The home of the Master's programme Russian Studies is the Aleksanteri Institute, the largest and best-known European research institute of Russian studies. Aleksanteri is dedicated to Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian studies, forming an active, international community that hosts a Visiting Fellow Programme, organises the annual Aleksanteri Conference plus other research seminars and workshops, and also accommodates warm, friendly, social gatherings.

The Institute promotes research networking in Finland and abroad. The Visiting Fellows programme is an important part of our research activities by providing us with fruitful international connections. Every year, the Institute participates in several non-academic research projects in cooperation with the Finnish Government, business, or NGO communities. These projects channel Finnish expertise for the benefit of society at large, and cooperation is promoted between interested parties in Finland, the EU, and target countries. Training projects, seminars and database projects, many of which involve research, are typical examples of this kind of activity.

In the Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies, modernisation in Russia is understood as a set of choices made under certain structural conditions. As the traditional frameworks, theories and concepts of individual disciplines are clearly inadequate for analysing the contradictory developments in Russia, the Centre of Excellence strives to redefine the agenda on Russian modernisation. The multidisciplinary research conducted in the Centre of Excellence will produce a new paradigm into Russian studies. At the same time, it will also provide a new platform for policy implications at the most fundamental level of EU-Russia relations. 

Russia is now undergoing a major child welfare reform. From 2010, the Russian government has made new openings that turn attention to so-called disadvantaged families and vulnerable children, especially those left without parental care. The on-going reform on the idea of every child’s right to grow up in a family and it strives to dismantle the massive system of children homes by promoting domestic adoptions, developing foster family system and creating support services for families to prevent “social orphanhood” (sotsial’noe sirotstvo). Read more about the project A Child's Right to a Family!

The main research question we aim to answer as a Research Group is: What are the societal effects of and responses to the ongoing environmental change in Russia and the post-Socialist space? We approach this question via three specific topical areas: space & resources; people & nature; energy & climate. Space and resources is about environmental governance and planning of physical urban and rural space and, therefore, also of natural resources. People and nature quests for unfolding human – nature interactions, as well as health of human populations and natural ecosystems. Energy and climate heads towards understanding the role of Russia and the post-Socialist space as source of security and resilience, as well as of risk and conflict via the intertwinement of the energy issues with the global climate change. Read more about the projects run by the Research Group on the Russian Environment!

“Culture in Putin’s Russia: Institutions, Industries, Policies” aims to produce a critical and comprehensive account of reforms and transformations that have taken place in Russian cultural institutions in the 2000s. The project will enrich our understanding of Russian cultural politics and institutional developments in the age of neoliberal globalisation, post-industrial consumerism, multiculturalism, and transnational identities. The analysis of cultural institutions encompasses formal institutions associated with state funding and/or citizen and volunteer activities, as well as creative industries and the policies governing them.”

Migration, Shadow Economy and Parallel Legal Orders in Russia, funded by the Kone Foundation and the University of Helsinki, is a research project being conducted at the Aleksanteri Institute during the years 2017–2021. This project aims to examine undocumented labour migrants' legal culture and socio-legal integration in a politically hybrid regime. The project uses the case of Russia, a hybrid political regime and the world's second largest recipient of labour migrants, to investigate how undocumented migrants negotiate and manoeuvre around the restrictive socio-legal environment through producing new ways of informal governance and legal order.

Russian Media Lab is a multidisciplinary research project focusing on Russian media and freedom of expression. The research team will examine the execution of state control mechanisms, censorship, and the remaining free spaces of independent reporting. The project envisions to deepen the Russian expertise of Finnish journalists through facilitating interaction between Finnish media, researchers, and students.