Experts on Ukraine and Russia and the impact of the war
The University of Helsinki and its Aleksanteri Institute is one of the world's largest and best-known centres in the field of Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies. Across the university, our researchers are actively following issues and events in Russia and the wider region and are ready to answer your questions.

The researchers on this page can offer timely expertise, commentary, and perspective on a wide range of topics covered by members of the media.

Please see the selection of our researchers, organised by their research theme and listed alphabetically, below.

For general press enquiries please click here.

Politics, government, society and history

Anna Avdeeva, Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Gender studies, Russian studies, sociology, everyday practices, social policy
  • Languages: English, Russian, Swedish
  • Phone: +358 (0) 40 760 5800
  • Email: anna.avdeeva@helsinki.fi

Vladimir Gel'man , Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies 

Markku Kangaspuro , Research Director, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Director of the Aleksanteri Institute

Markku Kivinen , Professor Emeritus

  • Russian society, domestic and foreign policy
  • Languages: Finnish, English, Russian
  • Phone: +358 (0) 29 412 3654
  • Email:  markku.kivinen@helsinki.fi

Daria Krivonos, Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Russian-speaking migrants in Finland, post-Soviet migration, migrant labour, racism, gender in migration
  • Languages: English, Russian
  • Email: daria.krivonos@helsinki.fi

Sergei Medvedev, Kone Foundation Fellow

  • Political history, Russian state and society: Geopolitics of Nostalgia in Russia’s War in Ukraine
  • Languages: English, Russian
  • Phone: +358 50 479 5898
  • Email: sergei.medvedev@helsinki.fi

Marianna Muravyeva , Professor 

  • Russian law, human rights, gender, sexuality and LGBTQI
  • Languages: English, Russian
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 378 9623
  • Email: marianna.muravyeva@helsinki.fi

Sirke Mäkinen, University Lecturer

  • Russian public diplomacy, especially educational diplomacy, international education and university cooperation, geopolitical thinking
  • Languages: Finnish, English
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 476 7293
  • Email: sirke.makinen@helsinki.fi

Heikki Patomäki , Professor 

  • Russia as part of the world system, the Russia-NATO conflict, civil society in Russia and the world, the role of the EU in the conflict in Ukraine, especially from the point of view of the political economy
  • Languages: Finnish, English
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 448 4400
  • Email: heikki.patomaki@helsinki.fi

Abel Polese, docent in East European Studies, Aleksanteri Institute

  • identity, everyday politics, shadow economy, informality, civil society, Ukraine, Central Asia, Russia
  • ​Langugages: English, Italian, French, Russian, Polish
  • Email: ap@tlu.ee

Kimmo Rentola , Professor Emeritus 

  • Russian politics and history, relations with Finland, Stalin
  • Languages: Finnish, English
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 313 5807
  • Email: kimmo.rentola@helsinki.fi

Margarita Zavadskaya , Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Russian government and politics, electoral systems and democracy
  • Languages: English, Russian
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 329 7066
  • Email:  margarita.zavadskaya@helsinki.fi
Law

Elina Almila, Doctoral Researcher

  • humanitarian law, law of armed conflict, international criminal law.
  • Languages: Finnish, English
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 318 7328
  • Email: elina.almila@helsinki.fi

Päivi Leino-Sandberg, Professor of Transnational European Law

  • The EU’s common foreign and security policy, international law
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 576 1575
  • Email: paivi.leino@helsinki.fi

Marta Maroni, Doctoral Researcher

  • Internet Governance, access to the Internet, platform governance, freedom of expression and content moderation.
  • Languages: English, Italian
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 346 2128
  • Email: marta.maroni@helsinki.fi

Stavros Pantazopoulos, Post-doctoral Researcher in the Toxic Crimes project

  • International law, law of armed conflict, international environmental law, protection of the environment in armed conflict
  • Languages: English, Greek
  • Email: stavros.pantazopoulos@helsinki.fi

Milka Sormunen, Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Refugee law, EU asylum policy, human rights law
  • Languages: Finnish, English
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 448 9423
  • Email: milka.sormunen@helsinki.fi

Immi Tallgren, Researcher of international law

  • International law, international criminal law
  • Languages: Finnish, English, French
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 448 2689
  • Email: immi.tallgren@helsinki.fi

Freek van der Vet, University researcher in the Toxic Crimes project

  • Human rights and human rights activism in Russia, Georgia, and Ukraine; environmental impact of the war in Ukraine; environmental harm in armed conflict; authoritarianism and repression
  • Languages: English, Dutch
  • Email: freek.vandervet@helsinki.fi
Security policy and the Cold War

Juhana Aunesluoma , Professor of Political History

  • Russia-Finland relations , the time of the Cold War, the Soviet Union in the Cold War, the security solutions in Europe that followed the Cold War. 
  • Languages: Finnish, English 
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 415 6592 
  • Email: juhana.aunesluoma@helsinki.fi  

