Seminar May 14 – The Georgian-Byzantine literary interaction in the 11th century

The Georgian-Byzantine literary interaction in the eleventh century

— Christian Høgel, Professor of Greek and Latin, Lund University

Welcome to this joint seminar with RUCARR and CEMES-network “Thinking the European Academy of Letters”!

When: May 14, 15.15-16.30 CET
Where: Zoom link

After the Georgian nobleman Ioane Tornike supported the young Byzantine emperor Basil II against pretenders to the Byzantine throne, Georgians became much closer connected to Byzantine politics and to Byzantine text culture. The establishment of the Iviron monastery in mount Athos turned out a most productive translation center but also became an aristocratic setting of Georgians within the Byzantine world. Our extant text material witnesses both this Byzantine-Georgian literary exchanges and gives us valuable information on different text cultures along the Silk Road.


Christian Høgel is professor of Greek and Latin at Lund University since 2023. He has published widely on Byzantine hagiography and on translations – on the early Greek translation of the Qur’an and on translations from Georgian. He is co-director of the Retracing Connections research programme (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond).

RUCARR Roundtable April 29 – Armenia’s Human Rights agenda

Armenia’s Human Rights agenda: efforts amidst social and security challenges

Welcome to join us for a RUCARR Roundtable on Monday April 29, 15.15-17.00; Seminar room 9th floor, Niagara Building.
Online option: Zoom

Valentina Gevorgyan: Civil Society actors in Armenia as the main defenders of human rights

The talk will concentrate on Armenian civil society. First, the speaker will present the phases of civil society development in Armenia’s post-Soviet period of troubled transition, followed by current developments and challenges for the civil society. The talk will reflect on one recent study (and research in progress, RWI), highlighting the main areas and functions of civil society actors, as the main drivers of democratisation and defenders of human rights in the republic.

Anna Melikyan: Impact of fighting corruption on human rights in Armenia since 2018

The presentation will focus on the efforts in Armenia to fight corruption after the change of government in 2018 as a result of the peaceful protests with a focus on prosecution. It will encompass how this fight affects the human rights situation in the country given the pressure of public expectations and whether the government and the judiciary are able to ensure the rule of law and human rights principles in corruption-related trials, including recovery of illicit assets. 

Srbuhi Michikyan: Examining Multidimensional Poverty in conflict affected regions. The case of Syunik region in Armenia: Methodological concerns.

In conflict-affected regions worldwide, poverty is intertwined with violence, displacement, instability,  and significantly affects the ability of individuals to lead dignified lives. Conventional poverty measures, focusing solely on income or consumption metrics, fail to capture the complexity of deprivation experienced in such contexts, however, multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) has revolutionized poverty analysis, offering a holistic framework that considers diverse dimensions impacting well-being. The talk explores the methodological considerations specific to conducting MPI research in conflict areas, using Syunik region in Armenia as a case study. It discusses the challenges and opportunities inherent in conducting MPI research in a conflict contexts to understand the limitations of used methodology.

Moderator is Dr Katrine Gotfredsen, Senior Lecturer in Cauasus Studies, Malmö University.


Valentina Gevorgyan – is a researcher of social and political developments in hybrid regimes with problematic post-Soviet legacy. Her academic interests centre on civil society, state-society relations, cultural policy and the EU accession and democratisation processes of the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries. She holds PhD in Political Science from University of Fribourg (Switzerland), and MA in Political Science from American University of Armenia.

Previously, she worked as a research specialist with Open Society Foundations (Armenia), Academic Swiss Caucasus Net and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in South Caucasus. Currently, she is Assistant Professor at Yerevan State University, Department of Political Science and a lecturer at University of Fribourg, Department of European and Slavic Studies. She reads courses on Civil Society and Political Culture, and is author of “Civil Society and Government Institutions in Armenia. Leaving Behind the ‘Post-Soviet’ Title” (Routledge, 2024). Currently she is a Research Fellow with RWI Armenia Programme.

