This page contains the names, abstracts and panel information for 18th annual Aleksanteri Conference participants with surnames beginning with letters E to H. Please see speakers A — D, I — K, L — N, O — P, R — S and T — Ö on respective pages. Note also, that panels and roundtables covered by a single abstract are listed separately.
Political Attitudes of the Post-"Wende" Generation in Germany
The German unification in 1990 has been characterised as "die nachholende Revolution" (Jürgen Habermas), a learning process, or a politico-economic transition from dictatorship to democracy. Accordingly, the whole process was asymmetric from the very beginning, since the eastern part was subject to this transformation, whereas the old Western Germany not only incorporated stability and continuity, but also served as the dip stick for the success (or failure) in the eastern part of Germany.
My paper will focus on developments in political and social attitudes and values among the post-"Wende" generation, i.e. among youth having grown up in the unified Germany. Based on the data from different value surveys (e.g. Shell youth survey), my paper will bring out important aspects about success and failure of democratic socialisation.
Presents in panel 4D
New Local Activism after Nationwide Post-Election Protest in Russia: Event, Biography and Political Culture
In my presentation, I analyse 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. 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, I propose a new approach to the analysis of social and cultural changes.
My results show that patterns of activists’ early socialization highly influenced the types of their future political involvement. Moreover, the post-election protest as an event (in terms of W. Sewell) helped people with different experiences who would never meet and act together before (e.g., apolitical volunteering and oppositional struggle) suddenly find themselves together and pushed them to continue their activity. Meanings and know-hows that ordinarily are at odds (apolitical ideology of “helping people” and politics) met in post-protest local activism, thus creating new forms of civic participation and negotiating the opposition between the apolitical and the political. Thus, in order to explain social movement transformations and changes produced by the event, people’s biographies should be brought back into the analysis.
Presents in panel 1G
Resistance vs. conformism: political responsibility of intellectuals
The purpose of the presentation is comparative analysis of the intellectuals’ position and activity in the framework of the Eastern block countries (including Russia) regimes. Researchers discuss the conditions and factors influential for the resistance or conformism of intellectuals. Some of them characterize the loss of responsibility as a result of the destruction of any kind of communities (civil society structures) in the communist countries (Elemer Hankins, Hungary). The others declared that the intellectuals were able not only to keep themselves as a creators of civic values but also to make initiatives for resistance against regime. The case of Poland is used to demonstrate the role of intellectual as mediating figure in keeping intellectual freedom traditions and then as an experts of “Solidarity” and drivers of democratization (Jacek Kurczewski).
In Russia intelligentsia was (and still be) heterogeneous, especially, in ideological and values dimension. One of the main subject of split inside of it is the polarization of the ideas and understanding of the freedom and human rights including the right for protest and resistance.
Alain Gagnon proposes to use Pareto’s typology of politicians in respect of the intellectuals. He considers that they also could play the role of lions or foxes: the first legitimate ruling class values and tend to keep status quo, the second deny ruling ideology and principles and tend to change the order. His approach is a disputable but the purpose is to escape fierceness and intransigence regarding the discussion on political responsibility of intellectuals. It seems that the problem needs a deep academic analysis which has to be comparative obligatory.
Presents in panel 2F
The Limited Legacies of 1989: The Exhaustion of Non-Violent revolution?
After the fall of communism, regardless of debates on the nature of systemic change, most agreed on the importance of non-violence. In this journal, I argued that the year 1989 represented a revolution in the very idea of revolution—self-limiting yet far reaching impact via this commitment to non-violence (Falk 2003). Today multipolar great power politics, the soft power decline of the United States and liberal democracy more generally, an international legal regime that dis-incentivizes unpopular authoritarians to step away from power, and the moral hazard associated with the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect, have made non-violent revolutions far less likely.
Presents in panel 7D
Social and Economic Inequality and Health Differentials in Russia
The paper investigates the impact on social and economic inequality on health indicators in modern Russia. I view the mechanism of such an impact employing three levels-macro-, meso- and micro. Special attention is given to the impact of the very perception of social and economic inequality in Russia-it differs from the one in other CIS countries and Western countries as well. Speical attention is paid to the difference between the impact on health of just low standard of living and the inequality as suh\ch measured by Gini coefficient. The relative importance of the social and economic inequalities on health parameters are also analyzed.
