Visiting Fellows Seminars

The Aleksanteri Institute Visiting Fellows Seminar Series features the work of the outstanding scholars who have been invited to conduct their research within the Aleksanteri Institute Visiting Fellows Programme. The topics cover a wide range both geographically, and with regard to methodology, discipline, and focus.

Join the seminars and discussions in
Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40, or via Zoom!

The seminars are not recorded.

If you have any questions about our Visiting Fellows Programme or the upcoming seminars, don't hesitate to be in touch with Anna Korhonen, Head of International Affairs at the Aleksanteri Institute,


The (in)visible and indispensable Russian soldiers’ mothers and women from military families

Speaker: Natasha Danilova, Senior Lecturer
Politics and International Relations, University of Aberdeen
Chair: Anna Tarasenko, Research Fellow
Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki

Since February 2022, many commentors have provided various assessments of Russian society’s response to war in Ukraine by focusing on the position of men-dominated political and military leadership, male conscript/reserve/recently mobilised or recruited soldiers or male dominated paramilitary groups. This presentation shifts the focus to women’s roles as part of war-meaning making.

Drawing on content analysis of official newspapers, we highlight the paradoxical representation of Russian women as both invisible and indispensable to the Russian state war efforts as well as Putin’s ‘traditional (family) values project. We observe that women, including soldiers’ mothers and female military-family members, are either barely mentioned, or their roles are narrowly framed through reporting on their engagement in mostly war-supportive, hyper-feminine, ‘traditional’ activities such as knitting soldiers’ socks and/or camouflage nets. The reporting on the popular digital news media (Meduza and MediaZona) expands this framing through reporting on women-military family members’ legislative, predominantly, complaint-focused activism, but it also deploys a gendered frame of ‘patriotic distress’/confusion represent women as emotionally and politically conflicted (Co-author: Dr Jenny Mathers, University of Aberystwyth).

30 Aug | 15.00-16.30 (Helsinki time)
Unioninkatu 40, room 17
Streamed on Zoom

Russian ‘Patronage Policy’ for Ottoman Christians in the second half of the 18th - the first third of the 19th centuries: on example of Greeks

Speaker: Olena Uvarova, Associate Professor
Odesa National Medical University
Chair: Elina Kahla, Principal Investigator, Liaison Manager
Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki

By studying European international affairs in the 18th-19th century and the solution to the Eastern Question, one can see the ideological component of diplomatic and military-political relations between European countries and the Ottoman Empire. The ‘Patronage Policy’ to Ottoman subjects of the Christian faith is an example - a tool that was actively used by the Russian Empire, emphasizing ancient ties and religious commonality. ’Patronage Policy is understood as Russia's protection of Ottoman Christians with the help of provisions in intergovernmental treaties and as an invitation to resettle on Russian lands, providing benefits and privileges. The focus of the Russian authorities has always been on the Greeks, who at the end of the 18th - first third of the 19th centuries were at the stage of struggle for their independence.

During the seminar, the speaker will consider the genesis and ambivalent nature of the ’Patronage Policy’; the motives that guided the tsarist government in its implementation; international circumstances that affected its specific tasks; philhellenic tendencies in Russian society; the basis of the hopes of the Greeks in Russia's liberation mission; the socio-economic and cultural development of Greek communities on the territory of the empire; and the subjective and objective consequences of Greek-Russian relations. Based on the conclusions, it will be possible to draw historical parallels with modern times.

Sept 13 | 15.00-16.30 (Helsinki time)
Unioninkatu 40, room 17
Streamed on Zoom

Assistance Through Control. De-Constructing the Binary Social Representation and State Policy Towards the Homeless in Post-Soviet Moldova

Speaker: Petru Negură, Researcher, Institute of Legal, Political and Sociological Research in Chisinau 

Chair: Olga Zeveleva, Postdoctoral Researcher, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki 

This seminar will explore and explain the binary social representations, and ambivalence of state policies, towards a specific category of the poor -- homeless people -- in the Republic of Moldova.

A representative survey, conducted in 2017, highlights respondents’ high perceived social distance towards homeless people. Only 21% of respondents would accept homeless people “in the vicinity of their home,” and 20% would accept them “on the streets of their locality”. Against this background, it seems striking that nearly all (93%) respondents were, however, willing to help a homeless person if he or she asked for help.

In my presentation, I will explain this apparent contradiction between high social distance and willingness to help by corroborating this finding with three sets of data:

1) semantic and statistical analysis of the social representations of homeless people in the 2017 survey,

2) print and visual media analysis of the representations of homeless people, and

3) analysis of the state’s policies towards homeless people in recent decades.

Additionally, I will present the results of a socio-historical analysis of the policies applied by state institutions in the Republic of Moldova and the former Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR) regarding homeless people in the late Soviet period and post-socialist transformation. The research discussed in the seminar is part of my book-length project Labour, Help and Stigma of the Homeless in Moldova. 

