Support for a strategically important sector
The donations made by the national defence foundations support the internationally acclaimed multidisciplinary Russian studies carried out at the Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki.
The university has decided to use the donations made for research on Russian security policy, training of researchers and teaching in the field.
Long-term research into Russian security policy is extremely important in a rapidly changing world. The donations strengthen the research and teaching in the field of the joint Mannerheim Chair of Russian Security Studies at the University of Helsinki and the National Defence University, aimed at increasing understanding of the Russian strategic thinking, and the basic principles of the use of military force and other means of influencing used by Russia. Research can also be used for producing new information on changes in Finland's strategic operating environment.
“The cold period that has frozen the relationship between the West and Russia is already affecting the entire European security system. It is now visible at the Ukrainian borders, but Russia's relations with many other neighbouring countries that used to belong to the former Soviet Union are also tense. This underscores the need for special expertise of the area and knowledge based on long-term academic research and experts in decision-making. As Russia's immediate neighbour, it is particularly important to us to do research keeping Finland's interests in mind. Nobody does it except us.”
“In addition to the current situation, we should be able to look further into the future, as the situation is likely to change sooner or later: at that point, Russia will emerge more as a positive opportunity again,” says Markku Kangaspuro, Director of the Aleksanteri Institute.
The Support Foundation for National Defence, the Support Foundation for the National Defence University and the Mannerheim Foundation have also made earlier donations to the University of Helsinki. The university has used return on previous donations for establishing a permanent Mannerheim Chair of Russian Security Studies in 2017. The establishment of the Mannerheim Chair has accelerated interdisciplinary research in Finland on Russian security policy.
“Research on Russian security policy is now highly topical. Long-term development of research, increasing international research and strengthening the research programme are natural objectives for Finnish knowledge on Russia, which the foundations are happy to support. It is particularly wonderful that by acting jointly and targeting their support, the foundations have been able to increase their impact,” says Doctor of Laws Klaus Ilmonen, Managing Director of the Mannerheim Foundation.
“The students have found teaching on Russian security policy well, and it has been a pleasure to follow how theses on this topic are being completed,” says Assistant Professor Katri Pynnöniemi, holder of the Mannerheim Chair of Russian Security Studies.
The Aleksanteri Institute, the research centre for Russian, Eurasian and Eastern European studies at the University of Helsinki, operates as a unit of the university's Faculty of Arts. Research related to Russia is also carried out, for example, in other units of the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Social Sciences. Researchers at the University of Helsinki also cooperate closely with the National Defence University.
The donation of national defence foundations is included in the Government's matched funding programme. The university makes decisions on the use of donations made within the framework of the matched funding programme and on the use of the return on the Government's matched funding share based on them. Donations of EUR 10,000 or more can be targeted at a certain field of education by means of a deed of donation, and the university decides in more detail how the donations are used for supporting the field of education. Read more about the matched funding programme on the university's website.