Presents in panel 5I
The Role of Roskomnadzor and Yandex in Shaping the Online Media Landscape
Until 2016, Roskomnadzor regulated online mass media directly by law, which Russian media professionals assessed mainly positively (Galkina & Lehtisaari 2016). However, in 2016, Roskomnadzor began regulating online mass media indirectly through cooperating with private Internet companies in a project launched in 2012 to boost network security on the net and called Netoscope. This cooperation enables Roskomnadzor and Yandex to shape the online media landscape by removing websites far away from Internet users’ eyes (Sivetc 2017).
The Netoscope regulation presents an example of new cooperative regulation of speech. The danger of this regulation to online free expression has generally been acknowledged in the academia (Balkin 2014). However, researchers have not yet studied effects of this new regulation on Russian journalistic practices. The paper fills the gap by conducting a survey among ten top-managers of leading online media outlets. The general aim of this study is to examine what role respondents assign to Netoscope in shaping the online media landscape. The paper hypothesizes that this project, used by Roskomnadzor to prevent the dissemination of harmful online content, may change the previously revealed, positive attitude to this government agency.
This paper finds that respondents mostly unaware of the Netoscope regulation. Further, after being informed on the project, they will not adjust their practices and change attitudes to Roskomnadzor. This paper explains the results by the lack of understanding among Russian media professionals that cooperative regulation has posed new dangers to their practices. Disinterest in the Netoscope regulation may also be explained by the passiveness of Russian media, which, according to Vartanova (2012), are used to reacting to decisions by regulators instead of acting as independent players in mass media politics.
This paper is co-authored with Liudmila Sivetc.
Presents in panel 4A
Blind Spots in Transformation Research. The Development of Reproductive Rights in Poland and Romania
The debate about regulation and liberalization of abortion is one of the most emotional and open both in Eastern Europe and in every other region of the world. This is why the question is adequate to comparative research throughout the times of state socialism in eastern Europe and beyond. Transformation processes in central and eastern Europe are generally marked by increasing personal freedoms in different areas of life, which seems to affect society as a whole.
This paper examines changing reproductive rights of women as accompanying phenomenon of transformation in eastern Europe. As a starting point for this discussion two examples were chosen: Poland and Romania. The selection was done because of the extraordinary situation in regards to the history and present situation of reproductive rights there. As an example for a very strict stance on abortion laws, Romania stands out during the period of state socialism. From 1989 on there was a significant liberalization of said laws in Romania. On the other hand, whereas in most countries in the Eastern block (including Poland) women had a relatively liberal access to terminations of pregnancies, Poland has undergone a process to a very restrictive abortion law.
Restrictive abortion laws are often described as going hand in hand with an antifeminist backlash, a gender specific distribution of poverty and unemployment and a decreasing presence of women in decision-making political bodies. Far more rarely country specific developments and consequences are observed and compared. Research materials are often out-dated, date back at maximum to the early 2000s and focus primarily on western societies. To address this gap this paper will look at the question: How can this process – the transformation process – lead to such different outcomes?
Presents in panel 4H
Bringing Actors Back In: Political Choices and Sources of Post-Soviet Regime Dynamics
One might summarize the state of the field of research into contemporary Russian politics as a “dismal consensus”: most observers believe that durable authoritarianism has consolidated itself, and there is very little chance of democratization in the foreseeable future. Many barriers to democratization, such as an unfavorable international environment and the persistence of non-democratic legacies, as well as the entrenchment of the state’s use of coercion and repressions, seem insuperable in the short term. However, political regime changes are often launched and develop over time as side effects of moves made by political actors, and their outcomes are not predetermined. This article aims to go beyond this “dismal consensus”, and revisits some of the arguments on the role of structure and agency in post-Soviet regime dynamics. Apart from the changes in structural variables, it reconsiders the role of the incentives and choices of self-interested political actors, who are not always omnipotent and well-informed strategists. The overall dismal tendencies nevertheless leave some “bias for hope” in the analysis of regime dynamics in post-Soviet Eurasia and beyond.