Anna Melikyan – Since 2020, Anna Melikyan is a Legal Analyst with the Armenia-based human-rights NGO “Protection of Rights Without Borders”. She also manages projects in the field of justice sector and anti-corruption reform in Armenia. Prior to that, Ms. Melikyan worked in the field of human rights and conflict settlement for international organizations, including the OSCE Mission to Moldova, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mission to Osh. In 2012-2017, Anna worked for the Armenian NGO “Civil Society Institute” as Director and Human Rights Officer.
Ms. Melikyan has long-years of experience in teaching courses related to human rights and international humanitarian at the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University.
Anna Melikyan holds Law Degree from the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University, and LL.M. from the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. Currently, is a Research Fellow with RWI Armenia Programme.

Srbuhi Michikyan – is a Research Associate at Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) – Armenia Foundation. She holds a Master’s degree in Research Methodology and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, both earned from Yerevan State University. She spent one semester of her Master’s degree studies at University of Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. Now she is a Ph.D. student in sociology at the Yerevan State University. Since 2018, she has been actively engaged with academic institutions, research institutes, and civil society organizations in Armenia. Srbuhi’s research interests encompass a wide range of sociological themes, with a particular focus on Inequality, urban studies, and space and place transformation studies. She has contributed to the academic discourse through the publication of several scholarly articles and analytical reports on these subjects. In her research activities, she employs a mixed approach, conducting both qualitative and quantitative analyses. Also, she is an expert of accreditation of Higher Education and worked as a student-expert both in Armenia and abroad. She has experience of coordinating and organizing local and international workshops and trainings. Currently she is a Research Fellow with the RWI Armenia Programme visiting Lund, until June 2024.

Seminar May 7 “Empire of Refugees: North Caucasian Muslims and the Late Ottoman State” with Dr Hamed-Troyansky

RUCARR seminar with Dr. Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky, Ass. Prof. of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara:

Empire of Refugees: North Caucasian Muslims and the Late Ottoman State


When: May 7, 17.00-18.15 CET

Where: zoom

Between the 1850s and World War I, about one million Muslims from the Russian Empire’s North Caucasus region sought refuge in the Ottoman Empire. In his new book, Empire of Refugees: North Caucasian Muslims and the Late Ottoman State, Dr. Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky examines how Circassian, Chechen, Dagestani, and other refugees transformed the late Ottoman Empire and how the Ottoman government managed Muslim refugee resettlement. Empire of Refugees argues that, in response to Muslim migrations from Russia, the Ottoman government created a refugee regime, which predated refugee systems set up by the League of Nations and the United Nations. The book also revises our understanding of how Russia used migration policies to govern the Caucasus and its Muslim populations.


Dr. Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky is a historian of global migration and forced displacement and Assistant Professor of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research examines Muslim refugee migration and its role in shaping the modern world. He is the author of Empire of Refugees: North Caucasian Muslims and the Late Ottoman State (Stanford University Press, 2024). His articles appeared in Past & PresentComparative Studies in Society and HistoryInternational Journal of Middle East StudiesSlavic Review, and Kritika. He received a Ph.D. in History from Stanford University and served as a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University.

Seminar with Prof Stefan Hedlund, May 28

Ukraine, Russia and the West

When Value Promotion Met Hard Power

Professor Stefan Hedlund, Uppsala University, Institue for Russian and Eurasian Studies

When: May 28, 15.15-16.30
Where: K3 Studio, C Area, 5th floor, Niagara building, Nordenskiöldsgatan 1

Why did Russia’s all-out war against Ukraine come as such a surprise to the West? This is the key question considered in this broad-ranging book. It argues that Russia and the West had been playing different games: while Russia under Putin had become obsessed with using hard power to restore the Cold War security architecture in Europe, the major Western powers had become equally obsessed with value promotion that allegedly would ensure a global triumph for the values of the West, touted as “universal values.” While the Russian play for a sphere of interest was clearly defined and demarcated, the Western play for values was by definition without limits. Hence there could be no common ground and no common understanding. When push came to shove, Russian hard power trumped Western value promotion – and Ukraine was left to pay the price.

RUCARR and MIM seminar with Prof. Aadne Aasland, April 23

The reception of Ukrainian refugees in Norway: Experiences of refugees and frontline workers

When: April 23, 11.00-12.50
Where: Niagara Building, room TBA

Prof. Aadne Aasland’s presentation will address the following:

1. How do Ukrainian refugees experience their settlement and integration in Norway? 

2. What are the frontline workers’ assessments of challenges and opportunities related to the settlement and integration of Ukrainian refugees? 

