News & Events Archive

In the News & Events Archive you'll find information about past conferences, lectures, seminars and other significant events at the Institute. From 2010 onwards, also research and publication news are included.

Past events by year 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 |2011 | |2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004

News and Events in 2016

Workshop: Digital Research Methods meet Russia and Eastern Europe workshop
TIME: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
VENUE: Aleksanteri Institute Unioninkatu 33, 2nd floor meeting room
The two first talks will be in English, but rest of the talks will be in Finnish.
Sign up for the workshop by November 30, 2016 here:

Kone Foundation’s Board of Trustees awarded 41.6 million EUR to bold initiatives in research and the arts. Grants were awarded to 615 individuals, organisations, and groups. Of the grants, 56% represent research, and 25% the arts. 19% of the grantees were projects combining research and the arts. Among the awarded grants were following research projects led by Docent Anna-Liisa Heusala and Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher Meri Kulmala.

Visiting Fellows' Seminar Series: Ivan Sablin (Higher School of Economics, Saint Petersburg and Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki): Discussing Democracy: Ideas, Institutions, and Practices in North and East Asia, 1905–1917
TIME: 2.15 pm
VENUE: Aleksanteri Institute, Unioninkatu 33, 2nd floor Meeting room

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: Aleksanteri Institute, Conference room, 2nd floor (Unioninkatu 33).
More information

Videos of the Aleksanteri Conference 2016 Life and Death in Russia keynote presentations and roundtable discussion were published on YouTube.

Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen discusses about Arctic intense situtation in the text called Wither the Arctic? Tynkkynen ponders how Finland will survive as the chair of the Arctic Council. The position will last for the 2017-19 term.

Visiting Fellows' Seminar Series: Åse B. Grødeland (Fafo, Norway): Public and Elite Perceptions of the European Court of Human Rights: The Case of the Russian Federation
TIME: 2.15 pm
VENUE: Aleksanteri Institute, Unioninkatu 33, 2nd floor Meeting room

Guest lecture: Catholicism and Enlightenment: Poland-Lithuania in European Context by
Prof. Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski
Time: 16 November, 2016 at 14:15-15.45
Place: Aleksanteri Institute, Conference Room (Unioninkatu 33, 2nd floor)

Guest Lecture by DR. Andrey Rostovtsev (Dissernet): Fake Academic Degrees and Severe Reputation Crisis in the Scientific Community of Russian Federation

TIME: 15th of November 2016 at 10:00
VENUE: Aleksanteri Institute seminar room (Unioninkatu 33, 2nd floor, entrance via the inner courtyard)

Awarding fake academic degrees to politicians, businessmen, doctors in clinics, professors in universities, and teachers in schools, that is, to all those who wish to use their new academic titles to step onto a faster career route, is widely accepted in Russia. Fake academic titles routinely awarded throughout the country. This business based on the manufacture of falsified dissertations. In early 2013, a group of researchers and journalists established a social network called Dissernet. Dissernet is a volunteer-effort free association aimed at making fraud and trickery in the awarding of academic titles transparent and exposed to the public. The scale of academic fraud in Russia has turned out to exceed the most pessimistic expectations. Statistics collected by Dissernet have yielded a number of conclusions discussed here.

Visiting Fellows' Seminar Series: Irina Olimpieva (Centre for Independent Social Research, St. Petersburg, Russia): Trade Unions and Labor Interests Representation in Russia. The Institutional Dilemma

East within Europe – Jean Monnet Module aims to synthesize Eastern European area studies and European integration studies and lighten the role of the former socialist countries in the European integration. It offers a current view to Russia and Eastern Europe through a matter that has only accentuated due to ongoing crisis in Ukraine. The Module consists of three intensive courses of different topics.

Final reports of projects funded by the Prime Minister's Office and coordinated by the Aleksanteri Institute stress the importance of context for understanding contemporary Russia. Russian security policy – research in Finland and development trends in Russia by Anna-Liisa Heusala, Emilia Pyykönen and Markku Kivinen recommends creating a Russian security research strategy in support of the knowledge base for decision-making. Choices made in Finland should take account of the implementation of long-term objectives in Russia. Choices should not be made on the basis of views concerning the current situation alone. After 'hybrid warfare', what next? – Understanding and responding to contemporary Russia by Bettina Renz and Hanna Smith (eds.) sees openness and inclusion of different opinions as an important factor in public debates in the West.


