The three-year Young Russian Scholars Helsinki Fellowship (YRUSH) programme gives an opportunity for around 20 young Russian early-stage researchers to have a three-month research visit to Finland. The multidisciplinary YRUSH programme provides the visiting fellows a unique opportunity to finalise their on-going research projects and produce new scholarly outputs. These fellowships may also enable them to launch new scholarly ventures and research projects in collaboration with partners and colleagues from Finland.
Young Russian Scholars Helsinki Fellowship Program
YRUSH Fellows conduct their research and receive additional supervision from Finnish and international experts working at the Aleksanteri Institute
The YRUSH fellows will be integrated into the Finnish research communities and get up-to-date, discipline-based information useful for their own research.
YRUSH participants present their work in a series of open seminars at the Aleksanteri Institute. Concrete outcomes of the visit may be drafts of visiting fellow’s dissertation texts (or chapters), academic articles for submission to scholarly journals, papers for presentation at major conferences, and the like.
Young scholars establish contacts with renowned scholars and expand their international network
The Aleksanteri Institute also hosts a Visiting Fellows Programme for post-doctoral researchers and senior academics, which brings highly qualified scholars in Russian and Eastern European Studies to visit and work at the Aleksanteri Institute. The YRUSH fellows thus get to meet and work not only with renowned Finnish researchers but also with scholars from all over the world.
YRUSH Fellows benefit from high quality training and lectures
YRUSH fellows are invited to join the Finnish-Russian research training network in Russian and Eurasian studies (FRRESH) coordinated by the Aleksanteri Institute. The FRRESH network offers systematic multidisciplinary research training in a cross-national academic context.
The FRRESH network offers an innovative and cohesive syllabus, which covers the theoretical approaches, methodologies, data gathering and practical expert skills necessary in the multidisciplinary field of Russian and Eurasian studies. The FRRESH network organises summer schools, seminars and workshops.
The programme promotes critical thinking and problem-based learning
The YRUSH programme involves visiting fellows from various disciplines, such as political science, sociology, anthropology and history. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme addresses comparative studies, which put Russia and Eurasia in cross-national, cross-regional and cross-temporal perspectives. These perspectives are able to encompass interconnections between approaches which focus on global challenges on the one hand and Russian and Eurasian area studies on the other.
Interdisciplinary approach and the principle of problem-based learning, advanced by the scholars of the University of Helsinki, will assist researchers at the formative stages of their academic and professional careers to develop necessary critical vision and methodological sophistication.
Important skills in teaching
The YRUSH programme will also increase pedagogical knowledge. The programme cooperates with Aleksanteri Institute's international Master's Programme in Russian Studies. The YRUSH scholars have an opportunity to teach the MA students and comment on their theses.
The calls for fellowships are drafted and the selection of candidates are made in the YRUSH board meetings, which are held twice in the spring and autumn semesters. The board members are
Professor Veljko Vujacic (sociology, EUSP), represents YRUSH programme in Russia
Assistant Professor Anatoly Pinsky (history, EUSP), takes part in selecting suitable fellowship candidates
Dr. Margarita Zavadskaya (political science, EUSP) coordinates programme functions between Russia and Finland
Associate Professor Sanna Turoma (UH) integrates the YRUSH fellows into the FRRESH Programme’s activities.
I am a third-year doctoral student in political and social sciences at the European University Institute in Florence. I graduated from the European University at Saint Petersburg with MA in political science in 2017. My academic interests could be classified as political economy, comparative politics, and Russian politics. More particularly, my research interest lies in the political economy of natural resources.
"Does petroleum ownership matter? The state’s capture of resource revenue in oil-producing economies"
My PhD project is about the public finance of oil-producing countries. I am interested in how governments of resource-rich nations obtain revenues from the extraction of natural resources (primarily, hydrocarbons).
