Research staff and experts A-K

The Aleksanteri Institute is an academic community of close to 60 researchers and other experts in Russian and Eastern European Studies. We share a multidisciplinary approach to the social, political and cultural phenomena. Our internationally renowned research covers the study of politics, history, civil society, regimes, culture, environment and the media.  A notable part of the Institute's activities stems from its role as a national centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies: we coordinate nationwide research and study programmes and provide information services for a network of Finnish universities.

For technical reasons our staff have been alphabetically listed on two separate pages. Research staff and experts with surnames beginning with letters from L to Ö are to be found via this link. If you are searching for the right person to contact regarding study programmes, information services etc, you might find the information easier via INSTITUTE > Contact Information.

NB! Email addresses follow the pattern unless otherwise indicated. If you have trouble finding the right expert, please contact information specialist Niina Into.

Research coordinator, Senior researcher

I am a scholar of religion, but my research is characterized by interdisciplinarity approach that combines theoretical insights and methodological tools from both social sciences and humanities. In addition to religiosity, my research interests include such topics as nationalism and migration. My areas of expertise are Islam and contemporary Paganism in Russia. In my current research, I focus on the governance and the representation of Islam in contemporary Russia. In addition, I participate in the project “Migration, Shadow Economy and Parallel Legal Orders in Russia”.

Starting on August 2019, I am working as the acting research coordinator. In this position, I perform administrative and operational duties, but I am also engaged in planning and developing the research at the Aleksanteri Institute.

I am co-editing Aleksanteri Insight with my colleague Dmitry Yagodin and the Religion and Spirituality in Russia & Eastern Europe with Maija Penttilä. In addition, I am a member of the editorial boards of the journal Transcultural Studies.  I hold the title of Docent in Study of Religions at the University of Helsinki.

Room 220

Tel. +358 44 395 6120

Kaarina Aitamurto: Research outputs, projects, activities, press media
Kaarina Aitamurto: Contact information

University Lecturer, Director of the International MA programme in Russian Studies, Vice-director of the Aleksanteri Institute

I am a historian with a strong focus on economic modernisation in the Soviet Union and Russia, especially the economic history of the Cold War and the transfer of technology between East and West during the Cold War. Currently I’m focusing on economic modernisation, the innovative economy and digitalisation in Russia.

As a director of the international MA programme in Russian Studies, I am in charge of the planning and realisation of the programme. I also teach on the Russian Studies programme and other study programmes at the University of Helsinki. Since 2018, I also hold a Visiting International Professor (VIP) grant at the Ruhr-University in the Bochum Research School PLUS Ph.D. training. 

In 2012-2017 I worked as a research coordinator of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies “Choices of Russian Modernisation”. I am a research member of the Finnish Historical Society (by invitation), a member of the advisory board of the Slavonic Library, a member of the scholarly editorial council of the journal Baltic Worlds and member of the advisory board of the journal Scandia. I am also member of the Finnish-Russian commission for scientific-technical cooperation, social sciences group (by invitation) and hold the title of Docent in General History at the University of Tampere.

Since April 2018 I've taken on the responsibilities ot vice-director at the Aleksanteri Institute.

Room 231
Tel. +358 50 319 9365

Sari Autio-Sarasmo: Research outputs, projects, activities, press media
Sari Autio-Sarasmo: Contact information



I work in the reference library of the Aleksanteri Institute.

I am a second-year student in the Master’s in Russian Studies programme (MARS) at the University of Helsinki. Drawing from my background in biological sciences, my focuses are disease and public health in Russia. Along with assisting researchers and students in accessing the library services, I’m available to proofread English-language documents.


Room 141 (Library)

Post-Doctoral Researcher

I am working as a post-doctoral researcher on the “Live, Work or Leave? Youth – wellbeing and the viability of  (post) extractive Arctic industrial cities in Finland and Russia” project at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. I also work as a research associate at Center for Arctic Social Studies, European University St Petersburg. My research focuses on human—environmental interaction in the Arctic and on sense of place in northern industrial communities. 

