Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
tel. +358-(0)50-563 63 07

Eeva Korteniemi
tel. +358-(0)50-4150 571

aleksanteri-fellows [at]

Aleksanteri Institute
P.O.Box 42 (Unioninkatu 33)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

aleksanteri [at]
firstname.lastname [at]

Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2015-2016

Magdalena Leichtova, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Czech Republic  

“Defining Russia through Ukraine”
(mid-August – mid-September 2015)

Magda Leichtova is Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Her research focuses on the Russian political transformation, Russian foreign policy and International Relations theories. She was the Project Leader for the ESF grant on modernizing teaching methods and the Principal Investigator in several research projects. She has been Deputy Head of Department in 2011-2014. She published her book Misunderstanding Russia in 2014 with Ashgate Publishing.

Short description of ongoing research:
In my dissertation research and follow-up research project I analyzed how switches and twists in national identity formation impact praxis of Russian foreign policy. I tried to interpret the instabilities in Russian-Western relations as part of deeper internal discussions whether Russia is part of the West, part of the East or specific unit of the international relations and who are its allies and enemies. In current research – part of which is my visit to Aleks anteri Institute - I focus on Ukrainian crisis as a cornerstone of Russian identity search. I focus on how Russian elites interpret the Ukrainian claims, how they represent historical events, what is their reasoning for Russian rights and claims and what picture of outer world they construct. Ukrainian crisis created not only challenge but also opportunity for Russian leaders to intensify their “nation building” activities and also limit the foreign influences over this process.

Dr. Leichtova's visiting fellowship is supported by the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian studies - Choices of Russian Modernisation.

Email: leicht [at]

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Hanna Smith and Tuomas Forsberg