Research staff and experts L-Ö

The Aleksanteri Institute is an academic community of more than 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.

NB! Email addresses follow the pattern unless otherwise indicated. 

Lambin, Viktor
Doctoral researcher

I'm a doctoral student in the Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal, and Regional Changes. I hold a MA degree in Global and Regional Security Issues from Ural Federal University (Yekaterinburg, Russia, 2020), and M.Soc.Sc. degree in European and Nordic Studies from the University of Helsinki (2021). In my PhD studies, I focus on Russian strategic communication, specifically on framing enemy images in the national discourse. Within this framework, I explore the so-called enemization of Russian public discourse in my PhD dissertation. In addition, I am also interested in Russian foreign politics in Europe, and Russia's security issues.

Contact languages: Russian, and English

Lempinen, Hanna
Visiting Researcher

I am a visiting researcher in the Russian Environment Research Group. My research has focused on societal and cultural aspects associated with Arctic energy developments and I am currently working with themes related to just energy transitions in the north. I am currently based at the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, but I will be joining the FLOWISION project led by Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen in fall 2023.

Luukkanen, Arto
University Lecturer

I’m a historian (originally church historian) and university lecturer of Russian and East European Studies at the Alexander Institute, University of Helsinki. All my studies have been informed by a strong interdisciplinary approach: my research deals not only with history, but also, for example, with political science, theology, philosophy and history of ideas. My current fields of interests are focused to the dilemmas of contemporary Russian history (post-mortem history of Putin’s securocracy) and the history of perestroika in Ukraine. I am now investigating the archival material from the KGB filial at Kiev; the “operation Blok” (against the Ukrainian dissidents in 1970’s) and the history of last years of the Soviet system through the lenses of the secret police.   

To mention some of my activities; I have been in a position of a Senior Associated Member, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford in 1999–2000. In 2005–2006 I was the director of the international Finnish-Russian Cross-Border University Consortium project. From 2006 I received the tenured position of university lecturer of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Helsinki.

Miklóssy, Katalin
University Lecturer | Head of Discipline in Eastern European and Balkan Studies 

I am a historian and an area specialist in East Central and South Eastern Europe. I hold the Title of Docent in Political History. Since May 2023 I lead the Finnish team of the international, EU-funded research consortium Analysis and Responses to Extremist Narratives (ARENAS). The four-year project aims to characterise, measure, and understand the role of extremist narratives that have an impact on the political and social spheres.

In am interested in how the rule of law, strategic culture and nationalism present themselves in European countries. Previously, I have also studied the role of competition in societal development and Cold War interactions.

In 2013, I was appointed as a founding member of the Teachers’ Academy at the University of Helsinki, as acknowledgement of teaching skills and scholarship in education. Ever since, I am working to develop the internationalization of higher education and to invent new methods for interdisciplinary teaching. 

Milani, Irene

My academic background is in interlinguistic and intercultural communication, and I have a Bachelor’s degree in Interpreting and Translation from the University of Trieste, Italy. Currently, I am a second-year Master’s student in the Russian Studies program and my research interests mainly concern feminism and transnational feminist activism in Russia and other countries of the EECCA region.

As a trainee for the MAREEES program, I am primarily involved in helping with the program’s administration. At the same time, I am also assisting with the organization of the Aleksanteri Conference and other projects ran by the Aleksanteri Institute’s researchers.

Mitikka, Eemil
Doctoral Student

I’m a quantitatively oriented social scientist specialized in Russia and post-Soviet countries. At the moment, I work as a doctoral researcher in doctoral programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change (PSRC). In my dissertation research, I examine the relationship between political participation and autocracy in Russia and more generally in post-Soviet countries.

Muravyeva, Marianna
Professor, Russian law and administration

My research is interdisciplinary, bringing together history, social sciences and law to examine long-term trends and patterns in social development, with a special focus on normativity, gender and violence. My newest book "The Foundations of Russian Law" (2023) elucidates the main concepts and frameworks behind Russian law, and uses original legal sources and case law to explain how it operates in practice. My past projects focus on family violence (violence against parents and domestic violence), the history of crime (homicide and, particularly, femicide), legal history, gender history, and history of sexuality.