Room: 305
Tel: +79500277551

Postdoctoral Researcher

I work at the intersection of media studies, economic sociology and political economy, studying media markets in Russia. Since September 2018, I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute (Russian Media Lab: Freedom of Speech and Critical Journalism in Russia) where I am studying hyperlocal media in Russia, their social meanings, technological challenges and economic constraints. My research focuses on how internet and digital technologies affect regional and local media landscape. 

Before coming to Helsinki, I have been lecturing and running seminars in both Russian and English language in Media Studies at Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia, 2013-2018). I have previously conducted research on state support of regional media in contemporary Russia. I defended my dissertation, “Transformation of structural links between media companies and the state on Russian regional media market”, at HSE in 2018.

Room 319   
Tel. TBA          

Doctoral student

I joined the research project AUCAM (Opportunities for and challenges to urban development and social cohesion in Russia’s Arctic under climate change impacts) led by professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen,  in November 2018. My dissertation focuses on the role played by institutions and gas–extractive projects in the sustainable development of the urban areas of the Yamalo–Nenets Autonomous District in the Russian Arctic region.

Email: francesco.durante(at)
Room 306

Postdoctoral Researcher

I defended my doctoral dissertation “Securitized Migration: Russian Policies in Dealing with Labour Migrants from Central Asia” in the University of Tsukuba, Japan, in 2018. My research interests include migration, religion and migration, religious extremism, and societal change in Uzbekistan.

As a postdoctoral researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute, I will work as a member of the Migration, Shadow Economy and Parallel Legal Orders in Russia project. I will work on turning my dissertation into a book and publishing our research findings together with colleagues.

Room 204

Professor of Russian Politics

My work as professor of Russian Politics focuses on issues such as political regime dynamics, political institutions, governance and policy-making, elections, political parties and political protests, and sub-national politics in Russia. During 2012-2017, I served as the Finland Distinguished Professor at the Aleksanteri Institute and was a cluster leader in the Centre of Excellence “Choices of Russian Modernisation”, funded by the Academy of Finland. I taught at the European University in St. Petersburg as professor of political science and specialized on Russian politics in a theoretical and comparative perspective. I also have expertise in authoritarianism, electoral and party politics, contentious politics, and regional and local government.

I am an author and/or editor of more than twenty books and author of more than 150 research articles, published in English, Russian, Finnish, and other languages. My current research concentrates on political and institutional foundations of quality of governance and policy conduct in Russia and post-Soviet Eurasia.

My teaching duties include classes on the international MA Programme in Russian Studies as well as other special courses and programmes coordinated by the Aleksanteri Institute. I’m also a co-director of FRRESH (Finnish-Russian Network for Russian and Eurasian Studies in Social Science and Humanities) and YRUSH (Young Russian Scholars Helsinki Visiting Fellowship programme), both projects funded by the Kone Foundation.

Room 218
Tel. +358 50 318 5701

Vladimir Gel'man: Research outputs, projects, activities, prizes, press media
Vladimir Gel'man: Contact information

Research Assistant

I am a Master of Social Sciences and I am working as a research assistant for professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen and his team on the Arctic projects, namely:

Tel. +358 50 376 4267
Room 305

Assistant Professor

Starting from 2018 I am working as an assistant professor of Russian Big Data Methodology investigating how digitalisation, ‘datification’ and algorithms are transforming Russian state administration, economic and political governance.

Having defended my doctoral thesis in the field of public policy in 2014, during 2015 – 2017 I worked as a post-doctoral researcher focusing on the policy-making activities of private actors, environmental sustainability and large infrastructure governance in the Russian Arctic. My on-going research project applies big data methodologies to explore the future of renewable energy in Russia.

My teaching includes courses on digital methods in human sciences and mixed methods research design. I am affiliated with the Helsinki Center for Digital Humanities (HELDIG) and hold a membership at the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS). I am also the founder and coordinator of the Digital Russia Studies network.

