A Global Look at Russia: Regional and International Dynamics in Politics and Economy

What is going on in US-Russia relations? How are Russia’s neighbours adapting their relations to Russia, in the changing global and regional settings? Is neo-authoritarian culture here to stay? The Aleksanteri Institute's Visiting Fellows Programme celebrated its 10th anniversary bringing leading experts from Europe and the US to Helsinki to discuss the current developments and hidden connections in an afternoon seminar.

Time: 23 August 2017 at 13:00-17:00
Venue: University of Helsinki Main Building, Small Hall, 4th floor, Fabianinkatu 33, Helsinki.


Printer friendly programme (pdf)

13:00 Session I
Chair: Hanna Smith (Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki)

Welcoming words
Markku Kivinen, Director of the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki

Opening comments
Margarita Balmaceda (Seton Hall University/Harvard University, USA)
Jeremy Morris (Aarhus University, Denmark)

Roundtable: Interests, Actors, and Perceptions: Russia seen from Central Asia, South Caucasus, Ukraine, Belarus and the European Union
Luca Anceschi (University of Glasgow, UK), Irina Busygina (Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia), Margarita Balmaceda (Seton Hall University/Harvard University, USA), Ulrike Ziemer (University of Winchester, UK), Vlad Strukov (University of Leeds, UK)

15:00 Coffee

15:30 Session II
Chair: Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen (Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki)

Panel: Weaving the Fabric of Global and Regional Economy and Politics 
Elena Trubina (Ural Federal University, Russia): From Sochi-2014 to the FIFA World Cup-2018: Connecting the Neo-Liberal Sports Industries and Neo-Authoritarian Regimes
Luca Anceschi (University of Glasgow): Central Asian Cooperation and Putin’s Eurasian Economic Union – Competing Integrations?
Regina Smyth (Indiana University, USA): US-Russia Relations in the Trump Era: Domestic Politics and International Goals

17:00 Drinks reception


Luca Anceschi lectures in Central Asian Studies at the University of Glasgow, UK, where he also co-edits Europe-Asia Studies, the world’s leading academic journal for the study of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. His research centres on the Politics and International Relations of post-Soviet Central Asia, with particular reference to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – the region's main energy exporters. His first book Turkmenistan’s Foreign Policy – Positive Neutrality and the Consolidation of the Turkmen regime (Routledge 2008), represented the first book-length account of Turkmen foreign policy published in Western languages. His recent journal publications include ‘The Persistence of Media Control under Consolidated Authoritarianism: Containing Kazakhstan’s Digital Media’, in Demokratizatsiya, 2015, 23(3).

Margarita Balmaceda is Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Seton Hall University, USA, and an Associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University. Her research focuses on political economy and comparative energy politics of the post-Soviet states. Among her recent books are Living the High Life in Minsk: Russian Energy Rents, Domestic Populism and Belarus’ Impending Crisis (Central European University Press, 2014) and The Politics of Energy Dependency: Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania Between Domestic Oligarchs and Russian Pressure, University of Toronto Press, 2013). She has conducted extensive research in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Moldova and Hungary. Her new book project, Chains of Value, Chains of Power:  Russian Energy, Value Chains and the Remaking of Social Relations from Vladivostok to Brussels, uses anthropology, critical geography and economics perspectives to gain new insights on the power of energy as unfolding through value-added and production chains.

Irina Busygina is Professor at the Department of Political Science, Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her research interests include Russia-EU relations, Russian politics, Russian foreign policy, comparative federalism and regionalism. Her publications have appeared in journals such as Europe-Asia Studies, Journal of Borderland Studies, and Journal of Eurasian Studies. Her recent books include Political Modernization of the State in Russia: Necessity, Directions, Costs and Risks (“Liberal Mission” Foundation, 2012, co-author Mikhail Filippov), and Russia-EU Relations and the Common Neighborhood; Coercion vs. Authority (Routledge, 2017).