Main characteristics of a youth Exploratory Movement of Russia
This paper considers the specifics of a youth cultural scene of the Exploratory Movement of Russia (perpetuation of memory of the dead during the Great Patriotic War). The presentation based on results of two exploratory expeditions in Lyuban (Tosnensky District of the Leningrad Region) within the research project «Fields of positive interethnic interactions and youth cultural scenes in the Russian cities» (Russian Science Foundation, № 15-18-00078)
The scene of the Exploratory Movement of Russia is characterized by cultural heterogeneity, crossing of youth styles and cultural preferences. Expedition work takes the main place in style definition of a scene (practice of consumption, external representation and etc.). Besides, members are engaged in archives, realize own cultural and historical social projects, museum activity and military reconstruction.
Youth in Exploratory Movement of Russia are distinguished difficult structured motivation and participation. Also formed the special culture of the social search movement, with own ideas, values and norms.
In our presentation the Exploratory Movement of Russia considered within the state discourse of patriotic education. The ceremonial, commemorative rhetoric of the authorities is resisted by an ethical, social, psychological problematization of war.
Presents in panel 2I
Greenham Common and independent Soviet peace movement: transnational protest and solidarity practices in the early 1980s
In the 1980s independent peace movement in the USSR was represented by a number of grassroots initiatives, the most significant one of them being the Group for establishing trust between the USSR and USA (later between East and West) (the Trust Group). The Soviet state was very critical towards violation of its own monopoly to struggle for peace, which was exercised by state-controlled Soviet public organizations. As a result, members of the Trust Group were persecuted. Not all the foreign peace activists supported the Trust Group: some of them were afraid of ruining their relationships with the Soviet government.
One of the groups that openly supported grassroots peace activists of the USSR were women from Greenham Common Peace Camp. In May 1983 three of them visited Moscow and established contacts with Soviet grassroots peaceniks.
The purpose of the presentation is to look at forms, mechanisms, possibilities and limits of transnational solidarity in the peace movement during the late Soviet period using the example of collaboration between Greenham Common and the Trust Group. Common protests and attempts to elaborate shared agenda made the British peace activists understand better the essence of the Soviet regime and its propaganda machine. The Soviet grassroots peace activists, in their turn, absorbed new protest methods, which they used later, during the years of perestroika.
The presentation is based on the records of international peace organizations’ archives, a great number of samizdat publications of independent Soviet peace movement, materials of Russian and Western medias, interviews with participants and personal archives.
This paper is co-authored with Nadezda Petrusenko.
Presents in panel 7F
Pitirim Sorokin between East and West 1917 and Now
Pitirim Sorokin (1889-1968) was one of the founding fathers of rural sociology. He came to United States from Russia, after his doctoral studies and short academic period in Saint Petersburg during the Russian revolution. Already in his early works he took a critical position to the Russian empire and its bureaucratic machinery, which he developed and defended as a socialist revolutionary. Neopositivism and empiricism characterized young Sorokin’s own research but he had strong interest on theories, which can be seen in his later works. In United States he contributed rural sociology by writing with Carle C. Zimmerman Principles of Rural-Urban Sociology (1929), followed by Systematic Source Book in Rural Sociology which became the synthesis of previous works in rural sociology. This article aims to bridge the two phases in Sorokin’s life and career in rural sociology, in Russia and in United States.
Presents in panel 2F
Do Electoral Observers Matter? The Impact of Election Moniting on 2016 Russian Parliamentary Election
Groups observing elections in non-democracies is a widespread phenomenon but do these movements matter for the improvement of the electoral quality in countries where democratic institutions are subverted? The present study investigates the role of domestic electoral observers in the 2016 parliamentary elections in Russia. Since there is rich qualitative and quantitative evidence of electoral fraud during Russian elections since the early 2000s and given the activity of domestic monitors, Russian elections offer a perfect opportunity to systematically study this question.
Although the literature on the influence of civil society and electoral observers in particular on the degree of electoral manipulations is abundant, there is, however, still no consensus on whether this role is significant in non-democracies. Previous studies often employed field-experiment research methodology for studying electoral monitoring and, thus, were confined to electoral day and had limited spatial coverage. This research applies regression analysis that allows us to systematically compare the impact of different factors on the degree of electoral manipulation. The dataset includes official electoral returns from over 95,000 polling stations in Russia and groups this data by Russian regions. We analyze the distribution of turnout and of votes for the incumbent in every region and, based on anomalies of these distributions, we construct regional level proxies of electoral fraud using them as dependent variables in our analysis.