Tuomas Forsberg , Director of Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies 

  • Russia - foreign policy, security policy 
  • Languages: Finnish, English 
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 448 4064 
  • Email: tuomas.forsberg@helsinki.fi

Katri Pynnöniemi , Assistant Professor

  • Russia's foreign and security policy, influencing Russia's information 
  • Languages: Finnish, English 
  • Phone: +358 (0) 29 953 0577 
  • Email: katri.pynnoniemi@helsinki.fi

Johanna Rainio-Niemi, Associate Professor of Political History

  • Small neutral states int he Cold War, national identity stories, the politics of memory after the Cold War
  • Languages: Finnish, English
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 467 8222
  • Email: johanna.rainio@helsinki.fi

Iro Särkkä, D.Soc.Sc.

  • NATO debate and discussion in Finland, Finnish foreign and security policy, NATO
  • Languages: Finnish, English, French
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 345 8368
  • Email: iro.sarkka@helsinki.fi
Economics, energy and environment

Jari Eloranta, Professor of Economic History

  • Causes and economic consequences of wars and crises, military alliances, economic warfare and sanctions
  • Languages: Finnish, English
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 556 0336
  • Email: jari.eloranta@helsinki.fi

Antti Ronkainen, Doctoral Researcher

  • Geoeconomics, sanctions, economy, EU’s integration
  • Languages: Finnish, English
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 448 8579
  • Email: antti.ronkainen@helsinki.fi

Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen , Professor in Russian Environmental Studies,

  • Russia's energy, economic and environmental policy
  • Languages: Finnish, English, Swedish, Russian, Estonian
  • Phone: +358 (0) 40 517 0521
  • Email:  veli-pekka.tynkkynen@helsinki.fi

Vesa Vihriälä , Professor 

Russian media and media freedom

Olga Dovbysh, Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Russian media, media freedom and media law, algorithms
  • Languages: Russian, English
  • Phone: +358 (0) 29 412 3698
  • Email:  olga.dovbysh@helsinki.fi

Teemu Oivo , Doctoral Candidate

  • Russian media, media legislation, social media
  • Languages: Finnish, English, Russian
  • Phone: +358 (0) 40 867 4168
  • Email:  teemu.oivo@uef.fi

Mervi Pantti, Professor in Media and Communication Studies

  • Hybrid operations, conflicts, media
  • Languages: Finnish, English
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 448 4310
  • Email: mervi.pantti@helsinki.fi
Culture and religion

Kaarina Aitamurto, Docent

Johan Bastubacka, University Lecturer

  • Political dimensions of Orthodoxy, history of Orthodox Christianity (Byzantium, Kiev Rusj, Karelia, and Finland), orthodox religious life and worship
  • Languages: Finnish, English, Swedish
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 318 5485
  • Email: johan.bastubacka@helsinki.fi

Sean Griffin, Core Fellow at HCAS

  • The Second Baptism of RUS: relations between the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate
  • Efforts to transform cultural memory in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus since the disintegration of the USSR
  • Language: English
  • Phone +358 (0) 50 443 1457
  • Email: sean.griffin@helsinki.fi 

Tomi Huttunen , Professor

  • Russian literature and culture
  • Languages: Finnish, Swedish, English, Russian
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 448 2324
  • Email: tomi.huttunen@helsinki.fi

Elina Kahla , Docent and Principal Investigator

  • Russian cultural history; orthodox church and culture; spiritual defense; The idea of Russia
  • Languages: Finnish, English, Russian
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 563 6308
  • Email: elina.kahla@helsinki.fi

Mikko Ketola, University Lecturer

Katharina Kunter, Professor

  • Religion and the War in Ukraine, Religion as a political factor in Postsowjet-Europe, Churches between nationalism and democracy in Eastern Europe
  • Languages: English, German, Dutch
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 439 4406
  • Email: katharina.kunter@helsinki.fi

Miro Leporanta, Doctoral Researcher

  • relations between the state and the churches and the implications of these relations for national identity, nationalism, party politics and the European Union; Eastern Europe in the 2010s
  • Languages: Finnish, English
  • Email: miro.leporanta@helsinki.fi

Arto Mustajoki , Professor Emeritus

Maija Penttilä, university lecturer

  • Russia and Russian speaking people in Finland: religious communities and religiousness

  • Languages: Finnish, English, Russian

  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 448 7785

  • Email: maija.t.penttila@helsinki.fi

Johanna Viimaranta, professor

  • Russian and other Slavic languages
  • Languages: Finnish, Swedish, English, Russian
  • Phone: +358 (0) 50 5560 929
  • Email: johanna.viimaranta@helsinki.fi
     

 

For a complete list of our researchers at the Aleksanteri Institute, please visit the Institute's website.