I have been engaged in socio-legal research and policy activities with public and voluntary sector organisations since 1996. I have worked as a researcher, trainer and professor for academic and non-academic agencies and projects, including the UN (UNDP program in Central Asia), NGOs (including women’s shelters in St. Petersburg) and a number of universities in Russia, Finland, the US and the UK. My research and policy engaged projects include those sponsored by the EC, US State Department, Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils, Finnish Academy and Dutch National Research Organisation.

I am a founding member of the Russian Association of Women’s Historians (RAIZhI) and co-chair of the Women and Gender Network of the European Social Sciences History Conference. I am also an editor for the Palgrave book series World Histories of Crime, Culture and Violence and a member of a number of editorial boards, including for the Russian Law Journal and Comparative Legal History.

Mäkinen, Sirke
University Lecturer in Russian and Eurasian Studies

I am the head of a multidisciplinary, Master’s level area studies minor called Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES). The Aleksanteri Institute coordinates this programme on behalf of a Finnish university network with twelve member universities. ExpREES focuses on Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia and South Caucasus.  I plan and develop teaching and other activities  in this programme as well as teach and supervise ExpREES students.

I am a scholar of  international politics and hold a PhD in Political Science  (University of Tampere) and the title of Docent in Political Science, specifically International Politics (University of Turku). My current research interests deal with global knowledge production, international academic collaboration and the link between international higher education and international politics. I have studied, for example, Russia’s education diplomacy in the EU and Central Asia. I am a member of a Nordic research network, which studies international knowledge networks and academic collaboration with authoritarian states, in particular, China and Russia. In addition, I am interested in knowledge relations in Central Asia.   In my previous research I have focused on Russia’s role in international relations. I supervise also PhD theses and welcome applications that are close to my research interests.

I have published in peer-reviewed journals such as Comparative Education, European Journal of Higher Education, Geopolitics, Europe-Asia Studies, International Studies Perspectives, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, Nationalities Papers, New Perspectives and Problems of Post-Communism.  In addition, I am  the co-editor of Russia’s Cultural Statecraft (2022, Routledge) and editor of a Special Issue on Internationalisation in challenging times (2023, European Journal of Higher Education) and co-editor of Discursive and Material Practices of Space and Modernization in Post-Soviet Russia (2014, Eurasian Geography and Economics). 

Previously I worked at Tampere University, Finland, for 20 years in different positions in teaching, research and administration. There I supervised Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctor’s theses and taught courses on Russia’s domestic and foreign policy, geopolitical thinking and methodology, as well as convened a double degree programme in International Relations. In addition, I have been the chair and deputy chair of the Finnish Political Science Association. 

Nakonechnyi, Mikhail
Postdoctoral Researcher

I graduated from the History Department of Pskov State University and studied as a postgraduate student in the St.Petersburg Institute of History (Russian Academy of Sciences) in 2012-2016. Additionally, I was a Research Associate in the Carceral Archipelago project (School of History, University of Leicester), funded by the European Research Council. Currently, I am a DPhil student at St.Peter's College, History Faculty, University of Oxford.

My area of expertise includes a comparative history of penal medicine, the Gulag, and Russian imperial prisons. I joined ERC-funded "Gulag Echoes in the “multicultural prison”: historical and geographical influences on the identity and politics of ethnic minority prisoners in the communist successor states of Russia and Europe" project in September 2019 as a post-doc researcher. My principal responsibility as a member of the team is to elucidate the historical dimension of the project research questions, particularly unexplored ethnic facets of the Soviet Gulag.

Oivo, Teemu
Grant-funded researcher

I am currently working on the University of Helsinki three-year project “Strategies of Persuasion: Russian Propaganda in Algorithmic Age”. In this project, I study how Finnish websites that present themselves as “alternative news”, use RT and Sputnik as their information sources. In addition, I am involved in the Russian Media Lab Network . More general research interests of mine deal with establishment and contestation of authority that are embedded in national ideas in public discussion. Furthermore, I am affiliated with the University of Eastern Finland, where I do my PhD research on discursive Russianness in Russian and Finnish media within the Doctoral Programme on Social and Cultural Encounters.