3. What similarities and disparities are there between the Ukrainian refugees and the frontline workers’ assessments and perspectives, and what are the main challenges and dilemmas? 


Aadne Aasland is a research professor at Oslo Metropolitan University, and conducts research on social welfare, migration and integration, ethnicity, and diversity, with a particular focus on Russia, Ukraine, and the Baltic countries. Currently, he is leading a project on Norwegian cooperation with Russia on health and welfare in the Barents region (RE:Barents) and participating in a project on how Russia promotes its interests in Norway and Western Europe (PRORUSS). Recently, Aadne completed a major project on addressing regional diversity in Ukraine (ARDU). Read more here:



March 26th, 15:15-17:00 double seminar with Oguzhan Mutluer and Nino Javakhishvili & Nino Butsashvili

Double seminar, March 26,  15.15–17.00

Where: Seminar room, 8th floor, C 0826, Niagara buidling (alternatelively, zoom

15:15-16:00: Research on the Films of the Russian-Ukrainian War

Oğuzhan Mutluer holds a Doctoral degree from İhsan Doğramacı Bilkent University, International Relations. Currently, he is a research assistant at Eskişehir Osmangazi University, Turkey. His research interests include films & politics, memory politics, the history of Soviet and post-Soviet Russian cinema, and contemporary Russian politics.


The Russian-Ukrainian War has been one of the critical conflicts in world politics in the last decade and the latest invasion stage has been the most significant military conflict in Europe since the end of the Second World War. While the impact of the conflict on world politics is particular in terms of power politics, perceptions of the war also have a substantial part for both sides. Cultural mediums may affect perceptions to mobilize the masses and make them experience conflict throughout a narrative. The main topic of my research is to analyze the Russian-Ukrainian War-based films to understand the perceptions of each side. For this purpose, I will ask, “How has the crisis been represented in the national cinemas of Ukraine and Russia?” as a question. I claim that the visual discourse on the big screen may help us to understand perceptions and motivations about the war as films can represent, construct and modify reality. In the first step of the research, I will focus on Russian and Ukrainian film politics. Then, I will categorize the films through their genres. In the next stage, I will analyze the films using sociological, political-ideological and historical analysis, semiotics, auteur analysis and genre analysis. The main goal of the research is to find similar or contradicting patterns in both Ukrainian and Russian films depicting the conflict.


16:00:-17:00: Contestation but not Euroscepticism: economic and security concerns and the fear of losing national traditions in Georgia


Presenter – Nino Javakhishvili is a full professor of psychology at the School of Arts and Sciences and director of D. Uznadze Institute of Psychology at Ilia State University. She is widely published locally and internationally and her research and teaching focus are intergroup relations, identity formation and gender equality, among others.

Co-author – Nino Butsashvili, PhD in psychology, is a research assistant at D. Uznadze Institute of Psychology at Ilia State University. She is involved in several research projects, including studies which focus on intergroup relations and identity formations.


This paper examines the role of utilitarian, political and cultural/identity-based factors of Euroscepticism on a nationwide representative sample of ethnic Georgians (dataset from the study of “Knowledge of and attitudes toward the EU in Georgia, 2021”). Hierarchical multiple logistic regression showed that for ethnic Georgians, utilitarian factors are the strongest predictors of support for the EU integration, followed by cultural/identity and political variables, supporting the rational choice theory. These predictors are, in turn, anteceded by popular perceptions of the EU in Georgia. Mediation analysis revealed that the perception of the EU as a source of peace and security precedes the hope for an increase in national security with its support (political predictor). Likewise, the perception of the EU as a champion of the economic development antecedes the hope for reduced poverty in Georgia (utilitarian predictor). These consequences, in turn, lead to decision to vote for the EU membership. On the other hand, the perception of the EU as a threat to national traditions does not predict Euroscepticism. We elaborate on this result through an examination of the current political atmosphere of Georgia, where we determine that fears of losing national traditions are outweighed by fears of economic and political insecurity.