This paper is co-authored with Galina Selivanova.
Presents in panel 5F
Creation of a myth: Ceaușescu the humanitarian dictator
The study focuses on the consequences of the August 1968 statement of Nicolae Ceaușescu and the international foreign relations of the Socialist Republic of Romania. From that moment the Socialist Republic of Romania became the focal point of the Western interests, which were generally defined by a need to find a breach inside the soviet satellite system. The paper will be developed on three methodological frame-questions: 1. Was Romania already integrated on the path of insubordination towards Kremlin before 1968? 2. Who was supporting, from an international point of view, the breakthrough declaration of Ceaușescu in 1968? 3. Was the 1968 moment a signal that Romania reached its political maturity and was ready to change its international paradigm based on interests determined by pragmatic reasons?
In the processes of developing the arguments to this interrogative mainframe, the paper will explain the context that created the humanitarian face of Nicolae Ceaușescu's dictatorship. The internal dynamics of the communist leadership, alongside the emergent personality cult, which was supported by the abuses against the Romanian citizens, represented the key factors that internationally influenced the position of Socialist Republic of Romania. The present study is based on documents that were researched at the Hoover Archives; University of California Library and at the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania.
The present research will be based on the comprehensive analyze of the rich archival resources, which vary from the reports presented by the USA Congress to the actions of individuals and humanitarian associations. The myth of Ceaușescu was created by the political outcomes of 1968 that transformed the Socialist Republic of Romania into a maverick Trojan horse, which was balancing between Eastern and Western interests.
Presents in panel 7D
Commercial Courts and the Rule of Law in Russia, 1992-2000: A Case of Systemic Transformation
This historical empirical paper busts the myth that economic actors in the Russia of the 1990s increasingly used the new commercial state courts (Arbitrazhnye sudy) for conflict resolution. Since the late 1990s leading scholars treat it as a fact which can justify a favourable view of Russian law. In this paper, I use the same evidence as scholars who circulate a favourable view of the commercial courts: official court-caseload data. But rather than relying on official statistics taken at face value, I use a controlling variable: the number of registered companies. The findings do not support the proposition that economic actors increasingly used the courts – rather they point in another direction: after an initial drop at the time of the Soviet collapse, court-use remained stable in the years between 1994 and 2000.
As a final point, I conclude that the level of courtuse in Russia was suboptimal from the perspective of commercial society. This inference is based on a systematic cross-country comparative analysis. I use the results to discuss the systemic transformations in the field of formal contracting, the role of legal skills in such transformations, and the emergence of the rule of law in the Russia of the 1990s.
Presents in panel 3E
Exhibiting for a new Soviet society: Soviet Museums in Petrograd in 1918 and beyond
This paper will focus on the role of museums and exhibitions in Petrograd in the years following the October Revolution in 1917. The paper concentrates on the contentious function of the museum at a critical stage for the incoming Bolshevik regime, specifically as a vehicle for reshaping attitudes to the past and justifying the place of the October Revolution in the progression of history. The role of the museum exhibition will also consider the practical challenges of cultural construction during a period of acute tension, violence and poverty, with the new state initially fighting an internal and external battle over how to use existing expertise, museum collections and newly nationalised property.
This paper will also discuss the armoury of developing exhibition themes and techniques utilised to form a new Soviet consciousness – from specialist proletarian museums, which sought to embed the principles of a new working class culture, to so called palace museums which housed the ‘people’s treasures’. Furthermore this paper endeavours to analyse the exhibition medium as a method of communicating expected behaviour and societal goals for a government seeking to establish itself as the sole voice of legitimacy in leading the revolution, specifically under the leadership of Narkompros, namely Glavnauka and Glavmuzei, the bodies responsible for museum administration.
Presents in panel 3D
You’re kidding? Deadpanning diplomats, comedic collusion and the challenges of a satirical arms race
This paper examines the strange centrality of humor in Russia's relations with Europe and the US, focusing on the unexpected comic turn of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Humor has emerged to become a prominent technology of the volatile post-Brexit, post-Trump geopolitical order. It has featured prominently in the mass-mediated geopolitical performances of Russian state actors like Lavrov. During the 2016-2017 Russian hacking scandal, Russian state actors engaged in transgressive play and satirical borrowings via the circulation of memes, and other political theatrics.