Room: Unioninkatu 40 (Metsätalo) A133

Daria Gritsenko: Research outputs, projects, activities, prizes, press media
Daria Gritsenko: Contact information


I am a master’s student of world politics in the University of Helsinki. This summer I am working at the Aleksanteri Institute as an intern of educational programmes and international affairs, focusing on the FRRESH network and the YRUSH fellowship programme.

My academic interests include peace and conflict studies as well as the presence of the past and the future in contemporary politics, especially in the Balkan region.

I am also an active member of several NGO’s such as the Finnish Association of International Affairs and the annual Conflict Simulation -project.

Room 230
Tel.  +358 40 538 6345

University Lecturer, Discipline coordinator in Russian and Eurasian Studies

I am a political scientist whose work focuses on the connections between security policy, public administration and societal change. I was granted the title Docent by the National Defence University in 2010.

Since 2017, I have been the principal investigator on the Migration, Shadow Economy and Parallel Legal Orders in Russia. With my colleagues, I am examining the effects of Central Asian job-related migration on Russia's societal change. In addition to international academic projects, I have carried out several commissioned projects for offices of the Finnish Government, including the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministries of Justice, Internal Affairs and Defence. I have collaborated with the Police, the Customs and the Finnish Border Guard. My academic board memberships have included the NORRUSS program in the Research Council of Norway since 2010.

I teach on the new Master's Programme in Russian Studies.  

Room 242
Tel. +358 50 448 6459

Anna-Liisa Heusala: Research outputs, projects, activities, press media
Anna-Liisa Heusala: Contact information

Postdoctoral Researcher

As a member of the Aleksanteri Institute staff since March 2016, I focus on issues of sustainability in Arctic cities. I am a member, along with Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, of the NSF and Finnish Academy of Science PIRE (Partnerships in International Research and Education) project, Promoting Urban Sustainability in the Arctic. We are working with a team of international experts to create the first-ever Sustainability Index to make comprehensive assessments of environmental, social and economic sustainability in Arctic cities. We are also researching the sustainability of social initiatives in oil- and natural gas-rich regions in the Russian Arctic (e.g. the Yamal Peninsula).

My research background is in forest ecology and policy, resource-use ethnography, historical ecology and post-Soviet demography. I conducted extensive research in these areas in the Kamchatka Peninsula (Russian Far East) from 2001-2011 and relied heavily on the use of remote sensing and GIS as tools to bring these various disciplines together in my work.

Stephanie Hitztaler: Research outputs, projects, activities

Postdoctoral Researcher

I received my PhD from the University of Helsinki (political history) in 2013. Currently I am co-editing What Was to be Done? The Choices of Russian Modernisation, the concluding volume of the institute’s Centre of Excellence in Russian studies. I am also writing a monograph, Really Existing Nationalism, state, people, and nation in Cold War Socialist Europe, for De Gruyter’s Rethinking the Cold War series.

My teaching duties include courses in East Central European, Balkan and Baltic Studies (ECEBB), lectures in the Jean Monnet module, The East within Europe, and being a visiting lecturer at the University of Sarajevo.

An active member of Historians Without Borders, I have lectured and moderated in a series of group discussions with members of the Yugoslav diaspora.

Brendan Humphreys: Research outputs, activities

PhD candidate

Since 2015 I have been working as part of professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen’s research group on Russia’s energy development. My research is focusing on issues such as energy policy, IR, resource governance and security studies in the Arctic. My forthcoming thesis concentrates on the global-Arctic nexus in energy development. I also co-coordinate the University of the Arctic thematic network on geopolitics and security. 

Room 306
Tel. +358 50 448 9160

Jussi Huotari: Research outputs, projects, activities, prizes
Jussi Huotari: Contact information

Doctoral student

I started in 2018 as Doctoral Student at the Political, Societal and Regional Change Programme (PYAM) in the University of Helsinki and also as part of the Research Group on the Russian Environment, lead by Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen. My doctoral dissertation handles China’s geopolitical identity and climate change discourse in the global climate governance. I'm focusing especially on the emerging economies, identity politics and critical geopolitics within the frame of international climate politics.