Why are governments of some resource-rich nations able to accumulate in their hands a greater part of resource rent than governments of other resource-rich countries? For instance, what political and economic factors determine the success of the state’s capture of resource revenues in countries like Russia or the Gulf monarchies and the failure of resource revenue collection in such resource-rich nations as Venezuela or Côte d'Ivoire?
I am testing the role of the type of petroleum ownership in the formation of the resource revenue of the government. My theoretical expectation is that the difference between nationalized and privatized petroleum industries is crucial for the explanation of the fact why governments of some countries are more successful in the capture of resource revenues than governments of other resource-rich countries. In my case-studies, I am dealing with the paradox that in few countries with nationalized petroleum industries (such as Venezuela) the government fails to raise good money from fuel oil export.
I am a PhD student at the Department of Political Science at European University at St. Petersburg. My research interests include Early American political thought, hermeneutics, dialectical philosophy, and contemporary political philosophy. Currently, I am completing my doctoral thesis and working on research projects concerning the method of the history of ideas and classical republican political theory.
"The notion of the public good in the political thought of the American Revolution, 1763-1791"
This dissertation examines the notion of the public good in the political thought of the American Revolution. This idea is vague, its meaning is complicated, and it does not have a precise definition. The vagueness and complexity of the notion of the public good is not a coincidence, this idea is an essentially empty, abstract regulatory ideal. This notion, however, can be construed in multiple ways. American revolutionaries drew upon several competing conceptions of the good. Their understanding of the public good can be traced to three interconnected yet distinct traditions of thought: proto-utilitarian, classical republican, and theological conceptions of the good.
The key problem I am examining is how American revolutionaries construed, combined, and transformed these conceptions of good. These understandings of the good are not logically consistent per se. Their basic assumptions concerning ethics, political philosophy, ontology, and economics, are not simply reconciled. Therefore, I examine the mediation and intersections between these notions of the public good in the era of American Founding. Methodologically, I draw upon hermeneutical approaches to the history of ideas. The core of my argument is as follows: there is an ongoing tension between competing conceptions of the good. There is, however, a mediation between the opposite ideas of the good, the American revolutionaries combined and construed the opposite ideas together, finding a way to partially reconcile the opposite notions of the good. This analysis of the opposite ideas allows us to construe an important, inherently problematic notion in the history of political thought, to examine its meaning and significance for the American Founding, and to provide a political horizon relevant for today.
Artūrs Hoļavins (Artur Kholiavin)
I am a research associate at the European University at Saint Petersburg (Russia), research & development officer at the Transport and Telecommunication Institute (Latvia) and a doctoral student of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki. I graduated from the PhD programme of the Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology (EUSP) in 2019. My research interests include elderly care, civil society and social policy transformation in Eurasia region. I also participated in various applied policy analysis projects on active ageing, silver economy, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sexual wellbeing of adolescents.
Non-Governmental Elderly Care in Russia: Expertise, Participation and Objectification
This doctoral thesis aims to uncover objectification of care receivers by expert status claim-driven NGOs in St. Petersburg and a surrounding Leningrad region in the context of the global trends of third sector “professionalisation”, welfare state dismantling and a recent rise of the active ageing ideology in Russia. This is an ethnographic extended case study of 16 elderly care providing NGOs (state-dependent veteran organisations, independent civil society organisations, self-help support groups as well as several volunteer movements) on the intersection of ageing, care and civil society research. Testing several alternative explanatory mechanisms such as dependency on state, individual caregivers’ role, historic path dependency and socio-economic status of the aged care receivers, I come to the conclusion that the key determining mechanism for paternalism towards aged people from third sector organisations in Russia is “NGO-isation”, understood as an expert knowledge claim, operation orientation and project thinking. I am an author for several published articles on the topic of welfare state transformation and non-governmental elderly care, with several other publications expected to come in the end of 2019-beginning of the 2020.