I examine these performances in the context of the shifting contours of humor and political satire in Russia. Stiob – originally a countercultural form with an ambiguous relationship to state power – has become a political technology in recent years, deployed by state actors for diverse ends. It melds and merges with other vitriolic tendencies in Russian political culture during the fourth Putin presidency, giving rise to provocative illiberal – sometimes even militarized – performances (Dunn and Bobick 2014; Yurchak 2014). Drawing on recent scholarship on political satire, stiob and the crisis of liberalism, I explore the new consensus analytic (“information warfare,” “postmodern dictatorship”) that’s gained traction so quickly and which animates many scholarly as well as journalistic account of Russia today. I contend that deadpanning diplomats like Lavrov are produced when “new stiob” (Roudakova 2018) intersects with emergent logics in late (post?)-liberal political and media culture. Tracing the mass mediated dynamics by which some of these satirical performances advanced, I consider the challenge they present for social analysis.
Presents in panel 1B
Russia-Japan relations: focusing on The Northern Territories Issue
Russian diplomacy has been focusing on the “Asia Pivot” especially from around 2012, and Japanese position for Russia seemed to be more important. However, Russia-Japan relation is still difficult situation, and there is no Friendship Treaty. The main deterrence of Russia-Japan relation has been “Northern Territories Issue.” Japan has been trying to recover all of 4 islands of Northern Territories, however Russia has never admitted the issue and kept the stance that there are no territorial issues with Japan, and insisted that present territory is the result of the WWII.
However, Japanese Prime Minister Abe has been trying to resolve the Northern Territories Issue and conclude the Friendship Treaty with Russia. Then he started to make the personal relationship with President Vladimir Putin and met more than 20 times within 5 years, although they had almost 2 years blank caused of the Ukraine Crisis. Then PM Abe has been eager to make strong the economic relations with Russia for making stronger the mutual trust at first, and proposed the joint economic activities in the Northern Territory, especially 8 points economic cooperation.
Unfortunately, Japan has no freedom in the diplomatic policy by the US-Japan alliances, and Russia also sees this alliance the serious obstacle for Russia-Japan relations. Recently, the situation of Asia-Pacific region is changing radically including the North Korean Issue, Chinese power expansions, US President Donald Trump’s political actions and so on, and they are also effecting to the Japanese diplomacy.
In this presentation, I will review the Russia-Japan relations, analyze the obstacles including the territory issue comparing other territories issues of Russia, and then show some future prospects.
Presents in panel 6J
A Fossil fuel empire and the recasting of people and place in Russian arctic
This paper investigates the rapidly changing spatial and societal contexts of the Russian Arctic, and examines the drivers of these changes. It focuses on the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (YNAO) in northwest Siberia where intensive development of massive oil and natural gas deposits is underway, thus making YNAO a highly strategic region on the national stage. To understand the scope and significance of industrial expansion here, this paper addresses three main questions. First, it looks at the tight relationship between the Russian state and fossil fuel exploitation; it then places this association in the context of the YNAO. Secondly, it considers the landscape and societal outcomes of this relationship in YNAO, paying particular attention to the changing Arctic environment, and to the shifting territories and lifestyles of the indigenous Nenets in YNAO.
Thirdly, this paper explores how connections forged by fossil fuel companies with the public at large in YNAO are transforming societal dimensions. It analyzes the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Gazprom Neft, a prominent fossil fuel company operating in YNAO. Gasprom Neft’s flagship CSR program, Native Cities (Rodnye goroda), is pitched as a comprehensive, people-powered initiative meant to improve the overall quality of life in YNAO’s urban areas. This program’s impact is assessed by weighing the actual nature and extent of its benefits. Is this initiative in the people’s best interest, or does it better serve the state and companies, whose interests and goals closely dovetail? Another important question is whether this initiative provides the support necessary to establish a foundation of urban sustainability that can withstand a substantial economic transition after Gazprom Neft discontinues its activities and leaves. Together, these inquiries help elucidate the undercurrents of broad environmental, territorial and societal reconfiguration in a vulnerable, yet nonetheless much sought-after region in the Russian Arctic.
Presents in panel 6G