Room 306

PhD student

I am a doctoral candidate specialising in climate and energy issues on the Doctoral programme for Social Sciences. Furthermore, I am also affiliated with the recently started Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science. My research is mostly built around the From Failand to Winland research consortium funded by the Strategic Council of the Academy of Finland. In a multidisciplinary project led by the Water and Development research group and consisting of seven sub-projects, we are assessing Finland’s future water, food and energy security. In the research consortium and in my doctoral research I am studying Finland’s future low-carbon energy security in terms of both local and global developments. I am also collaborating with other researchers in the consortium, and in addition to public policy and human geography, my research also includes elements from futures studies and energy engineering. In addition to collaborating within the research project, my work also includes co-creation with key stakeholders.
Room 306

Tel. +358 50 314 8944

Sakari Höysniemi: Research outputs, projects, activities
Sakari Höysniemi: Contact information

Postdoctoral Researcher

As a postdoctoral researcher at Aleksanteri Institute, I work on the "digitalization" in Russia – both as a socio-political process and as a footing to new research approaches and methodologies. This work is done within Digital Russia Studies group led by Daria Gritsenko. In 2019 I will be conducting a project entitled Words and actions: use-oriented study of concepts and ideas in large and diverse corpora.

I earned my PhD at ENS Paris-Saclay in France. Through the study of the academics doing high-tech business in modern Russia, I showed how the rise of ambitious innovation policy, despite its mixed track-record, changed the standing of science within the country's political system and legitimized the exploratory activities on science-industry interface.

Trained both in natural (laser biophysics) and social (sociology) science I actively use advanced quantitative methods. At the same time, my understanding of research methodology is heavily grounded in the interpretative posture of sociology and history and I often rely on qualitative methods. When it comes to disciplinary divides, I adhere to the same syncretic attitude, trying to bring together economic sociology, science and technology studies, history of science and political science to explain social, economic and political dimensions of technological change in Russia and beyond.

So far my teaching is focused on quantitative methods in social science and humanities.

Room: Unioninkatu 40 (Metsätalo) A129

Andrey Indukaev: Research outputs, projects, activities, press media

Information and communications specialist

I’m in charge of the Aleksanteri Institute website and social media channels and the editor of the monthly  Aleksanteri News. My aim is to promote Finnish research on Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia by making the voice of research and researchers more prominent in both media and in public discussions. I also help research projects in drafting and implementing their communication plans and provide students and scholars with library and information services.

If you are having trouble fingding the right expert on issues related to Russia, Eastern Europe or Eurasia, please contact me!

Room 202
Tel. +358 50 318 5667

Niina Into: Research outputs, activities
Niina Into: Contact information

Head of Research Training

As a coordinator of the two nationwide and international research training networks – the FRRESH network and YRUSH fellowship programme –  I am responsible for the development of research training and post-graduate studies in our field. I also work closely with the EDUFi to enhance Finnish-Russian student exchange and research cooperation.

I develop horizontal expertise networks, such as RussiaHUB Helsinki, which is a network of different actors in the academic world, administration and civil society. I am also one of the coordinators of the Imperial Era –network, which is a nationwide and international network of historians who are interested in the Finnish-Russian interaction of the long nineteenth century.

My own research deals with the history of Russia and the Soviet Union, especially from the point of view of social order and security. I am interested in conceptual history, in Revolutionary Russia, and in the development of the Russian political system and administration.

In addition to my research, I teach university courses and give lectures for the wider audience. I am a member of the board of the Doctoral Programme for the Political, Social and Regional Change (University of Helsinki) and a member of the national association for Russian and East European Studies (FAREES) and a member of the editorial board of a joint Nordic publication called Nordisk Østforum

Room 238
Tel. +358
50 448 4056

Ira Jänis-Isokangas: Research outputs, projects, activities, press media
Ira Jänis-Isokangas: Contact information

Director of Educational Programmes

I am responsible for East Central European, Balkan and Baltic Studies (ECEBB) and Ukrainian Studies. ECEBB is also part of Bachelor in Cultural Studies, Master in Area and Cultural Studies as well as international Master in European and Nordic Studies and Master in Intercultural Encounters.  Ukrainian Studies is a joint program with the Bachelor of Modern Languages.

