Welcome to join us for the Roundtable on Russia-China relations – a joint event organized by RUCARR, Malmö University, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University and the Swedish Society for the Study of Russia, Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Russia’s all-out war against Ukraine and its escalation on February 24, 2022, was seen by many observers as an attack on the security architecture that was established in Europe after the end of the Cold War. During the first weeks and months after the invasion, speculations abounded that China was the only actor that could prompt Putin’s Russia into a de-escalation of the war. China was attributed a key role in the development of the war. If it sided with Russia in supplying arms and helping it to evade the effects of the international sanctions, this could lead to a decisive Russian victory and a change in the global correlation of forces. On the other hand, if it leaned towards the side of Ukraine, the United States and the political West in condemning the war, it would substantially weaken Russia’s hand. More than six months after the Russian invasion, China still seems to maintain a wait-and-see position, and the world is still waiting to see what position it will eventually take regarding the war.
Against this background, this roundtable discusses the history, dynamics and current developments of relations between China and Russia, focusing on both political leaders and ordinary citizens, and from the perspectives of historians, anthropologists, and political scientists.
Dr. Alexander Dukalskis, School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin, more info
Professor Bo Petersson, Dept. of Global Political Studies, RUCARR, Malmö University, more info
Dr. Ed Pulford, Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester, more info
Professor Marina Svensson, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University (moderator), more info
“OK, realist?” A critical scrutiny of rationalization in Western commentary on Russia and Eastern Europe
GPS & RUCARR seminar with Dr Aliaksei Kazharski, Charles University in Prague, Comenius University in Bratislava and visiting researcher at RUCARR/GPS, Faculty of Culture and Society, Malmö University.
When: September 7, 13-15
Where: Seminar room 9th floor, Niagara and Zoom (link https://mau-se.zoom.us/s/63723147663)
There is an established tradition of realist-inspired commentary and policy advice on Russia in the West, which traditionally argues for recognition of Russia’s “legitimate interests” and “security concerns.” This commentary hinges on (uncritical) assumptions of the inevitability of anarchy and the security dilemma, as well as on a “structural” logic in virtue of conflict inevitably stems from major shifts in the international distribution of power. This form of realist reductionism tends to ignore or downplay domestic political, organizational, emotional, and ideational factors that drive state behavior. In Russia’s case these factors certainly happen to play a central role, as recognition claims and emotional attachment to former imperial territories as well as siege mentality operating as a regime-survival strategy trump the security or economic-oriented (perception of) interests that rational-choice explanatory models assume to be central to state behavior. By framing the issue in terms of rational choice models, realist commentary ex post facto rationalizes and legitimizes Russia’s transgressive behavior for the international audiences. This discursive industry of non-peer reviewed op-eds on Russia and Eastern Europe, which appear in leading Western media outlets, thus calls for academic scrutiny for both methodological and normative reasons.
Navigating Between History, Memory, and Politics: Circassian Trans-Nationalism in the 21st Century
A Discussion with Prof. Madina Tlostanova (Linköping University, Sweden) and Dr. Lidia Zhigunova (Tulane University, USA)
Welcome to this hybrid event at Malmö University campus and Zoom!
When: Wednesday June 15, 10-12 CET
Where: Zoom link https://mau-se.zoom.us/s/68871079725. (Passcode 105032). Please, note: the seminar will be held only online.
Photos: Lidia Zhigunva (left) and Madina Tlostanova (right)
In recent decades, we have witnessed a renewed ethnic mobilization among Circassians in the North Caucasus region in Russia, as well as among Circassians living in diasporic communities throughout the world. There has been an increased interaction between these two communities, especially since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011 and the attempts of Circassians to save their compatriots by bringing them back and helping them to resettle in their homeland in the Russian North Caucasus. Our discussion will focus on the new forms of Circassian trans-diasporic mobilization and activism that led to the emergence of grassroots activism, the new civil society organizations and a substantially increased number of internet-based initiatives. Navigating between history, memory, and contemporary politics, Circassians have been able to cross many divides that no longer seem to be an issue in a post-Soviet digital world. They have showed a strong sense of common purpose in response to the many challenges faced by this community, whether defending their political and linguistic rights, or pushing Russia to reexamine its imperial legacy in the North Caucasus.
Stalin’s Millennials: Nostalgia, Trauma, and Nationalism
Welcome to the book presentation with Tinatin Japaridze on her debut monograph Stalin’s Millennials: Nostalgia, Trauma, and Nationalism
When: April 5, 3.15-5.00 pm CET
Where: Zoom https://mau-se.zoom.us/j/61617665776
In her monograph Tinatin Japaridze examines Joseph Stalin’s increasing popularity in the post-Soviet space, and analyzes how his image, and the nostalgia it evokes, is manipulated and exploited for political gain. The author argues that, in addition to the evil dictator and the Georgian comrade, there is a third portrayal of Stalin—the one projected by the generation that saw the tail end of the USSR, the post-Soviet millennials. This book is not a biography of one of the most controversial historical figures of the past century. Rather, through a combination of sociopolitical commentary and autobiographical elements that are uncommon in monographs of this kind, the attempt is to explore how Joseph Stalin’s complex legacies and the conflicting cult of his irreconcilable tripartite of personalities still loom over the region as a whole, including Russia and, perhaps to an even deeper extent, Koba’s native land—now the independent Republic of Georgia, caught between its unreconciled Soviet past and the potential future within the European Union.