Anna Kozlova 1.11.2019-15.12.2019, 15.1.2020-28.2.2020
I am a junior research fellow of the Center for Applied Research at the European University at Saint-Petersburg. I graduated from the Ph.D. program of the Department of Anthropology (EUSP) in summer 2019, and currently, I'm completing my thesis. My research interests are anthropology of childhood, anthropology of education and leisure, Soviet subjectivity, and memory studies. I focus on Soviet educational projects and in particular, Soviet pioneer camps. I have published several articles on the history of soviet childhood, and several other publications are expected to be out in the coming months. Another area of my interest is urban anthropology, I have participated in various applied projects concerning urban environment.
"All-Union Children's Camps Artek and Orlyonok: Revising the State Project in Personal Experience of Pioneers and Camp Counsellors (1957-1991)"
The main objective of my research is to look at the two most popular All-Union camps on the Black Sea coast from the viewpoint of their common participants. The central goals of the Soviet state’s project to set up these camps were to showcase the ideal Soviet childhood, and to raise exemplary activist pioneers. What I strive to explain are the mechanisms behind the changes in this state project, referring to the experience of camp staff and personal perception of camps by their visitors (pioneers and camp guests).
My research is based primarily on two types of sources - materials from Russian State Archives as well as from local archives of Artek and Orlyonok, where some pedagogical achievements and drafts, written by its employees in 1960-1980’s, are stored, and in-depth interviews with former methodologists, counsellors and pioneers of these children’s centers of the late Soviet era (there are about 70 now).
I rely on Michel Foucault's theory of subjectivity introduced into the field of Soviet studies by Stephen Kotkin, that involves studying the ways in which the discourses and practices of the party state created opportunities for the citizens and thereby shaped their identity (Kotkin 1995, Pinsky, 2018). Like other researchers of Soviet subjectivity, I investigate the field of choices (various methods of education, types of individual behaviour, etc.) as limited by the framework of state directives and ideological tasks -- in my case, the instructions of the Central Committee of the Komsomol, to which Artek and Orlyonok belonged. The pioneer camps were conceived by the Soviet ideologists as a place where a conscious Soviet subject would be formed. But my results shows that it was a huge miscalculation. Preliminary results of my thesis show that children were becoming «consumers of communism», but they were unable to build it on their own in real life after the end of camp session. Moreover, some of them realized after they returned home that others were either not able to do it. And I will try to show you how and why it happened.
Anastasia Novkunskaya (14 January–14 February / 1 June–30 June)
I am a research fellow and coordinator of the ‘Gender Studies’ Program of the European University at Saint-Petersburg and a doctoral student of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki. I graduated the PhD program of the Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology (EUSP) in 2017. Since the Fall 2018 I am also an Oxford Russia fellow, conducting the research devoted to the arrangement of maternity care services in the Tver’ region (Russia).
Professional Agency in Institutional Change: Case of Maternity Services in Russian Small Towns
This PhD thesis investigates professional agency in the context of institutional transformation. Designed as a multiple case study, the research focuses on the following dimensions of the issue: the particular perspective of healthcare practitioners, providing maternity services; the organizational context of their professional practices and interactions; and the local settings of Russian small towns in remote areas.
The research subject is the scope of professional agency in the particular institutional context of maternity care services in Russian small towns, perpetually changing under the influence of state reforms. The key research question is: what is the role of the professionals, acting in the context of the structural/top-down change in the organization of maternity services? I investigate these issues through the multiple case study, consisting of both, institutional analysis and healthcare practitioners’ narratives, by elaborating the following subquestions: How the institutional field of maternity care services in Russia is being transformed during last decades? What particular conditions does perpetual institutional transformation produce for the professional agency? What forms of agency emerge in healthcare practitioners’ work? How their agency is restricted by the organizational context and settings of remoteness?