Oroza, Minna
Education Planning Officer

I coordinate the planning and implementation of the East Central European, Balkan and Baltic Studies (ECEBB) and Ukrainian Studies teaching programmes.  In addition, I am coordinator for the Baltic-Nordic Network for the Advancement of Methodology in Area Studies (BAMSE 2020) network funded by Nordplus.

Our courses are open to all University of Helsinki degree and exchange students and students of the nationwide Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES), and students from other Finnish universities via the Flexible Study-Right Scheme (JOO). I am responsible for guidance and support for students and teachers, and I take care of international teachers visiting our programmes. I want to provide students with a nice learning environment and teachers with a good teaching environment.

If you have any questions concerning ECEBB, Ukrainian Studies or BAMSE, please turn to me!

Pallot, Judith
Professor | Research Director

I have been researching and writing on the former Soviet Union and the Russian Federation for my whole academic career. I am Professor Emeritus at Oxford University and Christ Church College. Since 2016 I have been President of BASEES (British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies).

In 2018, I was awarded European research Council Advanced Grant to continue the research I have been engaged in for the previous decade on the experiences of minority prisoners of the Russian penal system, especially of its geographical aspects. I brought the Gulag Echoes project to Helsinki University after 40 years of teaching and research at the University of Oxford. The Aleksanteri Conference 2023, “Decolonizing Space in the Global East: Legal Choices, Political Transformations, Carceral Practices” is connected in part to this research work.

Peltonen, Hanna
Education Planning Officer

I coordinate the Finnish Universities national network of Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES). My main task is to make sure that the roughly 100 study units provided by the 12 Finnish network universities all fit into the big picture and that all the ExpREES students around the country have all the needed info and guidance in their studies.

As our students are geographically scattered all over Finland, my aim is to promote online teaching and e-learning. I'm also interested in other projects in education development and international education exchange.

Perkiömäki, Mika
Grand-funded Researcher

I am specialized in the research of Russian culture and media in the sphere of environmental humanities. I defended my PhD in Tampere University in August 2021. In my dissertation, Imagined Riverography of Late Twentieth-Century Russian Prose, I studied representations of rivers in late Soviet Russian natural-philosophical prose from an ecocritical perspective. My PhD research was part of the project Water as Social and Cultural Space: Changing Values and Representations, which belonged to the AKVA programme of the Academy of Finland. 

I started at the Aleksanteri Institute in December 2021, and I work in the research project FLOWISION: Best from Both Worlds – Enhancing Energy Transition in Russia and Finland by Making Resource Flows Visible, where I study practices of mediatized knowledge production and distribution on fossil and renewable energy and climate change in Russia and Finland. Currently I am the editor-in-chief of Idäntutkimus, the Finnish review of East-European studies, and the vice-chair of Society of Finnish Slavists.

I've worked as the coordinator of Tampere Research Centre for Russian and Chinese Media (TaRC), and have taught in the Bachelor’s Programme in Languages and Russian and Eurasian Studies at Tampere University, as well as the Master’s Programme in Languages and the Master’s Programme in Russian Studies at the University of Helsinki.

Pesci, Eugenia
Doctoral Candidate

I am a Doctoral Candidate in the Doctoral Programme of Political, Societal and Regional Change at the University of Helsinki. I'm  an early stage researcher in the Aleksanteri Institute within the framework of the H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions funded Consortium MARKETS. The University of Helsinki subproject focuses on the evolution and coherence of informal and formal rules and practices in the development of post-Soviet institutions.  In my PhD thesis, I explore and compare informal practices in the provision of social welfare in Russia and other post-Soviet states and their impact on the implementation of social policies.

Pinsky, Anatoly
Visiting researcher

I am a historian of modern Russia and Europe (Ph.D., Columbia University, 2011) and focus on the cultural and intellectual history of the Stalin- and post-Stalin-era Soviet Union. I am currently completing a book manuscript, tentatively titled, The Origins of the Thaw: Thought and Literature under Stalin and Khrushchev. My work has appeared in Slavic Review, Russian Review, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, and other publications. I have held a number of fellowships, including from the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, American Councils for International Education (ACTR/ACCELS), and the Aleksanteri Institute.

In Finland, I have taught courses in Russian and Ukrainian history, both at the University of Helsinki and the University of Tampere, funded in part by the Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES) Program. Before coming to Helsinki, I taught at Columbia University, the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the City College of New York, and the European University at St. Petersburg. 

