Conference e-mail


The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki

aleksanteri [at]

Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Life and Death in Russia


Time and venue: 26-28 October 2016, University of Helsinki, Finland
Organiser: Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki and Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies - Choices of Russian Modernisation
Press release in Finnish and in English

The Aleksanteri Institute at the University of Helsinki will hold the 16th Annual International Aleksanteri Conference, October 26-28, 2016. The conference will bring together scholars, experts and advanced graduate students from a variety of disciplines within the social sciences, law and economics.

Russia’s transition to a market economy resulted in an exceptionally dramatic social crisis: increases in poverty, inequality and mortality. Since the collapse of communism, Russian welfare struc­tures have undergone constant reform and the state’s social responsibilities have shifted back and forth among various governmental levels. After the post-Soviet liberalisation of the welfare state, the Putin administration has increasingly emphasised welfare questions. Yet, the overall picture does not look as prom­ising as one would assume after such substantial attention and economic growth in the first decade of the 2000’s.

This year’s Aleksanteri Conference Life and Death in Russia focuses on various dimensions of Russian welfare and social policy. Conference participants will examine the key problem areas of welfare in the country - such as health issues, mortality and inequality - and the state policies aiming to resolve these problems, institutional building in the area of welfare, the dynamics linking social policy and demography, and the issue of political and social stability/predictability of social development and economics.

We approach this topic with the following questions in mind. What are the major challenges to welfare in Russia? Is there a coherent set of social policies which has emerged from the Russian state? How well do government policies reflect the real needs of different groups within the society and how can those needs be defined? How political is Russian social policy-making? Which actors and institutions are the main drivers of the agenda? How important is the regional dimension? Can we speak of a specific social policy component to contemporary Russian economic development?

The conference committee suggests the following sub-themes for consideration:

  • Russian welfare regime: welfare state and its design
  • Areas of social policy: health care, education, pensions, social security and housing
  • Demography: fertility, mortality and migration
  • Patterns of social inequality
  • Family and gender
  • Labour market, industrial relations, trade unions and employers/industry    organisations
  • Policy-making process in the social sphere: actors, ideas and institutions
  • Role of civil society: NGOs and interest groups
  • Economic resources and welfare

Download printable pdf here

In addition to plenum sessions, there will be panels gathered on a call-for-papers basis. Individual proposals for papers are also welcome.

Panel proposals (max. 500 words): May 15, 2016
Abstracts for individual papers (max. 300 words): May 15, 2016
Notification of acceptance: June 17, 2016
Online registration and registration fees due by: September 12, 2016
Conference programme will be published by September 20, 2016
Conference: October 26-28, 2016

Conference participants (paper presenters, chairs and discussants): 100 Euros
Graduate students, participants from ex-Soviet countries or with an income of less than 30.000 euros: 50 Euros
Accompanying persons and observers not presenting a paper: 25 Euros
Keynote speakers, pre-conference roundtable speakers, media, Aleksanteri Institute students and staff and other invited participants: FREE

Panels sessions will last 90 minutes each:
Panelists: 20 minutes
Discussant: 10 minutes

The chair will introduce the panel and its participants. Each panelist will have a maximum of 20 minutes for their presentations. The discussant will have 10 minutes to give their comments.
The papers will be circulated amongst panel chairs and discussants prior to the conference.

The working language of the conference is English. Unfortunately no translation can be provided.

There is a PC and a projector in every lecture hall.

Participants are requested to make their own arrangements for travel and accommodation and cover the costs related to participation. Information on hotels will be provided later on the conference webpage. For Helsinki hotel and tourism information, please see

Participants and observers who do not wish to give a paper or organise a panel or a workshop are also welcome to take part in the Conference. All conference participants are required to register. Please see the ‘Registration rates’ section above for details.

For further information, or if you wish to ask any questions, please contact the conference coordinator at Aleksanteri Conference:


On behalf of the organizing committee,
Markku Kivinen, Director, Aleksanteri Institute (Chair)
Meri Kulmala, Post-doctoral Researcher, Aleksanteri Institute (Vice Chair)
Marina Khmelnitskaya, Post-doctoral Researcher, Aleksanteri Institute (Coordinator)

The Aleksanteri Conference is an annual, multidisciplinary, international conference organised by the Aleksanteri Institute, the Finnish Centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies, affiliated with the University of Helsinki. Aleksanteri Conferences have attracted broad interest among researchers and policy-makers in a wide variety of disciplines, both in Finland and abroad, who are interested in the development of post-socialist countries.