (2010) (rus. Елтышевы, fin. Jeltyševit, erään perheen rappio, Into Kustannus 2015) is a grim story of a family struggling to survive in rural post-Soviet Russia. The uncompromising narrative and unyielding style have been associated with Russia's great realist tradition, and Senchin is frequently associated with the "New Realism" of contemporary Russian literature.

Roman Senchin on Read Russia website


Artemy Troitsky

Artemy Troitsky is a Russian journalist, music critic, concert promoter, broadcaster, and academic who has taught classes on music journalism at Moscow State University. He was born on 1955 in Yaroslavl, but spent most of his formative years in Prague.After moving back to Russia (then the USSR) in 1972, he became the first DJ in Moscow.

Troitsky has been active as the leading expert and promoter of the new Russian music and culture before and after perestroika. In the late 1970s–early 1980s he organized underground concerts and festivals of Soviet rock music bands, among them Mashina Vremeni, Dinamik, Zoopark, and Kino. He was one of the organizers of the Account No. 904 rock concert to raise funds for the victims of the Chernobyl disaster, the first such concert in the Soviet Union. Currently Troitsky is living in Tallinn, Estonia, and works as a lecturer in Tallinn and Helsinki Universities.

He has written the books Back in the USSR: The True Story of Rock in Russia (Omnibus Press, 1987), and Tusovka: Who's Who in the New Soviet Rock Culture (Omnibus Press, 1990). In Finland have also been published Kiinnostavia aikoja (Like 2000), Venäjän viimeinen diversantti (Like 2007), and Venäläinen karmageddon (Into Kustannus 2015).

Artemy Troitsky on Wikipedia