This page contains the names, abstracts and panel information for 18th annual Aleksanteri Conference participants with surnames beginning with letters T to Ö. Please see speakers A — D, E — H, I — K, L — N, O — P and R— S on respective pages. Note also, that panels and roundtables covered by a single abstract are listed separately.
Speakers T — Ö
Russian Advertising Market: Digital Transformations and Management Issues
The article deals with one of intensively expanding segments of the global as well as Russian economies - the advertising industry and its digital transformations. Relevance of the research is connected with the system-forming character of digital drivers which change the media-landscape and the structure of communications on the media-advertising market. On the one hand, digital transformations intensify the development of the market of the Internet communications segment as a part of the media-advertising industry. On the other hand, digital drivers generate competitive environment for the classical media. In order to compete with the Internet, traditional players have to introduce new technologies that would be transparent and attractive for advertisers.
The author uses the example of Russia - a country with a dynamically growing advertising market.
The research demonstrates that the communications industry in Russia and its digital market have been rehabilitated after the crisis caused by the economic instability, as well as the difficulties brought on by the economic sanctions. This has manifested in the rapid and stable growth of client activity and development of the market’s infrastructure. The relations between the advertisers and the communications agencies require new management approaches. In the modern conditions, new technologies can be used in favor of the advertisers as well as against them, concealing the true paid advertising coverage and discrediting digital communications. That is why, the advertising management should conduct the policy of openness towards the clients and improve evaluation instruments which will allow to control target application of the clients' budgets. The absence of control systems on the part of communications structures on the macro-level of professional associations as well as corporate level may lead to the loss of interest in Internet advertising on the part of the key advertisers.
Presents in panel 3A
Debating structural violence in the European Heritage Label
Our paper focuses on difficult heritage associated with three forms of structural violence in European history - the communist and Nazi regimes and the former European colonies. We scrutinize how these three sources of difficult heritage are dealt with in EU’s flagship heritage action, the European Heritage Label (EHL). Heritagising places associated with structural violence enables contemporary people to deal with the guilt and traumas of the past. In the best of cases this ‘learning process’ contributes to more inclusive future imaginaries. Simultaneously, heritagising difficult pasts evokes questions over the shifting boundaries between villains, victims and heroes.
Our empirical data consists of three EHL sites: Solidarity Center (Poland), Camp Westerbork (the Netherlands) and Sagres Promontory (Portugal). Solidarity Center tells an Eastern European story (communist regime), Camp Westerbork represents broader European experience (Holocaust), and both Camp Westerbork and Sagres Promontory are indirectly connected to structural violence targeted outside Europe (colonialism). In the EU heritage discourse these three cases differ largely in terms of who the ‘villains’ and ‘victims’ are. From the EU perspective Solidarity Center communicates violence of ‘the Other’ against ‘us’, whereas Camp Westerbork stands for ‘our’ violence against ‘us’ and Sagres for ‘our’ violence against (supposed external) ‘Others’. We argue, that the binary juxtaposition between the holocaust and communism as the two forms of structural violence in Europe, has enabled heritage debates to pay less attention to colonialism as more abstract and more distant form of European structural violence.
This paper is co-authored with Sigrid Kaasik-Krogerus.
Modern Development Problems of Mari National Religion under Russian Religious and National Policy
Formally, freedom of conscience is proclaimed in Russian constitution, however some problems of religion practices and national religion movement development might appear under the conditions of the state controversial policy.
The first difficult moment for national religions is ill-conceived legislation for regulation of religious organizations activity. Latest amendments to the law in connection with the fight against terrorism create serious difficulties for national religions not only for missionary activities, but for realization of cult practices. For example, it is necessary to have a clear institutional structure and attachment to the religious buildings for religion organizations in order not to violate the law. It is not always possible to national religions.
The second problem represent the unequal attitude of the state towards supporting the development of religious organizations. State organizations provide property, material and moral support to the Russian Orthodox Church, while the initiatives of the Mari Religion can not only not be supported, but also sometimes be restrained or ignored. This aspect is very important because of the strained relations between two confessions. There is a phenomenon of religious syncretism in Republic of Mari El, thereby relations of two religions acquires a special significance.
The third problem is based on the state's fear of the national cultures development. There is an opinion that the growth of the national identity might lead to formation of national movements potentially dangerous for unity of federation. Thus, the increase in national activities causes suspicion and tensions on the part of the authorities. Moreover, the state policy aimed at creation of situation where national growth will not be possible by control of local elites, fragmentation of national elites and propaganda focused on states issues suppressing national problems.
All this facts creates the situation in which Mari National Religion reacts to this policy and resorts to forced changes from institutional to ideological.
