A joint donation from three foundations to the University of Helsinki enables a new professorship in Russian security policy research.

The Mannerheim Foundation, the Support Foundation for National Defence (Maanpuolustuksen kannatussäätiö) and the Support Foundation for the National Defence University (Maanpuolustuskorkeakoulun tukisäätiö) have jointly donated €1.1 million to the University of Helsinki.

On 10 May 2017, the Chancellor of the University of Helsinki Thomas Wilhelmsson handed donor diplomas to Kristiina Olsson from the Support Foundation for National Defence, Petri Kovalainen from the Support Foundation for the National Defence University, and Klaus Ilmonen, managing director of the Mannerheim Foundation.

The donations from these three foundations are one reason why the University of Helsinki has been able to further invest in research and training in Russian security policy.

 “The Mannerheim Foundation made the donation to the University as part of the anniversary year of Marshal Mannerheim,” says Klaus Ilmonen, managing director of the Mannerheim Foundation.

Ilmonen is delighted that the donations have enabled the support of research in Russian security policy in particular and that the University has chosen to use the funds to establish a professorship.

 “It’s important that cooperation between foundations can enable larger projects, which can even help the foundations fulfil their purpose more effectively,” Ilmonen adds.

Aiming for long-term effects

The aim of the permanent professorship in Russian security policy is to ensure consistent research in the field along with the development of a new generation of researchers and enhanced teaching.

 “The University of Helsinki already has significant expertise in Russian studies, which the new professorship will further enhance. It’s clear that as Russia’s foreign policy role shifts and international tensions increase, interest in Russian security policy will rise, and research in the field will become increasingly important,” says Chancellor Thomas Wilhelmsson.

 “By investing in Russian security policy research, the University of Helsinki wants to ensure our country can receive the information it needs in cooperation with the National Defence University,” states Wilhelmsson.

Located at the Aleksanteri Institute, the new professorship strengthens the teaching and research in Russian security and foreign and defence policies at both universities.

Professor Markku Kivinen, director of the Aleksanteri Institute, states, “The global political situation shows that in-depth understanding of Russian foreign, security and defence policies is key for the development of security everywhere in Europe. The most effective way of increasing security expertise in Finland is by establishing a permanent professorship in the field.”