It is a major risk in child welfare reform in Russia to focus on decorative institutional renovation, writes Academy of Finland Post-doctoral Fellow Meri Kulmala.

Aleksanteri Insight 5/2016: Migration and Parallel Legal Orders in Russia



  Issue 3-4 of the Aleksanteri News is out now. This special issue is dedicated mainly to the Aleksanteri Conference 2016 “Life and Death in Russia” and contains the detailed programme of the Conference. The Newsletter also introduces our keynote speakers – prominent names from the research field. The “Face of the Month” is the Aleksanteri Conference Coordinator and Post-Doctoral Researcher Marina Khmelnitskaya. In her interview she comments on the Russian policy-making process, drawing upon examples from the housing sphere.


Speaker of Kazakhstan's Parliament visited University

The speaker of the Lower Chamber of Kazakhstan’s Parliament (Mazhilis) Nurlan Nigmatulin gave a public lecture at the University of Helsinki on 21 October. In his speech, the speaker covered a wide range of topics concerning Kazakhstan’s reforms during its independence and the country’s future directions. He extensively spoke of co-operation between Finland and Kazakhstan, especially in the fields of education and clean technology. The themes are timely because the next world exposition will take place in Astana in the summer 2017. The theme of the exposition is “Future energy” and also Finland will showcase its energy expertise in Kazakhstan’s capital.

Conference: North European and Russian Societies in the Enlightenment:
Modernisation and Cultural transfer

Visiting Fellows' Seminar Series: Regula Zwahlen: The Concept(s) of Freedom in Russian Thought



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.



Russia needs to be understood not only in terms of its formal politics and macro-level developments, but also in terms of everyday micro-level spaces of power, writes Rustam Urinboyev.

Aleksanteri Insight 4/2016: Migration and Parallel Legal Orders in Russia

Visiting Fellows' Seminar Series: Rustam Urinboyev: Establishing 'Uzbek mahalla' via Smartphones and Social Media: Trust, Reciprocity and Obligation among Uzbek Migrant Workers in Moscow
TIME: 2.15 pm
VENUE: Aleksanteri Institute, Unioninkatu 33, 2nd floor Meeting room


Visiting Fellows' Seminar Series: Stefan Guth: Neutrons without Borders. Soviet Nuclear Technodiplomacy across the Bloc Divide and its Post-Soviet Aftermath, 1965–2015
TIME: 2.15 pm
VENUE: Aleksanteri Institute, Unioninkatu 33, 2nd floor Meeting room


Director of Research, Professor Markku Kangaspuro was interviewed for Aleksanteri News 1/2010 when he was starting to head a project within a larger international Memory at War collaborative research project. What does Markku think today as Aleksanteri Institute's strengths throughout its history? What keeps him most motivated in his work? Read it in Faces of Aleksanteri blog!


Aleksanteri Institute together with PONARS Eurasia (New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia), and Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, will run two-days academic workshop entitled Regimes, Institutions, and Change: Post-Soviet Eurasia in Comparative Perspective on 10-11 June 2016 in Helsinki.

Visiting Fellows' Seminar Series: Dr. Vasil Navumau: Forgetting “Ploshcha”: Quest for Alternative Concepts for Analysis of Belarusian Activism after 2010
TIME: 2.15 pm
VENUE: Aleksanteri Institute, Unioninkatu 33, 2nd floor Meeting room

Visiting Fellows' Seminar Series: Dr. Kristen Ghodsee: Sisters in Solidarity: Transnational Socialist Women's Organizing during the Cold War, 1968-1985
TIME: 2.15 pm
VENUE: Aleksanteri Institute, Unioninkatu 33, 2nd floor Meeting room

19.5.2016 at 14.15-15.45
Visiting Fellows Research Seminar with Martin K. Dimitrov: The Politics of Socialist Consumption

The Strategic Research Council (SRC) at the Academy of Finland funds high-quality research that has great societal impact. At its meeting on 9 May, the SRC selected 14 consortia to be included in its strategic research programmes. 

Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen from the Aleksanteri Institute is the leader of one of the work packages of a consortium entitled From Failandia to Winlandia. Professor Tynkkynen's research team looks into issues of energy security and impact through energy, and is funded under the theme of Security in a Networked World.

Read the press release at the Academy of Finland's site.

2.5.2016 at 2-4 pm
Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Recent Developments, a briefing by H.E. Mr. Edward Nalbandian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia

The recent escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the large-scale military hostilities, the extensive use of heavy weaponry, the highest death toll in more than two decades, including among the civilian population, have attracted worldwide attention. The fragile cease-fire agreement signed in 1994 between Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia had never been so drastically challenged. The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs – the USA, Russia and France, have been mandated by the international community to find a peaceful and durable settlement to the conflict.

Chair: Prof. Markku Kivinen, Director, Aleksanteri Institute

Russian Media Lab held a seminar Russian Media Today as part of  UNESCO World Press Freedom Day. More about the project and the seminar at te project site Russian Media Lab.

The call for Aleksanteri Visiting Fellowships for the academic year 2016–2017 was open until 5 February 2016. Altogether 194 applications were sent for the visiting fellowships and we are happy to invite Stacy Closson, Linda J. Cook, Oleksandr Fisun, Stefan Guth, Marcin Kaczmarski, Ilya Kalinin, Luke March, Galina Miazhevich, Ulla Pape, Anna Paretskaya, Olga Shevchenko, Katya Tolstaya and Rustamjon Urinboyev to research visits of one to three months. We sincerely thank all the applicants for their interest in our programme.
Please see the Visiting Fellowships page for more information.

28.4.2016 at 14-16
Aleksanteri institute's 20th anniversary seminar at the University of Helsinki Small Hall (Fabianinkatu 33).

Watch the seminar presentations on YouTube

Read a report in Aleksanteri News 2/2016

Take a look at the anniversary blog Faces of Aleksanteri


Bettina Renz and Hanna Smith at the publishing event at Think Corner on April 22nd.

"Hybrid warfare" has become a label that may be used to describe almost any action in Russia's foreign politics. As such, it does not as much add to our understanding of Russia's actions as blur our vision about what the actual actions are: propaganda, military operations etc. Read Bettina Renz's and Hanna Smith's views on the issue in the report Russian Hybrid Warfare - Going Beyond the Label published on April 22nd.

21.4.2016 at 10-15-11.45
Guest lecture Dr. Ger Duijzings ( Professor in Social Anthropology at the University of Regensburg): "Meeting the extremes and observing the mundane in-between: exploring social inequality in Bucharest”

21.4.2016 at 14.15
Visiting Scholars Research seminar Irina Busygina (Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), Russia)
"Looking at Russia: Why Do Autocracies Impose Sanctions?"

20 April 2016 at 2.00-3.30 pm
Guest lecture by Dr. Petio Petev (Director, Nato and Regional Security Directorate, MFA Bulgaria): "The role of Bulgaria as a member of NATO and the EU in the context of the new challenges for the security in the Black Sea Region”

Wed 23 - Thu 24 March
The Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki 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 Hashimoto and Motohide Saito from Japan, and Markku Kangaspuro, Anna-Liisa Heusala, Hanna Smith, Jussi Lassila, Veli-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

Russian engergy & environment themed Alumni breakfast at Think Corner (Tiedekulma Aleksi) with a presentation by Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen. This time only in Finnish - sorry - so, for more information, please see the Finnish Alumni site.

Visiting Scholars Research seminar with Anatoly Pinsky, the European University at Saint Petersburg (EUSP)
The Leader Will Wither Away: The Leader in the Early Post-Stalin USSR and Implications for the Concept of the Individual 

Northern Europe in the Cold War is a collection of special studies with the common aim of counterbalancing the bias in existing international Cold War historiography. The focus shifts from conflict and confrontation to cooperation and constructive interaction between West and East, and from major actors to smaller states of Northern and Central Europe.

This third volume of the Aleksanteri Cold War Series is edited by Poul Villaume, Ann-Marie Ekengren and Rasmus Mariager.



