News And activities

The CoE organizes various workshops, seminars, courses and meetings. Some of them are open for the wider public and always announced well in advance on this website and on appropriate emailing lists. However, many activities are internal and focus on the participants and partners of the CoE. More information on the CoE’s research can be found on the Research page.


  • Call for Papers for the Aleksanteri Conference 2017 was published on 1 March 2017. The 2017 Aleksanteri Conference will also be the closing conference of the Centre of Excellence.
  • Aleksanteri Conference 2016 keynote presentations and the roundtable discussion available at the Aleksanteri Institute YouTube channel.
  • Recently published books in our new book series with Routledge “Studies in Contemporary Russia”. Read more.
  • The book Migrant Workers in Russia: Global Challenges of the Shadow Economy in Societal Transformation, edited by Senior Researcher Anna-Liisa Heusala and Postdoctoral Researcher Kaarina Aitamurto (Aleksanteri Institute) was published by Routledge on 19.9.2016.
  • New recruitments for the CoE: two post doctoral researchers and two senior researchers.

Forthcoming Events

  • Aleksanteri Conference 2017 "Russia's Choices for 2030" will be held on 25-27 October 2017 Read more.

Past News and Activities

  • Seminar Media, Capital, and Culture: Institutional Spaces in Between by Cluster 5 on 19 May 2017 brought together academic researchers and practitioners of arts and media at the Aleksanteri Institute. In addition to political restrictions, the seminar also highlighted economic practices and policies, which condition freedom of expression. At the roundtable discussion Ivan Kolpakov, Editor-in-Chief of, emphaziced  that he has not experienced direct censorship and can publish freely, but, at the same time, he has to be constantly aware of Russia's legislative processes. Artists Andrei Bogush and Liisa Roberts shared with the audience their aesthetic experience of working at the crossroad of various media.  Ilya Kalinin from the St. Petersburg State University and Vlad Strukov from the University of Leeds commented on the discussion.
  • 1.-2.12.2016 Seminar: New Analytical Perspectives on Civilizational Paradigm. Organised under the auspices of the Centre of Excellence “Choices of Russian Modernization”, cluster on Culture and Philosophy. VENUE: Thursday, Dec 1: Aleksanteri Institute, Conference room, 2nd floor (Unioninkatu 33). Friday, Dec 2: Main Building, Auditorium II, 2nd floor (Senate Square, Unioninkatu 34)
    More information
  • Scientific Advisory Board meeting took place on Saturday, 29 October 2016.
  • Aleksanteri Conference 2016 "Life and Death in Russia" organised by the CoE Cluster 3. Time 26-28 October 2016. Venue: University of Helsinki Main Building, address: Fabianinkatu 33, Helsinki.
  • On 7.-8.10.2016 Conference: North European and Russian Societies in the Enlightenment: Modernisation and Cultural transfer was organised at the Aleksanteri Institute by Cluster 5.
  • A summer symposium for the entire CoE was held in 18-19 August in Tuusula.
  • Aleksanteri Institute & CoE together with PONARS Eurasia (New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia), and Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, ran two-days academic workshop entitled Regimes, Institutions, and Change: Post-Soviet Eurasia in Comparative Perspective on 10-11 June 2016 in Helsinki.
  • CoE also participated in the Aleksanteri Institute's 20th anniversary seminar at the University of Helsinki Small Hall (Fabianinkatu 33) on 28.4.2016.
  • 23-24 March The Aleksanteri Institute & CoE and the Embassy of Japan organized a two-day seminar, "Japanese-Finnish Dialogue on the Changing International Environment" with well-known researchers from both countries. The presentations by Yasuaki Hashimotoand Motohide Saito from Japan, and Markku KangaspuroAnna-Liisa HeusalaHanna SmithJussi LassilaVeli-Pekka Tynkkynen and Jouko Rautava from Finland shed light on issues such as cyber security, hybrid warfare, the migration crisis and energy policy. More information about the seminar
  • Meri Kulmala from cluster 3 organised a brainstorming seminar of the research project "A Child’s Right to A Family: Deinstitutionalization of Child Welfare in Putin’s Russia” on 18.03.2016 in Moscow, Russia.
  • International conference Between the Carrot and the Stick: Emerging needs and forms for non-state actors in contemporary Russia was organised on 28-29 of January 2016.
  • 28.1.2016 Seminar "Policy-making in Russia: objectives, processes and perspectives" was organised in Helsinki, Finland.
  • A newly published special issue of Europe-Asia Studies “Russian Modernisation – Structures and Agencies” (Vol. 68, Issue 1, 2016), introduces some of the most significant examples of the output of the CoE’s research.
  • Researchers from the CoE together with the researchers of environmental change have published a manifest, "Grand Challenges and Northern Societies". Read more from the RussiaHUB pages (in Finnish, the manifest in English).
  • A new postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Marina Khmelnitskaya from Oxford University, will start working with the CoE until the end of 2017. Dr. Khmelnitskaya's project title is Tools of government for the Russian modernisation.