There are multiple studies, demonstrating that there are many discrepancies between macro-level tendencies and micro-level processes of social change. My research participates in the investigation of these inconsistencies and provides the evidence that there is no one-direction, coherent and straightforward process of institutional transformation in the field of Russian maternity services’ provision. I rather propose that there are various grass-root initiatives, and micro/mezzo-level social changes in the formally homogenous facility-based and state-founded childbirth. In order to provide the evidence of this multiplicity of professionals’ opportunities and forms of agency, the object of the research – institutional field of obstetrics services in Russian small towns is investigated through the different cases. Each case consists of the system of all healthcare units, providing antenatal, obstetric and neonathological services in remote districts of Russian regions.
Tatiana Tkacheva (1 March–31 May)
Currently, I am a junior research fellow at the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research at the Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg, Russia). My research interests lie generally in the field of Comparative Politics with a special emphasis on Russian politics and institutions. In 2017, I became a PhD candidate in Political Science and Sociology at the European University at St. Petersburg, and now I’m enrolled in the PhD-program of the University of Helsinki, where I am completing my PhD research on Russia’s regional executives (governors).
Regional Governors in Russia: Resources, Strategies, and Electoral Outcomes
This research aims to reveal the mutual strategies of the Kremlin and the governors in the new era of regional politics - since the restoration of gubernatorial elections in 2012 - and the political results it provokes. In particular, I attempt to find the factors of gubernatorial terms’ longevity, premature resignations, and of the strength of gubernatorial political machines in national elections. Some of the results have been already published in a co-authored paper with Grigorii V. Golosov in Problems of Post-Communism.
Svetlana Erpyleva (1 April–31 May)
Svetlana Erpyleva is a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki, a researcher with the Public Sociology Laboratory, and a lecturer at the School of Advanced Studies, University of Tyumen. Since 2011, she has been part of a number of PS Lab research projects on civil society, protest movements, and war in the post-communist world. Her primary field of research is a research with children and the study of political socialization and biographical analysis. She is an author of articles on political socialization and public participation published in peer-reviewed journals, and a co-author of the collective monograph ‘Politics of Apoliticals’ (2015, in Russian).
New Local Activism in Russia: Biography, Event, and Culture
My dissertational research is devoted to the analysis of a new type of politicized local activism that emerged as an outcome of the nationwide post-election 2011-12 protests in Russia, while these protests have been widely criticized for their political vagueness. Outwardly, new local groups resembled numerous activist groups that were active before the post-election mobilization. However, the pre-protest local activism was deliberately “apolitical” and focused on concrete and small problem-solving, while the post-protest local activism combined oppositional politics and “real deeds” tactics. This integration of opposite practices and meanings led to the emergence of the new politicized civic culture. The question I answer is how the event of protest mobilization could lead to the long-term changes in activist political culture. Considering this political evolution, I focus on activists’ biographical trajectories. Basing on qualitative data (interviews, focus-groups, and observations of local activists groups organized in Moscow and St. Petersburg) and the existing theories of social movement studies, social events and political socialization, my thesis proposes a new approach to the analysis of social and cultural changes through an event.
Maxim Alyukov (1 April–31 May)
I am a researcher and instructor at School of Advanced Studies, University of Tyumen, a researcher with Public Sociology Laboratory (Center for Independent Social Research, St. Petersburg), and a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki. I graduated from the PhD program of the Department of Political Science and Sociology of European University at St. Petersburg in 2017 (PhD Candidate). My research interests focus on media studies and political communication.
Changing Cues – Changing Opinions: Russian TV Viewers' Reception of Media Coverage of the Ukrainian Political Crisis of 2013-2014
Since the unleashing of Russia-Ukraine conflict media are seen as essential for the legitimacy of the Putin’s regime. However, it is often far from being a fact: the viewer’s mind remains a black box of media research. Based on the focus groups with TV viewers, my dissertation focuses on how Russian TV viewers process information they receive from TV news and how they form opinions about politics. Borrowing conceptual apparatus of psychology and cognitive science, I find that the consistency of political judgment varies by level of engagement. A politicized minority of focus groups participants stick to one opinion interpreting TV messages; less politicized majority have contradictory considerations in their memory; they can change opinions from supportive to critical ones depending on different networks of memories activated at different moments. I argue that the category of persuasion underlining many studies on media and opinion is meaningful in case of people engaged in politics. Otherwise, information processing should be understood as the echo: viewers reflect information without opinion change. My findings contribute both to political communication and understanding of Russian politics: being an essential pillar of Putin’s regime, media power is fragile; once the dominant cues for interpretation are absent, the approval can turn into disapproval.