My research interests include civil society, dissidents; politics and contemporary history of East Central and South East Europe. My teaching is linked with these themes. I also supervise bachelor’s and master’s and doctoral theses.  In addition, I am interested in the development of the university – work-life interaction.

I am also actively engaged in societal interaction.

Room 203
Tel. +358 50 338 2807

Jouni Järvinen: Research outputs, projects, activities, press media
Jouni Järvinen: Contact information

I am a master’s student of political science from the University of Jyväskylä. I will be interning at the ExpREES (Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies) program for autumn 2019. I have studied as minor subjects Russian language and culture and communications. Also, I have completed the ExpREES programme as a student. My academic interests include development of democratic institutions in Russia and post-Soviet countries, frozen conflicts and memory politics in Russia.

Room 202

PhD student 

I work in a project AUCAM (Opportunities for and challenges to urban development and social cohesion in Russia’s Arctic under climate change impacts, 2018-2021), coordinated by Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen. In my dissertation I examine Norwegian and Russian Arctic municipalities from a human security perspective. I study the impacts of oil and gas industry on the everyday life of the people living in the Arctic municipalities, from a gender perspective.

Room 306
Tel: +358408667914 

Research Coordinator

My academic background is History and Law. I have been researching and writing on the penitentiary system in the post-emancipation Russian Empire. My research interests include public perceptions of the penal system of modern Russia and the Nordic countries in historical perspective.

From November 2018 I have worked as an research coordinator of European research Council (ERC) project GULAGECHOES which is lead by professor Judith Pallot. In the project my research focuses on prison ethnopolitics and practices from the Russian Empire time to the early Soviet time. In addition, I am analysing law-making in relation to ethnic minorities covering all periods of Russian Law and recent EU legislation.

I am also the leader of the pilot project Nordic Russian Cooperation for social integration, prevention of marginalization and human rights protection for female prisoners, funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers for the period 1.8.2018-31.07.2019.

Room 320
Tel. +358 50 471 6821

Larisa Kangaspuro: Research outputs, projects, activities, press media
Larisa Kangaspuro: Contact information

Director of the Aleksanteri Institute

I started as Director of the Aleksanteri Institute in April 2018 having previously worked as Deputy Director (since 2010) and Research Director (since 2009).  My research interests and projects have ranged from the history of the early decades of the Soviet Union and Soviet Karelia, nationalism and patriotism there, identity politics, history politics and during the last years Russian domestic and foreign politics. At the moment I share my time between:

  • Leading the academic and administrative duties of Aleksanteri Institute
  • Research on Russian history politics and identity
  • Leading the Russian Media Lab project on freedom of speech in Russia
  • Public lectures and teaching on the university courses

Room 245
Tel. +358 50 522 3393

Markku Kangaspuro: Research outputs, projects, activities, prizes, press media
Markku Kangaspuro: Contact information

PhD candidate

I’m a Doctoral candidate in the Political, Societal and Regional Change Programme (PYAM) at the University of Helsinki and a member of the  Finnish-Russian Network in Russian and Eurasian Studies (FRRESH). My thesis focuses on a changing nature of the relationship between the citizen and the state in Uzbekistan on a local level using an ethnographic study of everyday lived experiences and is supervised by Dr. Anna-Liisa Heusala and Dr. Rustamjon Urinboyev.

My research interests include governance and public administration, institutional development, authoritarianism, sub-national politics, social and political anthropology, legal sociology, digitalization of state-citizen interactions and informality with a special focus on Central Asian societies.

Room 204
Tel. +358 50 567 5457

Visiting Professor

I am a professor of political theory at the European University at St. Petersburg. During my research stay at the Aleksanteri Institute, I am working on the text of a new book (in Russian) on theories of the classical republicanism and their relevance for the contemporary Russian politics and society. This book should expand my arguments, based on the findings that I have published in Republicanism in Russia. Community Before and After Communism (Harvard University Press, 2018).