  • The first issue in the CoE's publication series at Ashgate Publishing will be out next year. It will be Kaarina Aitamurto's excellent study into the modern Pagan faith in Russia, Paganism, Traditionalism, Nationalism: Narratives of Russian Rodnoverie. Read more about the book here.
  • The manifest "Grand Challenges and Northern Societies" has been published. Read more.
  • A workshop, "Culture and Institutions in Post-Soviet Russia", organised jointly by CoE clusters 3 and 5, will be held on 10-11 December at the Aleksanteri Institute. For a full programme, see here (pdf). For more information, please contact Saara Ratilainen (
  • The Aleksanteri Conference was held on 21-23 October 2015 in Helsinki, with the theme "Culture and Russian Society". See more here.
  • A seminar "Inequalities and Institutions - China and Finland Compared" was held in cooperation with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in Helsinki on 8-10 September 2015.
  • Many of the CoE researchers participated in the ICCEES conference in Makuhari, Japan, 3-8 August 2015.
  • A symposium for the entire CoE was held in Sannäs, Porvoo, 11-12 June 2015.
  • A planning seminar for the board was held in St. Petersburg 20-21 April 2015.
  • A new special issue published! Energy Policy vol. 74 "European and Asian Energy Markets: Too Many or Too Few Institutions", ed. by Pami Aalto and Kim Talus.
  • Two senior researchers have been recruited by the CoE, Dr. Anna-Liisa Heusala for the period of 1.1.2015-31.12.2016 and Dr. Jukka Pietiläinen for the period of 1.1.2015-31.12.2015. We'd like to thank all candidates for good applications.
  • Two new special issues by the Centre of Excellence were published. The special issue of Baltic Worlds can be read here, and the special issue of Demokratizatsiya is also out (see journal webpages).
  • Seminar "The Transforming International Energy Agenda", 11 December at 9.30-12.00, University of Tampere. Programme and more information here.
  • Seminar "The Regional Dimension of Russian Politics: Comparative Perspectives", 5 December, 2014 at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki (Unioninkatu 33, 2nd floor meeting room).
  • The Aleksanteri Conference "Restructuring State and Society in Russia", 22-24 October, 2014 at the University of Helsinki. Organised by CoE cluster 2.
  • CoE Summer Symposium, 21-22 August 2014, Porvoo.
  • Seminar "Educational Reforms in Contemporary Russia: Neoliberal Ideology, Authoritarianism and Social Change". June 3, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. (Cluster 2). For more information on the programme and how to register, see here.
  • Seminar "The Shrew Untamed: Cultural Mechanisms of Political Protests in Russia and the World". May 26-27, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki (Clusters 2 & 5). For more information, see here.
  • CoE research seminars:
    2 April at 10-13
    6 May at 10-16
    22 May at 10-12
  • Workshop "Living With Risk: Welfare, State and Society in Post-Socialism"
    10-11 April 2014, Aleksanteri Institute, 2nd floor meeting room. Programme
  • Workshop "Evolution of the Hybrid Development Model: A Broader Perspective"
    23 April, 2014
    For further information, please contact katalin.miklossy at or markku.kangaspuro at
  • Lecture Series "Social Justice, Families and Politics in Russia Today" (Cluster 3)
    18-19 March 2014
    Prof. Mikhail Chernysh (Institute of Social Sciences, RAS, Moscow)
    Aleksanteri Institute, 2nd floor conference room
  • Seminar Russia, Spatiality, and Modernization (Clusters 4 and 5)
    30-31 January 2014
    Aleksanteri Institute, Conference Room, 2nd floor
    For more information, please contact Sanna Turoma ( or Sirke Mäkinen (
  • Guest lecture (Cluster 5): Nadezhda M. Lebedeva (HSE, Moscow): Роль культурных факторов в русской модернизации
    19.11.2013 at 18-20 in Metsätalo (Unioninkatu 40), 4th floor, Seminar room 22
  • Guest lecture (Cluster 5): Yury Zaretskiy (HSE, Moscow): The Policy of the Russian State towards Universities: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day
    5.11.2013 at 18-20 in Metsätalo (Unioninkatu 40), 4th floor, Seminar room 22
  • 23.-25.10.2013 Aleksanteri Conference 2013 in Helsinki:
    Russia and the World
  • Meeting of the International Advisory Board 26.10.2013
  • 20.-21.8.2013 CoE Summer Symposium in Kirkkonummi (internal)
  • 24.-25.5.2013 Final conference of the CERES Network in Helsinki:
    Nordic Russian and Eastern European Studies Conference, Intentions, Interactions and Paradoxes in Post-Socialist Space
  • Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board, 12 .11.2012
  • Seminar "Mitä modernisaatio on" (Klusteri 5), 23.10.2012, Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40
  • Workshop "Changing State-Society Relationships in Russia", University of Helsinki, 12.-13.10. 2012 (Cluster 2)
  • Guest lecture by Prof. David Lane (Emmanuel College, Cambridge), "What Next for Russia?"
  • Seminar "Russia as a Great Power: Challenges of Modernisation" (Cluster 4), University museum Arppeanum, Helsinki 6.9.2012
  • The first CoE research seminar 15.8.2012 in Helsinki.
  • FiDiPro Professorship for Vladimir Gel'man 25.6.2012
  • Members of the CoE nominated 25.6.2012
  • Meeting of the International Advisory Board 25.6.2012