Yana Agafonova (1 April–30 June)
PhD researcher at the European University at St.Petersburg and visiting research fellow at the Aleksanteri Institute. I graduated from the St. Petersburg State University, where I attained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree with honors in the field of philology. My research interests cover the social history, literature and popular culture of the late Russian Empire and Western Europe, another two spheres important for my investigations is the history of reading in Russia and in the West and digital approaches in humanities.
Classics for Common People as an Enlightenment Project of the Committee of Public Readings in the late period of Russian Empire
The dissertation focuses on the history of the Regular Committee of Public Readings. The Committee was created as part of the Ministry of Public Enlightenment of the Russian Empire and expressed government ideology in the sphere of non-school education. The object of the research is the Committee’s practice of designing and organising public readings, as well as the content of the readings and their conception as an enlightenment project.
The research deals with the representation of classic literature for common Russian people. Classic literary texts were transformed through a particular form of adaptation by the Committee. Great novels and poems widely known in educated society were retold, published in fragments and adapted to the daily life of Russian peasants.
Methodologically the public readings of the Committee are regarded as a complex practice: the content of public readings is studied, together with the visual aspect of the readings and the question of auditoriums where they were held. Thus the history of public readings is shown through the history and works of a particular institution.
Currently I am interested in the visual aspect of public readings and the way it was discussed in the society. So-called magic lantern slides were an important attribute of public readings. The slides, as well as book illustrations for public readings, were supposed to bring the culture of educated people and peasant background closer together. The social functionality and perception of public readings with magic lantern and could be provided by newspapers and journals of that time. Thus, my research aims to result in an article dedicated to the visual aspect of public readings.
Iurii Agafonov (1 June–31 August)
I am a lecturer at the Department of Comparative Political Studies and a research fellow at the Laboratory for Applied Policy Analysis, Faculty of International Relations and Politics at the St. Petersburg branch of RANEPA. I graduated the PhD program of the Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology (EUSP) in 2016 and currently completing my PhD at the Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki. My research interests lie in intersection of the analysis of political transformations in post-Soviet space, European Union foreign policy, and foreign policy analysis in general.
Playing a Double Game: Effects of European Neighbourhood Policy on the Political Regimes in Eastern Partnership
The study analyses the influence of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) on the political regimes’ dynamics in Eastern Partnership countries. Basing on the regime transition theory, Europeanization perspective, and political economy it claims to introduce new theoretical model, which allows combining domestic and international factors of regime dynamics. By using the political regime as the dependent variable and employing the case studies of Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine it shows that the ENP could contribute to three different outcomes: democratization, stabilization of hybrid regime, and authoritarian consolidation.
These three outcomes are the product of the rational choice institutionalism logic of the ENP influence. The logic stimulates the ruling elites to use assistance within the ENP for the simultaneous implementation of two conflicting strategies: strategy of preservation of partial reform equilibrium which was formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and strategy of formation of new reform equilibrium, which is stimulated by the EU conditionality.
Variation in the ENP influence on the dynamics of a particular political regime is dependent on the predominance of one of these strategies, which in turn are mediated by four main domestic factors: distribution of authority within a political system, level of political monopolism, type of electoral system, and degree of government effectiveness. Therefore, the dynamics of political regimes of Eastern Partnership countries is explained by the interrelation of the assistance within the ENP with institutional characteristics of the particular political regime.