Before that I published The Collective and the Individual in Russia: A Study of Practices (University of California Press, 1999), Main Concepts of Russian Politics (University Press of America, 2005), co-edited (with Risto Alapuro) Political Theory and Community-Building in Post-Soviet Russia (Routledge, 2011) and wrote multiple articles including ”From Priests to Pathfinders: The Fate of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Russia after World War II", (The American Historical Review, October 2015).

My research interests include social and political theory, history of concepts and sociology of everyday life.

Post-doctoral researcher

I received my PhD in 2011 from the University of Oxford where I also worked as Junior research fellow at St. Anthony’s College. I joined the Aleksanteri Institute as a post-doctoral researcher at the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies “Choices of Russian Modernisation” in September 2015.

My work has focused on the policy-making process and social policy formation in Russia, with specific focus on housing policy. My book “The Policy-Making Process and Social Learning in Russia: The Case of Housing Policy” (Palgrave Macmillan 2015) examines the process of change in the post-socialist Russian housing sphere. The book demonstrates that this policy area has developed as a result of an interaction between the Russian institutional environment with ideas and interests of important state and non-state policy actors.

At the Aleksanteri Institute I have continued my work on the policy process, social policy, development and regime type and have published several research articles. I had the pleasure of acting as coordinator of the 16th Annual Aleksanteri Conference devoted to Welfare and Social Policy in Russia, held in October 2016. I have also organised two international workshops on Russian policy-making, held in January 2016 and September 2017.

I am involved as a teacher in several study programmes coordinated by the institute, such as ExpREES.

In February – March 2018 I will be a visiting research fellow at King’s College London Russia Institute.

Room 216
Tel. +358 50 448 9154

Marina Khmelnitskaya: Research outputs, projects, activities, press media
Marina Khmelnitskaya: Contact information

Visiting Researcher

I am a visiting researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute for 8 months in 2018-2019. My permanent position is at Journalism Faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University, where I am an associate professor at the Department of sociology of mass communications. I am also a co-chair of the Religion, Communication & Culture working group in the International Association for Media & Communication Research (IAMCR).

My research interests are focused on the mediatization of religion in post-communist societies. Despite the common policy of atheization during communist regimes, there are significant differences in the mediatization of religion because of difference of 1) religious institutions, 2) media systems, and 3) audience maturity (religiosity, media literacy, trust in media).

I have served for five years as a Member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Vatican (1996-2001), was a visiting professor at Central European University (Budapest, Hungary, 2011), Linnaeus University (Kalmar, Sweden, spring 2014) and Rooney International Scholar at Robert Morris University (Pittsburgh, USA, fall 2014).

I am a founding editor of "Media and Religion" book series (published since 2011) and founding co-editor of "Discovering Grushin" book series on public opinion and historical commemorations studies (published since 2010). Full list of my publications in publications in Russian, English and other languages is available here:

Room 319

Professor, Research Director

I am a professor in sociology and long time director of the Aleksanteri Institute (1996-3/2018). I have also been Director of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies: Choices of Russian Modernisation (2012-2017). From April 2018, I work in the Aleksanteri Institute as Research Director, focusing on the exit phase of the Centre of Excellence. I am also Chief Editor of the book series Studies on Contemporary Russia (Routledge).

The Centre of Excellence is establishing a new paradigm for post-Cold War Russian studies. More than 50 scholars within the institute and its networks have been participating in this effort producing, 37 books, 20 special issues in area studies journals, and 257 refereed articles. In its final two years, the Centre will concentrate on generating new projects and finalizing a major volume on the macro challenges of Russian modernisation.

I am also a senior scholar in Rustam Urinboyev’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie project Migrant Law in Russia.