Jeremy Morris
is an ethnographer of post-socialist societies and Associate Professor of Global Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark. His research focuses on ‘actually lived experience’ in Russia and post-socialist states, particularly in relation to work, class and the informal economy. He has authored a number of books and articles including Everyday Postsocialism: Working-class Life Strategies in the Russian Margins (Palgrave, 2016). He is the co-editor of New Media in New Eurasia (Routledge, 2015); The Informal Postsocialist Economy: Embedded Practices and Livelihoods (Routledge, 2014) and Informal Economies in Post-Socialist Spaces: Practices, Institutions and Networks (Palgrave, 2015).

Regina Smyth
is Associate Professor of Politics and Director of the Russian Studies Workshop (RSW) at Indiana University, USA. She is currently completing a book on the evolution of Russian politics between 2011 and 2017. The foundation of the book’s argument is laid out in a series of articles and book chapters, including, ‘Navalny’s Gamesters: Protest, Opposition Innovation, and Authoritarian Stability in Russia’ published in Russian Politics in 2016 and ‘Looking beyond the Economy: Pussy Riot and the Kremlin's Voting Coalition’ published in Post-Soviet Affairs in 2014. Her current research focus is a comparative study of Hong Kong, Russia, Romania, and Ukraine that explores the factors that shape individual engagement and attitudes toward politics after major protest events. She continues to write on Russian regional politics through the lens of electoral competition.

Vlad Strukov, University of Leeds, is Associate Professor in Film and Digital Culture and Director of the Leeds Russian Centre (Russia[n] in the Global Context). He specializes in world cinemas, visual culture, digital media, intermediality and cultural theory. He explores theories of empire and nationhood, global journalism and grassroots media, consumption and celebrity by considering the Russian Federation and the Russian-speaking world as his case study. His recent books include Contemporary Russian Cinema: Symbols of a New Era (Edinburgh UP, 2016) and Russian Aviation, Space Flight and Visual Culture (Routledge, 2016).

Elena Trubina
is Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM, Vienna) and Professor of Social Theory, and Philosophy at the Ural Institute for Humanities (Ural Federal University, Russia). Her current research interests include topics such as comparing the Global South and the Global East (the post-socialist countries); Mega-Events and their controversies; Creative cities and creative industries as part of neoliberal urban policy; Collective memory, traumas and narratives; Anthropology in the intellectual history of the 20th century. Her recent publications include ‘Manipulating the Neoliberal Rhetoric: Clientelism in the Run-up of International Summits in Russia’, European Urban and Regional Studies, 2015, 2, Vol. 22(2), and ‘Городская антропология: сложное наследство специализации’, Этнографическое обозрение, 2016, № 4 [“Urban anthropology: the complicated legacy of the discipline].

Ulrike Ziemer is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the Department of Politics and Society at the University of Winchester. Her expertise lies in the sociology of identity and culture, with specific interest in race/ethnicity, diaspora, migration and gender in Russia and the South Caucasus. Her research explores the processes of social transformation in Russian society, and more recently in the South Caucasus. She is currently conducting research on women and socio-political transformations in Armenia and Nagorny Karabakh. Her publications include ‘Unsettled Identity Negotiations: The Armenian Diaspora in Krasnodar Krai’ in K. Siekirski and S. Troebst (eds.), Armenians in Post-Socialist Europe (Boehlau Verlag, 2016), and ‘Emotions, Loss and Change: Armenian Women and Post-Socialist Transformations in Nagorny Karabakh’, (co-author Shahnazarian, N.), in Caucasus Survey, 2014, Vol 2(1-2).

The Aleksanteri Institute Visiting Fellows Programme provides an opportunity for highly qualified scholars in Russian and Eastern European studies to visit the Aleksanteri Institute and the University of Helsinki for a period of one to three months. Starting from the academic year 2008–2009, the Visiting Fellows Programme has hosted over 120 Visiting Fellows working on various fields and themes within the social sciences and humanities, and representing 29 countries from Europe through North America to China.

For more information:
Anna Korhonen, Head of International Affairs
Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki
Tel. +358 (0)2941 23652