Early spring of 2016 will give us a chance to congratulate three brand new PhD's in Russian and European Studies. MA Sigrid Kaasik-Krogerus will defend her thesis entitled "Normative Stories of the Formative Moment - Construction of Estonian National Identity in Postimees during the EU Accession Process" in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, on 12 February.

MA Tuomas Laine-Frigren's defence of his dissertation "Searching for the Human Factor: Psychology, Power and Ideology in Hungary during the Early Kádár Period" takes place at the University of Jyväskylä, on 13 February. MA Ira Jänis-Isokangas defended her thesis "Neuvostovallan taistelu huliganismia vastaan 1920-luvulla: käsitteet, politiikka ja käytännön toimet (Soviet power and campaign against hooliganism in the 1920s: concepts, politics, and practices)" on 11 March at the University of Tampere.


The Eurasian Economic Union is Russian instrument in global sphere of interest game, writes Markku Kivinen in issue 1/2016 of Aleksanteri Insight entitled The Eurasian Economic Union and the big integration game

Photo by Veikko Somerpuro


Aleksanteri Insight is a series of expert opinions published by the Aleksanteri Institute. To date, fifteen issues have been published. You can read them all here.


  This year's first issue of Aleksanteri News introduces you to the diversity of research conducted at the Aleksanteri Institute. There are on-going projects about hybrid warfare, media freedom in Central Asia and Urban sustainability in the Arctic, for example. Face of the Month column takes us back in history: Ira Jänis-Isokangas has studied the concept of hooliganism in 1920's Soviet Russia. Why? Take a look at page 2 to see!

Aleksanteri News also has the pleasure to inform you that the Institute is celebrating its 20th anniversary on Thursday, April 28th. Save the date!

Read Aleksanteri News 1/2016 here or get your print copy at one of our upcoming events.


Aleksanteri Conference 2016: Life and Death in Russia - CfP was published on February 23.

The 16th Annual Aleksanteri Conference will take place in Helsinki on 26-28 October 2016. The focus of this year's conference is on welfare and social policies.

Call for panels and papers can now be found at the Conference website: together with detailed instructions and links to submission forms. The deadline for proposals is 15 May 2016.

Keynote speakers of the Aleksanteri Conference include Professor Thomas Remington (Emory University, USA), Professor Linda Cook (Brown University, USA), Professor Göran Therborn (Cambridge University, UK), Dr. Svetlana Stephenson (London Metropolitan University, UK), Professor Chunling Li (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China) and Professor Nataliya Zubarevich (Moscow State University, Russia).

Visiting Scholars Research seminar with Madeleine Reeves, University of Manchester, UK 
Keeping the Road Open: Waiting, Migrating and the Domestication of Hope in Kyrgyzstan

Geopolitical Dimensions of the Conflict in the Donbass Region
of Ukraine

Date and Time: Wednesday 10 February, 2016 at 14.15- 15.45
Aleksanteri Institute (Unioninkatu 33, 2nd floor), Conference Room
Registration by 8 February, 2016

It is almost two years since the beginning of a wave of ambushes on administrative buildings, police stations and border crossings by armed people in eastern Ukraine. Initially situation looked like a conflict between Ukrainian political elites. Soon Russia annexed Crimean peninsula and Ukrainian border guards, army, police suffered significant losses, and could no more control a large part of border with Russia. Today the war in Donbass is often interpreted as realization of well-prepared plans of regional destabilization aiming at achieving certain goals in Russian domestic politics and changing geopolitical settings.

The aim of discussion is to look at the war in eastern Ukraine from two perspectives. First, what is role of geopolitics in Ukrainian history and what impact has war in Donbass on the EU –Ukraine relations? Secondly, what the place of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the broader context of the EU – Russia relations, how does the Russia-Ukraine conflict reflect the changing status of the idea of Europe in Russian identity politics?  


Dr. Olexiy Haran, Professor of Comparative Politics and Founding Director at the School for Policy Analysis, Kyiv Mohyla University

Dr. Sergei Prozorov, lecturer in World Politics at the Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki

Chair: Mr. Arseniy Svynarenko

Concluding Seminar of project MERMAID
(in Finnish)
Programme (pdf)

Call for Aleksanteri Institute Visiting Fellowships 2016-2017 was open until 5 February 2016.