In my PhD work "The Song in the Russian Civil War: texts and practices", I try to explain what songs were performed in different cases in the Russian Civil War (1817-1922) and why. How do the poetic meter, the tune and the content correlate with such factors as application (for dancing, marching, going into battle, singing in free time), prewar cultural background, type of the army (is it free or obligatory?), local civil entertainment industry, and so on? The Russian Civil War is interesting for song researcher because it was the time of the most radical social changes and contacts in the Russian history. So this is not a study of only songs of the Russian Civil War, but of songs in general.
I am a visiting fellow at the Aleksanteri Institute between September and November 2018. At the European University at St Petersburg, I am writing a dissertation focusing on the local-level power struggles during the World War I, Russian Revolution and civil war era at the Petrograd Province district of Shlisselburg. This micro-study is based on a wealth of untapped sources, and offers insights into origins of revolutionary authority, ideologies of paramilitary violence, day-to-day functioning of grassroots democracy, the role of political parties and other aspects of Russian / early Soviet political culture. I also contributed to Boris Kolonitskii's online course on the Russian 1917 Revolution on the Arzamas website (https://arzamas.academy/courses/42) which is to be published as a book in 2018.
I am an ABD candidate of the European University at St. Petersburg. I specialize in the social history of film cultures with a focus on the Soviet Union. My primary research interests are cinematic Cold War and film propaganda, cultural exchanges, film circulation, and consumption. More specifically, my dissertation "Trophy Films” in the USSR in the 1940s and 1950s: History, Ideology, and Perception examines the issues of representation andperception of "trophy films" in the USSR after the Second World War.
"Public Optical Spectacles in St. Petersburg and Moscow in the First Half of the 19th Century: Aesthetics, Ideology, and Pragmatics"
I was trained at European Humanities University (Vilnius) as a media scholar and at European University at St. Petersburg as an art historian. The combination of these two fields inspired my doctoral research of the 19th-century optical media and their use in public spectacles such as projection lantern demonstrations, transparencies, panoramic exhibitions, etc. The in-depth research of the phenomenon may not only significantly expand our understanding of the 19th-century popular visual culture in Russia and beyond, but also enrich the understanding of the relations between high art and popular culture, the visual component of public sphere, and cultural transfer in the field of visual entertainments since a major part of the exhibits came to Russia from abroad.
"The role of legal opposition in electoral authoritarianism"
I hold an MA in political science (2014) from Higher School of Economics (Russia), and I am now working on my doctoral thesis in European University at St.Petersburg. My main research interests focus on Russian politics, electoral authoritarianism and authoritarian institutions. I have collected a database on legislative activity in Russia's subnational parliaments (2009-2017) in order to investigate the role of loyal opposition in modern non-democracies.
"Nganasan Folklore Narrative Prose: Text Transformations from Storytellers to Readers (the 19-21th centuries)"
I am a Doctoral Candidate, in 2017 I have finished PhD program at the Department of Anthropology of the European University at St. Petersburg, now I am an associate research-fellow there. This academic year I have enrolled in the second PhD-program at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Tartu. Besides my doctoral thesis research interests in Anthropology, Folkloristics and Russian Far North and Siberian Studies, I am interested as well in Urban Anthropology.
"Playing with Radio Waves: Radio Amateur Activities in Russia in the 1920-1930s"
I am a PhD researcher at the Department of History and Civilization at the European University Institute in Florence, where I conduct research as part of a joint “Wider European Doctorate” program with the European University at St. Petersburg. I am completing my PhD project, entitled “Playing with Radio Waves: Radio Amateur Activities in Russia, 1920-30s,” which examines the history of radio communication in Russia from the late 19th century to the end of the 1930s, and investigates how closely the activities of radio enthusiasts and the interests of the state were intertwined. It aims to understand how closely the activities of radio enthusiasts and the interests of the state were intertwined. My study enters the argument on the phenomenon of public engagement with scientific knowledge and suggests that in terms of accessibility, knowledge, and political dimension, it could be analyzed as both an emotional experience and a social practice.