The home of the Master's programme Russian Studies at the University of Helsinki is the Aleksanteri Institute, the largest and best-known European research institute of Russian studies. The scholars of the Institute have solid teaching experience and broad researcher credentials, which guarantee the quality of our teaching. One of the Aleksanteri Institute's central tasks is the development and implementation of long-term research programmes, single academic research projects, and non-academic projects with external partners. Thus, the Institute serves as a multidisciplinary and multifunctional research community for Finnish researchers in Russian, Easter European, and Central Asian studies.

The Institute promotes research networking in Finland and abroad. The Visiting Fellows programme is an important part of our research activities by providing us with fruitful internal connections. Every year, the Institute participates in several non-academic research projects in cooperation with the Finnish Government, business, or NGO communities. These projects channel Finnish know-how for the benefit of society at large, and cooperation is promoted between interested parties in Finland, the EU, and target countries. Training projects, seminars and database projects, many of which involve research, are typical examples of this kind of activity.

In the Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies, modernisation in Russia is understood as a set of choices made under certain structural conditions. As the traditional frameworks, theories and concepts of individual disciplines are clearly inadequate for analysing the contradictory developments in Russia, the Centre of Excellence strives to redefine the agenda on Russian modernisation. The multidisciplinary research conducted in the Centre of Excellence will produce a new paradigm into Russian studies. At the same time, it will also provide a new platform for policy implications at the most fundamental level of EU-Russia relations. 

Russia is now undergoing a major child welfare reform. From 2010, the Russian government has made new openings that turn attention to so-called disadvantaged families and vulnerable children, especially those left without parental care. The on-going reform on the idea of every child’s right to grow up in a family and it strives to dismantle the massive system of children homes by promoting domestic adoptions, developing foster family system and creating support services for families to prevent “social orphanhood” (sotsial’noe sirotstvo). Read more about the project A Child's Right to a Family!

This project will undertake research assessing the role of intermediaries (consultants) in creating Arctic energy futures and utilize multidisciplinary knowledge transfers in order to transition into globally recognized leaders of Cultures of Expertise frameworks for scholars involved in the geographies of finance, futurity and expertise, linked to anthropology and Science and Technology Studies related genealogies. Read more about the project Assessing Intermediary Expertise in Cross-Border Arctic Energy Development!

“Culture in Putin’s Russia: Institutions, Industries, Policies” aims to produce a critical and comprehensive account of reforms and transformations that have taken place in Russian cultural institutions in the 2000s. The project will enrich our understanding of Russian cultural politics and institutional developments in the age of neoliberal globalisation, post-industrial consumerism, multiculturalism, and transnational identities. The analysis of cultural institutions encompasses formal institutions associated with state funding and/or citizen and volunteer activities, as well as creative industries and the policies governing them.”

Migration, Shadow Economy and Parallel Legal Orders in Russia, funded by the Kone Foundation and the University of Helsinki, is a research project being conducted at the Aleksanteri Institute during the years 2017–2021. This project aims to examine undocumented labour migrants' legal culture and socio-legal integration in a politically hybrid regime. The project uses the case of Russia, a hybrid political regime and the world's second largest recipient of labour migrants, to investigate how undocumented migrants negotiate and manoeuvre around the restrictive socio-legal environment through producing new ways of informal governance and legal order.

Russian Media Lab is a multidisciplinary research project focusing on Russian media and freedom of expression. The research team will examine the execution of state control mechanisms, censorship, and the remaining free spaces of independent reporting. The project envisions to deepen the Russian expertise of Finnish journalists through facilitating interaction between Finnish media, researchers, and students.