The Aleksanteri Institute’s Visiting Scholars Programme invited applications for Aleksanteri Visiting Fellowships for the academic year 2016-2017 from scholars holding a PhD degree and pursuing research that relates to the Institute's research agenda. Altogether 194 applications were submitted by the deadline. Names of the Visiting Fellows 2016-2017 have now been published on at the programme's site.



Special issue of Europe-Asia Studies introduces key findings of the “Choices of Russian Modernisation” Centre of Excellence.

The character of Russia’s post-Soviet modernisation has been subject to a series of changing interpretations both among Russian political leaders and analysts of Russia. Academic opinions have shifted from the assumption of a transition to Western-style liberal capitalism to Russia’s own different path of transformation. With this complexity in mind a new Finnish Centre of Excellence: Choices of Russian Modernisation was established in 2012, based at the Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki. Its aim was to create a new paradigm for studying Russian modernisation. 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.

Dilemmas of Democracy: Polish Political Scene After the 2015 Parliamentary Elections

Guest lecture by Prof. Leszek Koczanowicz, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities (Faculty in Wroclaw)/ Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies

Place: Aleksanteri Institute (Conference Room), Unionikatu 33, 2nd floor

Prof. Koczanowicz discussed the outcomes of Polish Parliamentary Elections of October 25, 2015. He showed how much they change Polish politics but the main focus was on cultural embedment of Polish politics and its connection to the dominant trends in European politics.

He examined to which extent the conflict between the two major parties is a conflict of cultural values between "modernizers" (Civil Platform) and "conservatives" (Law and Justice) and some features of Polish culture could contribute to the "conservative bias" of Polish political stage which could be the reason for the disappearance of the Left. He also discussed how much Polish politics parallels the general trends in European politics: the rise of populism, the distrust to political elites, the search for new forms of political activity.

Prof. Leszek Koczanowicz is a professor of philosophy and political science at SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities (Faculty in Wroclaw, Poland). Currently he is a EURIAS senior fellow at Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. His interests include: social theory, cultural politics, contemporary social philosophy, and theory of democracy. Leszek Koczanowicz is an author of eight books and numerous articles in Polish and English.

International research seminar
“Between the Carrot and the Stick”: Emerging needs and forms of NGOs in contemporary Russia

Transforming political and legal conditions of contemporary Russia give birth to new strategies of action of NGOs, new senses of independence, professionalization and success of NGOs. New models of collaboration between the state and non-state actors are appearing in Russian society. They question the classical functions and origins of non-governmental sector and simultaneously open up a debate on efficiency and cross-sectorial borders. Ambiguities of legal and political conditions reveal complex structures of the non-governmental sector itself in the Russian hybrid regime, and all over the world.

The conference arranged by Elena Bogdanova (Center for Independent Social Research, St. Petersburg) and Meri Kulmala (Aleksanteri Institute) aims to open up a space for presentations of empirical research of NGOs in contemporary Russia, and to discuss those in terms of conceptions of third sector, civil society, non-governmental organizations and network governance.

Place: University of Helsinki, Main Building, Unioninkatu 34 / Fabianinkatu 33, Auditorium XII

Seminar programme (pdf)

Workshop on public policy-making in Russia:
Policy-making in Russia: objectives, processes and perspectives

The issue of public policy–making in Russia in terms of its objectives, processes and substantive outcomes is currently generating great interest among the scholarly community. This workshop organised by the Aleksanteri Institute joined together the in-house expertise, including Professor Vladimir Gel’man, Dr Andrey Starodubtsev and Dr Marina Khmelnitskaya, with scholars from other departments of the University of Helsinki, Uppsala University and the University of Oxford to explore the nature of policy-making in Russia from the area studies and comparative perspectives. This event also celebrated the publication of “The Policy-Making Process and Social Learning in Russia: the Case of Housing Policy” by Marina Khmelnitskaya, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. More details about the book can be found here.

The programme is available here.

Place: Aleksanteri Institute, Unioninkatu 33, 2nd floor meeting room

Past events by year 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 |2011 | |2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004