Studies in Contemporary Russia (Routledge) is a series of cutting-edge, contemporary studies on modern Russia. Monographs, joint publications and edited volumes will branch out into various disciplines. They combining research methods and theories to approach the core questions of Russian modernisation; how do the dynamics of resources and rules affect the Russian economy and what are the prospects and needs of diversification? What is the impact of the changing state-society relationship? How does the emerging welfare regime work? What is the role of Russia in contemporary international relations? How should we understand the present Russian political system? What is the philosophical background of modernisation as a whole, and its Russian version in particular?
The editor of the series is Markku Kivinen, director of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies “Choices of Russian Modernisation”.

Aitamurto, Kaarina: Paganism, Traditionalism, Nationalism: Narratives of Russian Rodnoverie. Routledge: Studies in Contemporary Russia, 2016. ISBN 9781472460271. 222 pages.
Gel’man, Vladimir (ed.): Authoritarian Modernization in Russia: Ideas, Institutions, and Policies. Routledge: Studies in Contemporary Russia, 2016. ISBN 9781472465412. 214 pages.
Granberg, Leo & Sätre, Ann-Mari: The Other Russia: Local Experience and Societal Change. Routledge: Studies in Contemporary Russia, 2016. ISBN 9781472476890. 194 pages.
Lehtisaari, Katja & Mustajoki, Arto (eds.): Philosophical and Cultural Interpretations of Russian Modernisation. Routledge: Studies in Contemporary Russia, 2016. ISBN 9781472472120. 210 pages.
Starodubtsev, Andrey: Federalism and Regional Policy in Contemporary Russia. Routledge: Studies in Contemporary Russia. Forthcoming on Dec 28, 2016. ISBN 9781472461506. 186 pages.

Two post-doc researchers recruited in the CoE


Dr. Elena Minina and Dr. Suvi Kansikas were chosen among the dozens of excellent candidates as the new members of the Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies. Dr. Minina's research theme is Money versus the Soul: Neoliberal Economics in Contemporary Public Discourse in Russia. Dr. Kansikas's research is entitled The Eurasian Economic Union: A Russian model of integration and its effects on the European Union. Both themes fit perfectly into the framework of the Center of Excellence, and bring a valuable addition to the CoE's research profile.

SAB meeting in Helsinki


The Scientific Advisory Board of the CoE held its first meeting in Helsinki on November 12, 2012 to discuss the structure and forthcoming plans of the Centre. The day was highly successful, with productive in-depth discussions on the scientific substance and functioning of the Centre of Excellence. It was also noteworthy that the entire SAB was able to join the meeting - including such prominent international names in the field as Göran Therborn, Richard Sakwa and Alena Ledeneva in addition to the key members of the Finnish scientific community in REES studies.

IAB meeting in Helsinki


The International Advisory Board held its first meeting in Helsinki June 1, 2012 to discuss the concept of Modernisation and the research aims of the Centre of Excellence. The IAB members Linda Cook, Olga Malinova, Sergei Medvedev, Richard Sakwa, Jutta Scherrer and Alexei Yurchak participated in the meeting in addition to members of the CoE Board.

FiDiPro Professorship for Vladimir Gel'man


Professor Vladimir Gelman (leader of cluster 2) has been awarded with Finnish Distinguished Professorship for years 2013-2017.


Members for the CoE Nominated


Members of the CoE have been nominated. Please, see Organisational structure for a complete list of members in each cluster. (NB! subject to change throughout the lifetime of the CoE). Read more about the commitment levels.

Summer School


The very first CoE summer school, entitled "Choices of Modernisation" was held in Geta, Åland Islands June 3-8, 2012 jointly with the Finnish Graduate Programme on Russian and East European studies coordinated by the Aleksanteri Institute.

Doctoral students from Finland, Russia, Sweden, Estonia and the UK participated in the international course. Keynote speakers were among others Linda Cook (US), Alexander Etkind (UK) and Vladimir Gelman (RUS), Markku Kivinen and Arto Mustajoki. Intensive work during five days in the landscape of Havsvidden produced interesting scholarly discussions of the theme of Modernisation as well as new approaches to the Finnish sauna culture and ukulele music.

The CoE in Think Corner


The CoE on display in the Helsinki University Think Corner from 27 February to 9 March.


The CoE Launches


The new Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies, Choices of Russian Modernisation, coordinated by the Aleksanteri Institute and funded by the Academy of Finland and the University of Tampere, has now launched its activities. The kick-off seminar took place on February 2, 2012 in Helsinki and marked the starting-point for the CoE research work.

Forthcoming events include CoE seminars and the first CoE Summer School in early June in the Åland Islands, organised jointly with the Finnish Graduate Programme for Russian and East European Studies. The title of the summer school is Choices of Modernisation. More information on the event will be given soon.

The next Board meeting takes place on March 29, 2012.