Prandin, Federica
Doctoral researcher

I am a Doctoral Researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute, funded by Columbia University’s Harriman Institute’s grant and an Associate Fellow at GLOBSEC. I divide my time between policy-oriented analysis on climate security and my Ph.D. on the links between identity politics and climate change discourses in the EU and Russia.

Previously I was the Director of the Climate Programme at GLOBSEC, where I led the work on climate security and the green transition in the CEE region and at EU level. Prior to joining GLOBSEC, I worked in several think tanks, European Union Agencies, and international organisations, including the EU Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) and the Italian Consulate in Moscow. I graduated with the highest honors from MGIMO University (MA in Politics and Economics of Eurasia) and Catholic University of Milan (BA in Foreign Languages and International Relations). 

Pulkkinen, Karoliina
Postdoctoral Researcher

I am a philosopher of science with an interest in values in science. At the Aleksanteri Institute, I am researching the role of values in science in the Soviet Union with the aim of determining how past science can inform our normative frameworks regarding the management of social, political, and epistemic values in scientific practice more broadly.

I defended my PhD dissertation in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at University of Cambridge in 2019. My PhD research focussed on epistemic values in the development of periodic systems of chemical elements, including the system of the Russian chemist Dmitrii Mendeleev. I also have an interest in the role of values in climate science as my previous postdoc concerned values in climate modelling.

I have been a principal instructor for Ethics of Medical Technology at KTH and a seminar supervisor for Philosophy of Science and Ethics and Politics of Science and Medicine at University of Cambridge. I am also one of the editors and co-founders of Jargonium, the blog for history and philosophy of chemistry.

Pynnöniemi, Katri
Associate Professor, Russian Security Policy

I am associate professor at the University of Helsinki (Aleksanteri-institute) and hold Mannerheim Chair of Russian Security Studies. The joint professorship between the University of Helsinki and the National Defense University was established in August 2017. My responsibilities include development of research on Russian security policy at the University of Helsinki and at the National Defense University. 

I lead a working group of the Mannerheim Professorship at the University of Helsinki, which brings together research on Russian foreign and security policy. The working group produces research on the changing factors in Finland's strategic environment.

In my own research, I examine changes in Russian strategic thinking, in particular threat analysis and the assumptions that guide it, the war rhetoric that underpins Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, and the debate in Russian war studies on the aims of the (aggressive) war.

Ruokolainen, Mira
Doctoral researcher

I am a doctoral researcher in the PhD programme on political, social and regional change.  

In my dissertation, I study the formation of threat portrayals of Islam and Muslim populations, particularly in the context of Russian strategic narratives and warfare. The research aims to shed light on the evolution of Russian strategic thinking and population management practices, as well as on the determinants of threat assessment and anticipation.  

I am conducting my research as part of the Mannerheim Professorship working group on interdisciplinary research on Russian foreign and security policy.

Sokolova, Anna
Grant-funded researcher

I am a scholar of Soviet history working at the intersection of history and anthropology. My primary research objective is to uncover the behind-the-scenes mechanisms of how the Soviet project unfolded in new, underdeveloped territories and in certain life domains through newly established materiality, human-nature interaction, and social bonding. 

My first book ‘New Death for a New Man? Funeral Culture of the Early USSR’ (in Russian) was published in 2022 by the New Literary Observer publishing house. Currently, I am finalizing my second book manuscript, ‘Socialism in the Woods: Dweling in Emerging Materiality of Late Soviet Union.’

As a Grant-Funded Researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute, I am working on my project ‘Reproducing Sovietness: Materiality, Gender and Human-Nature Interaction’ supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. The aim of this project is to analyze how the practices of the late Soviet modernity were determined by gender and to what extent they are being reproduced both among contemporary dwellers of Russian Karelia and migrants to Finland.

Tarasenko, Anna
Grant-funded researcher

I hold PhD in Political Science and possess proficiency in research on social policy and institutions in Russia based on qualitative and quantitative methods of empirical analysis. I serve as the principal investigator of the project “Sensing as a Refugee: Vulnerable Bodies on the Move” (2023-2026) supported by the Kone Foundation.