My expertise comprises:

  • Social theory
  • Global inequality and social policy
  • Diversification of Russian economy
  • Energy policy
  • Russian politics and administration
  • Post-Cold War international politics
  • Cultural conflicts and new identities

Room 240
Tel. +358 50 563 6309

Markku Kivinen: Research outputs, projects, activities, prizes, press media
Markku Kivinen: Contact information

Doctoral Student

I’m a Doctoral candidate in Social and Cultural Anthropology and my thesis focuses on parenthood and relatedness in Russian foster families. I work as a researcher on the A Child’s Right to a Family: Deinstitutionalization of Child Welfare in Putin’s Russia project and act as a co-teacher on the University of Helsinki’s undergraduate courses.

My research interests include narrative analysis, medical anthropology, digital ethnography, modern rituals, invented traditions, life scenarios, applied anthropology, self and identity, kinship, parenthood, and family narratives.

Room 217
Tel. +358 50 319 9417

Anna Klimova: Projects, activities
Anna Klimova: Contact information

Post-Doctoral Researcher

I hold a PhD in Sociology and my main areas of interest are Sociology of Law and Queer Theory. At the Aleksanteri Institute, I am working together with Professor Marianna Muravyeva in the projects on Russian law intersecting with gender and sexuality. My own research looks at violence against LGBTQ people in Russia. I collect reliable information on hate crimes and other incidents of violence in this regard. The aim is to address something what I call “violent affections”, those particular emotions that make perpetrators commit acts of criminal violence against LGBTQ people. In advancing this idea, I try to expand our understanding of the functioning of law in Russia, development of human rights, Queer Theory and sociological interpretations of legal relationships.

Room: 318
Tel: +358 (050) 556 0810



Visiting Researcher

I am a visiting scholar in the Research Group on the Russian Environment, led by Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen. Since September 2018, I have carried out my postdoctoral project the Rise of China and Normative Transformation in the Arctic Region funded by the Academy of Finland (2018-2021, the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland). Previously, I worked for the Assessing Intermediary Expertise in Cross-Border Arctic Energy Development project, led by Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen. My research focuses on China's climate policy, international norms, and Arctic governance. I obtained my doctoral degree in International Relations from the University of Tampere in 2016. Currently, I am a board member of the Nordic Association for China Studies and the Finnish Peace Research Association.

Room 306
Tel. +358 50 378 8997

Sanna Kopra: Contact information

Head of International Affairs

I am responsible for providing operational and strategic support for advancing our international academic initiatives. I am Director of our Visiting Fellows Programme with overall responsibility for the programme, and am also involved in its day-to-day management and interaction with visitors. I give grant-writing support to selected international scholars wishing to establish projects with the Aleksanteri Institute, and help with the Institute’s own international funding proposals. I oversee our other incoming research visit plans and provide support for training programmes with student and teacher exchanges. You can contact me for further information about the Visiting Fellows Programme or about our other opportunities for scholars from abroad.

I have been facilitating the development of study and scholarship on Russia and Eastern Europe in Finland for over 20 years. I have designed and initiated many of our key lines of activity, with a view to advancing our academic capacity also within the international context. I joined the Aleksanteri Institute at the start of its operations when we were a team of four. I was first tasked by the Ministry of Education to create a Finnish university network in Russian and Eastern European studies, and designed the concept for a nation-wide Master’s school, now ExpREES, and then for the Finnish doctoral programme in our field. I have also served as acting Head of Development and vice-director, and as acting Director of the Master’s school. My academic interests are in the study of post-socialist nation-building, nationalism, and the minority policies of international organisations.

Room 234
Tel. +358 50 563 6307

Anna Korhonen: Research outputs, projects, activities
Anna Korhonen: Contact information

Planning officer in international affairs 

I work as a coordinator of three programmes at the Aleksanteri Institute aiming to promote international research and educational cooperation, as well as researcher and student mobility. These programmes include the Aleksanteri Institute Visiting Fellows Programme, a nationwide Russian language training programme for Finnish students in Russia and the annual, international Aleksanteri Conference. I’m also a contact person for the Aleksanteri Institute’s course at the Helsinki Summer School.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions related to these programmes – I am happy to help you and hope to meet you in Helsinki.

Room 231
Tel. +358 50 415 0571

Eeva Korteniemi: Research outputs, projects, activities
Eeva Korteniemi: Contact information