Presents in panel 6G
The Impact of Western State-Building model on Russian Statehood. Implications and Consequences for Contemporary Russia
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia had to embark on the road of nation and state building. These processes are further complicated by the fact that Russia has traditionally been the center of an empire and therefore difficulties in defining the characteristics of Russian statehood are greater in Russia than in non-Russian former Soviet republics. Some scholars argue that the Empire prevented the Russians from developing into a modern nation-state. However, the impact of Western state-building on the Russian statehood has been important: in fact, Russia widely depended on the imported Western model of statehood: from Sweden, Denmark, and above all from Prussia and France. An overlapping “integral” model of the strong state resulted in the subsequent fusion with the old autocratic tradition. Soviet Russia inherited the tradition of autocracy (although the Czarist political system overthrown in 1917 was not as autocratic as those of Peter or Catherine and it was still a weak state which coexisted with some kind of “civil society” with a minimum of state interference, self-government, and local self-management, particularly in Siberia). But the Soviet state imported and developed a strong statehood as a “sheer model” (“pristine” and coherent) of modern Western state, without any “exceptions” and contradictions (above all Constitutional forms, limited government, and bill of rights). Not surprisingly 1918, 1968 and the second disintegration of the empire have reopened the debate on the Russian statehood. Nowadays there is an evident recreation of a strong, sovereign and centralized state in Russia intended as the primary vehicle for social and economic development. Twenty-five years after the Soviet system collapsed it is still hard for Russia to put away its Soviet past and the impact of the inherited Western model of the modern state. The future of Russian statehood will depend on the characteristics of its building.
Presents in panel 2G
Transnational Discourses over the Status of Kosovo and the Transformation of its Mythological Character in Serbia
Ever since Kosovo was placed under UN administration in 1999, it has become an issue of international interest and importance, especially in terms of its final status in the international order of nation-states. However, current scholarship mainly considers it from the point of view of methodological nationalism. In order to transcend this methodological deficit, I bring together post-foundational discourse theory and transculturalism in the form of political (trans)culture, which I use as a tool to map out the cross-boundary entanglements of various actors involved in the process of (re)shaping the discourse on Kosovo. I primarily look at the contestations regarding the final status from a transnational perspective and tie them to transformations mainly in the context of Serbia, related to the de-mythologization of Kosovo. I develop an analytical framework focusing on spaces/places of interaction (“contact zones”), characterized by unequal power relations, where different actors meet, contest and challenge their conflicting representations and practices towards the same issue of Kosovo. One of such spaces is the Brussels dialogue. By using and further developing post-foundational discourse analysis, I analyze the different argumentation strategies and discursive shifts of the various actors. I utilize a range of international and domestic documents and political media outlets.
Presents in panel 7I
"There Would Be No Czechoslovakia without the Russian October Revolution": Hundred Years of Controversy Over the Russian Influnce on the Czech/Czechoslovak History
The paper is focused on the historiographic and public discourse over the Russian influence on the contemporary Czech/Czechoslovak history. Author discuss three crucial points: the establishment of the independent Czechoslovakia in 1918 and the opinion that this independence was directly influenced or even caused by the bolshevik October revolution in 1917. This explanation was widely preferred by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, especially after February 1948, when the communist dictatorship was installed in Czechoslovakia. Second point discussed in the paper is about the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia in 1968 and its explanation during so-called „normalization“ in 1969-1989. And finally, the third point is about the current public and political debate in Czech Republic about Russian influence on the Czech politics. The key question is, how far is Russia trying to re-interpeting the events of 1968 and what controversies this re-interpretation is causing in Czech Republic.
Presents in panel 7D
Climate change coverage in the Russian national and local media
Studies of environmental communication underscore the importance of media in increasing public awareness about global warming or climate change, how scientists and policy-makers have agreed to call it. The same research finds that professional journalists and environmental groups all over the world have difficulties, first explaining climate science, and then justifying policy measures to the publics. It is hard to draw people’s attention to arguably small effects of today that will dangerously multiple in future. In Russia, having a systematic and homogenous national agenda, matching regional and local agendas and policies, is also hard due to the difference of climatic conditions across the vast country. Previous research has shown that environmental journalism and especially the theme of climate change are at a rather low level in the professional and news hierarchy of Russian media. A loophole for a wider media attention opens unexpectedly. This study focuses on one such example - an anthrax outbreak on the Yamal peninsula in July 2016. The media blamed hot weather and climate change that caused melting of permafrost and the “awakening” of deadly bacteria. Thousands of reindeer died, dozens of people were hospitalized, one child died. Based on the content analysis of local, regional, and national media outlets, this study clarifies the role of mass media in raising public awareness about climate-induced health threats. I looked at the ways media framed the incident across the category of “media reach” (national, regional, local) and take into account geographical proximity and climatic similarity of those regions where provincial media are located. I found confirmation of the principle of proximity that influences the news. At the same time, there is evidence that national media are more likely than others to explain the incident by climate change.