Wed, Nov 22 | 15.00-16.30 (Helsinki time)
Unioninkatu 40, room 17
Streamed via Zoom

Professor of Government and Legal Studies
Bowdoin College

Laura A. Henry is a Professor in the Department of Government and Legal Studies at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. She has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research investigates civil society, citizen activism, and environmental politics in the post-Soviet region, as well as global governance in climate and Arctic politics. Henry is the co-author (with Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom) of Bringing Global Governance Home: NGO Mediation in BRICS States (Oxford University Press, 2021) and the author of Red to Green: Environmental Activism in Post-Soviet Russia (Cornell University Press, 2010). 

Associate Professor
Mariupol State University

Sergii Pakhomenko is Associate Professor at the Political Science and International Relations Department of Mariupol State University (relocated to Kyiv, Ukraine), and a Visiting Associate Professor at the Communication Science Department of University of Latvia (Riga). His research interests include the politics of historical memory in Ukraine, Russia and the Baltic states, propaganda and information warfare with a focus on the use of history in strategic communication and propaganda.

Director, Temerty Contemporary Ukraine Program
Harvard University

Emily Channell-Justice is the Director of the Temerty Contemporary Ukraine Program at the Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University. She is a sociocultural anthropologist who has been doing research in Ukraine since 2012. She has pursued research on political activism and social movements among students and feminists during the 2013-2014 Euromaidan mobilizations. Her book, Without the State: Self-organization and Political Activism, was published in 2022 by the University of Toronto Press. She received her PhD from The Graduate Center, City University of New York, in September 2016, and she was a Havighurst Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of International Studies at Miami University, Ohio from 2016-2019.

Professor of Russian and Eurasian International Relations
St. Antony's College, University of Oxford

Roy Allison, D.Phil, is Professor of Russian and Eurasian International Relations at the School of Global and Area Studies, University of Oxford. He also directs the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies at St. Antony’s College. His previous positions include Reader in International Relations, London School of Economics (2005-11) and Head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House (1993-2005). His research addresses the international relations, foreign and security policies of Russia, Ukraine and post-Soviet Eurasian states. 

Professor of Eurasian Studies
University of Glasgow

Luca Anceschi is Professor of Eurasian Studies at the University of Glasgow, where he is also the editor of Europe-Asia Studies. His research work, which focuses on the Politics and International Relations of post-Soviet Central Asia, has been published on Central Asian SurveyNationalities Papers and the Journal of Contemporary Asia. Prof Anceschi is the author of Turkmenistan’s Foreign Policy—Positive Neutrality and the Consolidation of the Turkmen regime (Routledge 2009) and of Analysing Kazakhstan’s Foreign Policy—Regime neo-Eurasianism in the Nazarbaev Era (Routledge 2020). 

Associate Professor
University of Houston

Alexey Golubev is a scholar of Russian history with a focus on social and cultural history of the twentieth century. He completed his Ph.D. in history at the University of British Columbia in 2016 and spent a year as a Banting Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Toronto before joining the UH Department of History in fall 2017. Dr. Golubev has previously taught at the Petrozavodsk University in Russia and was a visiting lecturer at the University of Eastern Finland, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Freiburg in Germany. 

Postdoctoral Fellow
Vilnius University

Dr. Kristina Jonutytė is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies, Vilnius University (Lithuania). She is a social anthropologist, and her research interests include political and economic anthropology, ethnicity, identity and religion, especially in Buryatia, Inner Asia, and post-Soviet Eurasia. She has been conducting research on Buryat religion and society since 2015, with a particular focus on the post-Soviet resurgence of Buddhism in Ulan-Ude, and has conducted 13 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Buryatia.

Associate Professor
University of Toronto

Dragana Obradovic (Ph.D. University College-London, 2009) is Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto, Canada. Her research interests are regionally connected to the cultural history of the former Yugoslavia. She is interested in the legacy of state socialism, particularly as it pertains to class transformation, the rural/urban divide, and the depiction of labour in literature and film. Her first book was Writing the Yugoslav Wars: Literature, Postmodernism, and the Ethics of Representation (University of Toronto Press, 2016). She has a forthcoming article on documentary filmmaking and war crimes. She has published articles on post-socialist literary poetics, contemporary Bosnian cinema, and diasporic graphic novel production. She was awarded the Jackman Humanities Institute (University of Toronto) Faculty Fellowship in 2022. 

Postdoctoral Researcher
Leibniz-Institute for History and Culture of Eastern Europe

Max Trecker, born in 1989 in Strausberg, studied history and economics at LMU Munich and CEU Budapest. His dissertation on the coordination of East-South economic relations in the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance was published in 2020 by Routledge. His last book on the birth of a new entrepreneurial class in East Germany after 1989 came out in 2022. In Helsinki, Max will work on a research project on Ukraine as a place of economic imagination.

For more info