Ariadne's thread

Ariadne’s thread is a platform for the critical public discussion, comprehension and reflection of the Russian war with Ukraine.

It aims to give voice and space to those who face and/or stand against this war through active protests, volunteering, collecting evidence and data, disseminating information, or through any other form. Ariadne’s thread is intended to fixate thoroughly on the public and scholarly ideas, thoughts, affects, and emotions arising amid and over the horrific Russian invasion of Ukraine. It facilitates an in-depth understanding of the disastrous events of our time and their consequences. In doing so, it set to lit light our way to a better peaceful tomorrow.

The podcast is hosted by postdoctoral researcher Anna Avdeeva at the Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki.

Episode 4: On possibility of solidarity. How to support those who dare to stand against the war from the inside?

It seems that a vast majority of Russians are pro the Russian war on Ukraine. Various surveys in Russia tend to reproduce this picture by drawing a huge share of Russians (>80%) supporting the war. Yet, multiple critics and experts insist that we cannot trust these numbers as any quantitative research done in contemporary Russian settings is unreliable.

However, no matter whose picture is wrong and whose is right, still there are people in Russia who dare to stand against the war. Many of them protest against the regime and its politics. The protests take various forms: from peaceful and almost invisible everyday actions to more active, loud and visible acts on the streets and squares of the cities. Shall we, those who are outside of Russia, support and solidarize with those who are resisting from inside? Shall we solidarize with all of them or just with those performing mass-scale resistance? How can we support them?
Current episode is devoted to solidarity. It provides a discussion on possible forms of solidarity and support for those trapped inside Russia but who still resists Putin’s regime. Postdoctoral researcher Anna Avdeeva (Swedish School of Social Science) discusses these issues with Professor of Russian Law Marianna Muravyeva (Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki).

The Russian invasion of Ukraine exposes the difficulty of the contemporary gender order in Russia. It problematises Russian hegemonic masculinity represented by Vladimir Putin and the discourses around it. In the meantime, the masculinity of Volodymyr Zelenskyy seems to provide an alternative to the currently dominant Russian masculinity. Is it true? What is the possible outcome of the war in Ukraine for the contemporary masculinities’ hierarchies then? And how about women in this war?

The current episode aims to answer these questions. It provides a discussion on gender and gender order(s) in Ukraine and Russia, focused on actual and potential social changes in the Ukrainian and Russian societies under and after the wartime. Postdoctoral researcher Anna Avdeeva (Swedish School of Social Science) discusses women’s roles in the war and peace-building, masculinities and other gender issues together with the Ukrainian scholar Dr. Maryna Shevtsova, Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), and Senior FWO Fellow at KU Leuven (Belgium).

According to the Russian government, the goal of invading Ukraine was to “denazify” the country and its leadership and “to protect people” who have been “subjected to bullying and genocide». The trope of Ukraine «nazification» has been enormously highlighted and elaborated within the official Russian discourse since 2014. Since the Crimea annexation and the war in Donbass, the Russian state-linked mass media has been promoting discussions on the rise of nationalism and nationalistic movements in Ukraine portrayed as a threat to the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine.

The current podcast is aimed at dismantling the Russian propaganda’s trope of Ukraine «nazification». Postdoctoral researcher Anna Avdeeva (Swedish School of Social Science) discusses the nationalism in Ukraine, understood widely, together with the Ukrainian scholar Dr. Maryna Shevtsova, Postdoctoral researcher at University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), and Senior FWO Fellow at KU Leuven (Belgium). The podcast continues the series of the discussion on the war in Ukraine. 

This podcast episode opens up the discussion on the current Russian War in Ukraine. Utterly shocked with the Russian military aggression, Russian-background feminist scholars at the University of Helsinki Dr. Anna Avdeeva (Swedish School of Social Science), Dr. Daria Krivonos (Center of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives), and Dr. Margarita Zavadskaya (Aleksanteri Institute) from the University of Helsinki meet to discuss the current state of affairs in Russia.

Standing against the war and trying not to take space and voices of the Ukrainian people and scholars, the discussants aim to provide more information on the variety of the positions, views, and processes in contemporary Russia in order to secure a more nuanced and multidimensional understanding of the situation.

The discussion touches upon Russian protests against the war and the protesting potential of Russians, the academic community's response to the discussed event, ethical choices, and the need for the decolonisation of the Russian and Eastern European studies as well as their language.