I've recently published the article “Outsourcing Elderly Care to Private Companies in Russia: (non)Compliance and Creative Compliance as Responses to the Principal-Agent Problem” in East European Politics. My co-authored and co-edited research appeared in Post-Soviet Affairs, Europe-Asia Studies and in the Routledge Advances in Social Work series.

Tynkkynen, Veli-Pekka
 Professor, Russian Environmental Studies

From 2018 I have worked as associate professor and professor of Russian Environmental Studies, focusing on issues such as environmental policy, resource policy, regional and environmental planning, democracy and power. Currently I'm in charge of the Flowision project, funded by Koneen Säätiö. The research project examines how fossil and renewable energy is presented in Russian and Finnish societies. 

My teaching duties include lectures in the international MA programme MAREEES as well as other special courses and programmes coordinated by the Aleksanteri Institute. I’m also actively involved in societal interaction taking part in discussions in the media and at public events as well as providing expertise for public officials and the government.


Viljanen, Elina
Visiting Researcher

I am a musicologist and my expertise lies in Russian Studies and intellectual history, especially in Western history of art music and musicology, Soviet musicology, Russian/Soviet intellectual and cultural history, Stalinism and Soviet culture. I defended my Doctoral thesis, The Problem of the Modern and Tradition: Early Soviet Musical Culture and the Musicological Theory of Boris Asafiev (1884–1949), at the University of Helsinki in January 2017. In it, I analysed the Soviet culture, music, philosophy and science of the 1920's. 

My post-doctoral research project focuses on Soviet cultural theories, musicology and the intellectual culture of the Stalin era. It is connected to a larger, international and multidisciplinary project, Russian Cultural Modernisation during Stalinism in Russian/Soviet intellectual history department at the Aleksanteri Institute.

Zavadskaya, Margarita
Grant-Funded Researcher

Margarita Zavadskaya holds a Ph.D. in Social and Political Sciences from the European University Institute (Fiesole, Italy, 2017). She has worked at the Electoral Integrity Project (Universities of Harvard and Sydney, 2015), the European University at St. Petersburg (2016-2022), and the Aleksanteri Institute at the University of Helsinki (2018-2022) as a researcher and lecturer. From 2019 to 2022, Margarita served as PI for the research project ‘Electoral Malpractice, Cybersecurity and its Political Consequences in Russian and Beyond (ElMaRB)’. From 2023, Margarita serves as a co-PI to the PROPA Panel Study of Russian Public Opinion and Attitudes.

Margarita has broadly published on the role of elections in authoritarian states, mass protests and public opinion in journals such as Electoral Studies, Democratization, East European Politics, Post-Soviet Affairs, Russian Politics, Europe-Asia Studies and others. She is the editor of the book Politics of the Pandemic: Blame Game and Governance in Russian and Central-Eastern Europe (Routledge, 2023) and co-editor of Electoral Integrity and Political Regimes: Actors, Strategies and Consequences (Routledge, 2018). Currently, Margarita focuses on the political impact of Russian emigration in receiving countries, including EU member states, under the auspices of the OutRush research project.


Zeveleva, Olga
Postdoctoral researcher

I defended my PhD in sociology at the University of Cambridge (2019), and hold a PhD in sociological theory and methods from the Higher School of Economics (2016). In 2019, I joined the University of Helsinki as a postdoctoral researcher on the project “Gulag Echoes in the Multicultural Prison”, funded by the European Research Council. In the project, I work on social control in the context of penal systems. I employ qualitative methods across multiple field sites to examine how ethnic, civic, and political self-identification form among prisoners in the Russian penal system.

I am a political sociologist focusing on systems of social control. I examine how states establish and maintain the rules people are governed by in their everyday lives, and how people respond such rules from the bottom up. My doctoral work at the University of Cambridge investigated how journalists construct their civic, ethnic, and professional identities in a context of state crackdown on news media, focusing on the case of local Crimean journalists during Russia’s occupation and annexation of the peninsula. In 2018-2019, I held the Oxford Russia Fellowship at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, and carried out a research project examining the limits of journalistic autonomy during peacetime and in times of conflict, comparing the Republic of Tatarstan to contemporary Crimea. The results of my research have been published in The British Journal of Sociology, Current Sociology, The Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, The European Journal of Communication, and Nationalities Papers.