RUCARR seminar with Doctoral Fellow Natalia Iost – March 12

The Influence of Critical Junctures with Russian Involvement on its Standing in the Baltic States. The Analysis of Narratives and Public Perceptions

When: March 12, 2024, 15.15-16.30
Where: Niagara building, 9th floor, seminar room (zoom:

Natalia Iost studied political science and Jewish theology in the Universities of Heidelberg, Stuttgart, and the University of Jewish Studies. Today, she is a Doctoral Fellow in the University of Greifswald’s International Research Training Group: Baltic Peripeties – Narratives of Reformations, Revolutions, and Catastrophes.


Critical junctures with Russian involvement have always affected the security situation in the Baltic states. The Russian-Georgia War (2008), the Annexation of Crimea (2014), as well as the beginning of the Russian-Ukraine War in 2022 caused a splash in security narratives, which increasingly depict Russia as the main threat. In my analysis, I apply securitization theory to show how critical junctures such as international crises and wars influenced the securitization of Russia in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in the last 30 years. I will answer the questions of how exactly the depictions of Russia changed in the security narratives of the Baltic states in the aftermath of the international crises. Which Russia-related issues started to be perceived as a threat? And which strategies were discussed to combat the threats? In the next step, I will analyze the changes in public attitudes towards Russia in all BSR countries. I claim that critical junctures with Russian involvement considerably influenced security narratives and public attitudes in the Baltic states and the whole Baltic Sea region, shifting Russia to the very center of security concerns.

Seminar Febr 6 with Dr Lena Hercberga: Understanding difference and disagreement among young Russian speakers in Latvia

Welcome to the first RUCARR seminar this spring semester. On Tuesday February 6, 15.15–16.30 Dr Lena Hercberga (Copenhagen Business School) will present her research:

How to be many: understanding difference and disagreement among young Russian speakers in Latvia

Lena Hercberga (Copenhagen Business School) holds a Doctoral degree from the University of Bristol, UK. Her current research interests include revisiting post-Soviet identity struggles, social cleavages, and democracy from alternative points of view, such as e.g., radical democracy and agonistic pluralism. Additionally, Lena is interested in self-reflexive forms of inquiry and non-conventional research methods


This self-reflexive ethnographic study aims to contribute to the knowledge about minoritised young Russian speakers in Latvia by understanding how a group of young Russophone high-school students (aged 16-18) perceive and perform difference in the context of long-lasting exclusionary minority politics in the country. By applying the theoretical lens of Chantal Mouffe’s agonistic pluralism, the study was able to foreground moments of disagreement and conflict – as opposed to the conventional focus on the moments of consolidation and unity – with ‘the other’. The methodological approach to extend school ethnography to an urban walking experiment allowed to account for Mouffe’s emerging and nomadic conception of identity as well as to observe the group’s engagement with ‘the different’ in a less confined setting.
The study contributes to the pool of previous research in this field by unpacking complexity behind the relations of the research participants with ‘self’ and ‘the other’. The process of perceiving and performing difference by these young people can be described as a balancing act of two contradictory yet complementary behaviours: 1) displacement across various discursive fields in the process of self-making, and 2) fixation – when the research participants perform their difference according to the context and structures of power in place. By being able to navigate complex structures of power, social norms and expectations ‘on the surface’, these young people thus negotiate a ‘backstage’ space where they can be many, i.e., enact multiple, at times conflicting discursive fields in the process of self-making. By depicting the research participants as constituted through multiple subject positions, the study contributes to the critique of binary conception of Latvian society along ethnic lines, as well as to more global issues of democratising minority/majority relations in post-Soviet/post-colonial contexts.

RUCARR Thesis Award 2023 to Lara Sánchez Gil

Lara Sanchez Gil received the RUCARR Thesis Award 2023 for her MA thesis Being together through ICTs
Transnational family practices in the context of Ukrainian forced migration.
It was written as an MA thesis in the subject International Migration and Ethnic Relations, at the Department of Global Political Studies, Malmö University. Supervisor: Katarina Mozetič. The prize was awarded by Dean of the Faculty of Culture and Society, Annika Olsson, Our warm congratulations to Lara!


An Honorauble mention was awarded to Johan Richter for his BA Thesis The Russia and China Disinformation Nexus (below). Supervisor: Isobel Squire.

The RUCARR thesis competition for BA and Masters levels at Malmö University is organized by the research platform Russia, Ukraine and the Caucasus Regional Research (RUCARR). The aim of this competition is to promote interest among students in the current development in the region.