Russian Political Regime Change and Strategies of Diversity Management: From a Multinational Federation towards a Nation-State
This paper explores the impact of the political regime change in post-Soviet Russia on the country’s strategy of diversity management. The paper will start with an overview of possible government responses to diversity. In this conceptual framework, the paper will follow the evolution of the place envisaged for diversity in the country’s political identity and political institutions in the post-Soviet period. The study will propose a periodization based on contrasting responses of the state to the diversity challenge in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. The political regime change correlated with the shift in the political institutional model from a multinational federation towards a nation-state. The new vision of political identity was reflected in the strategies of diversity management.
When operationalized in the conceptual framework for state-building, Russia’s constitutional design and practice of diversity management does not fit easily into categories of either integrationist or accommodationist approaches. This is not an exception, because in reality the states often pursue a mixture of strategies. The analysis of strategic features reveals how the combination of strategies employed in Russia evolved during the post-Soviet period. The predominant strategy depended on the regime transition and the corresponding goal of identity building.
During the post-Soviet period the political regime change from democratization to the establishment of an authoritarian rule correlated with the model shift from a multinational federation towards a nation-state. The evolution in Russia’s strategies of diversity management from the emphasis on accommodation to that on integration and assimilation also correlated with the regime change. Their negative correlation with decentralization and recentralization as the stages of state-building supports the argument that not so much normative considerations but estimations of power were behind the strategy choice.
Presents in panel 1H
Russia and Baltic States: Divergence of Civilizations
In the 1990s social scientists widely shared illusion that Russia was ready to accept European values and become a part of the democratic world based on the rule of law, human rights and reliably protected private property. Nevertheless, the past years of the 21st century have convincingly shown that the way to the Western civilization was opened only to the small part of the former USSR, namely, the Baltic states. It was not the change of the civilization model for them but rather return to the native Western civilization. Meanwhile Russia got trapped in its traditional political and economic institutions, sometimes called Muscovite matrix. The comparisons of Russia with the Baltic states reveal the divergence of civilizations.
For the illustration of this divergence it is justified to use the Human freedom index (Cato Institute), which combines the assessment of economic freedom and personal freedom. While the Baltic countries have successfully completed the modernization in the post-Soviet period and keep this index at a rather high level, Russia falls lower and lower and even concedes to Kazakhstan. In 2015, Estonia ranked 13th, Lithuania - 18th, and Latvia - 24th among 159 evaluated countries. At the same time, Russia was the 126th (Kazakhstan - 76th). In the Nations in transit project (Freedom House) Russian Democracy score considerably failed since the first year of the current century and the country turned from hybrid regime first to semi-consolidated and then to consolidated authoritarian regime. Nowadays it is very close to Belarus when the Baltic states remain consolidated democracies all these years.
The main reason of the Russian resistance to modernization lies in its historical path dependency that keeps alive the unity of power and ownership and other traditional institutions related to so called “service state”.
Presents in panel 2G
Construction of Aging in contemporary Russia: Cultural Stereotypes and Subjective Wellbeing of Older People .
This project is devoted to analyze the narratives of older people about individual experience of age and aging, about what it means to be older person in Russia. The main aim of the project is to reveal the cultural stereotypes associated with older people in Russia and to understand how it is possible to resist ageist cultural assumptions.
As feminist studies distinguish sex and gender in order to escape the binary opposition between male and female, this project tries to escape the opposition of young and old. The project’s hypothesis is old age in Russian culture constructs as contradiction of young age. Therefore, to older people prohibited all, that to associate with young age. This primarily relates to love and sex relations. Russian society considers older people as asexual human beings, who do not need anything other than food and medicine. These stereotypes cause loneliness of older people.
The theoretical approach of the project is critical theory which investigates the issues of power and control in contemporary society. The issues raised have focused primarily on the ideological and socially constructive features of age conceptualizations.
The empirical part of the project consists of 30 in-depth narrative interviews with people older 65 years. These interviews are devoted to issues of loneliness in old age, patterns of behavior, which Russian society prescribes older people. In addition to analysis of interviews, the project involves the analysis of cultural narratives from Internet blogs and journalist’s texts, which devoted to age and aging in contemporary Russia. Starting with the premise that age does not flow from the individual’s anatomical body, the project, using cultural narratives, analyzes the way age identity constructs in contemporary Russian society.
Presents in panel 3F