Tinatin Japaridze is currently the Director of Policy and Strategy at The Critical Mass, whose mission is to transcend existing global security assistance silos by supporting a critical mass of professionals with the capabilities and sustainment architecture needed to meet and defeat persistent and emerging threats and vulnerabilities. Prior to this position, Japaridze worked for the City of New York, first as the Field and Digital Community Engagement Specialist at the NYC Census, a Mayoral initiative, and later as the Press Secretary for New York’s COVID-19 Response at NYC Health & Hospitals. Previously, she was the United Nations Bureau Chief for Eastern European media outlets and U.N. Radio host and producer of her own radio show on current affairs and security in the international arena. In 2019, she became a Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs Student Ambassador on Cyber Ethics and Digital Leadership. A graduate of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, Tinatin was a University Consortium fellow. She worked as a “Go Big” Officer at the European Leadership Network (ELN), crafting a digital campaign to extend the New START between Russia and the US, and in 2021, Japaridze became a member of the ELN’s Younger Generation Leaders Network. In her previous musical career, Tinatin co-wrote and performed an award-winning United Nations anthem based on the UN Charter, “We the Peoples,” and her song, “Is It True?” was the silver-prize winner at the Eurovision Song Contest representing Iceland in 2009
Defending History? The Impact of Context and Speaker in Russia
When? March 15th, 3:15pm
Where? Zoom: https://mau-se.zoom.us/j/64203597686
As part of their nation-building efforts, political elites in post-communist Europe have increasingly regulated how the past can be talked about in public. Critical historical discourse has been eradicated from public discourse through memory laws in particular. However, we lack insights into the implications of such laws for what people make of the past and under what circumstances people are prepared to accept critical comments on a country’s history.
Employing an original vignette experiment conducted in 2021, this article addresses these lacunae in the context of the Russian Federation, where the memory of the Red Army’s victory in World War II has been overwhelmingly embraced by the population. Our results demonstrate that in-group criticism of a shared norm is accepted, while criticism by an out-group member is rejected. Additionally, we find that the state has little power to shape what citizens hold to be true about a specific past event; rather, the interpretations historical events are given reflect existing lines of political support and opposition within Russia.
Biography: Félix Krawatzek is a political scientist and, since September 2018, a senior researcher at ZOiS, where he coordinates the research cluster Youth in Eastern Europe. He is also an Associate Member of Nuffield College (University of Oxford). His research focuses on post-Soviet politics and European politics more broadly. Félix Krawatzek is particularly interested in the role of youth in politics, the significance of historical representation in political processes, and questions related to migration and transnationalism. Before joining ZOiS, Félix Krawatzek held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations. He finished his doctorate at the University of Oxford and was a visiting fellow at Sciences Po Paris (Centre d’études et de recherches internationales) and at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University.
Russia’s identity and foreign policy: understanding the roots of the international crisis
When?: March 1st 2022, 3:15pm
The seminar will focus on the role of identity in Russian foreign policy making and the trajectories that Russian identity formation has followed since the break-up of the Soviet Union. What are the main Russian concepts of the collective Self and how have they been connected to the Western Other? What is the function of supranational identitary constructs such as Eurasianism or Russian civilizationism? What role did identity play in the 2014 Ukraine crisis and the current tensions around Ukraine? How does the authoritarian regime in Russia instrumentalize identity? What are the possible policy implications and how should we approach Russian behavior based on our understanding of identity?
Dr. Aliaksei Kazharski received his PhD from Comenius University in Bratislava (Slovakia) in 2015. As a doctoral student, he spent time as a guest researcher at the University of Oslo (Norway), University of Tartu (Estonia) and the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna (Austria). He has also been a visiting researcher at the University of Vienna and has worked as a researcher and lecturer at Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic) and Comenius University in Bratislava. Aliaksei’s doctoral dissertation was published by Central European University Press as a monograph in 2019 (Eurasian Integration and the Russian World: Regionalism as an Identitary Enterprise). He has also contributed to the work of regional think tanks and debate platforms such as the GLOBSEC Policy Institute and Visegrad Insight. Aliaksei’s main areas of research have been Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, regionalism and regional integration, and identity in international relations. He has published his scholarship on these subjects in Geopolitics, Problems of Post-Communism and other academic journals with an international impact.
RUCARR is happy to announce that on Friday the 11th of February at 1315 a roundtable discussion regarding the evolving Russia-Ukraine situation will be held. Three expert panelist will be involved giving their views on what is occurring and then taking questions from the audience.
The Panelists involved are Professor Derek Hutcheson, Dr. Sarah Whitmore, and Dr. Kateryna Zarembo. Chair: Nick Baigent, RUCARR.
The event will be held online and can be accessed on zoom at the following link:
Meeting ID: 693 8029 0094
Dr Sarah Whitmore is a reader in Political Science at Oxford Brookes University. Dr Whitmore’s research focuses upon post-Soviet politics and she is interested in the evolution of formal institutions, their significance in structuring and reproducing power in post-Soviet states, their relationship with informal practices and the implications this has for the political system. Her empirical focus is predominantly on Ukraine and Russia. Her current British Academy funded research project together with Professor Bettina Renz at the University of Nottingham is investigating the importance of the political and strategic context for military reform in Ukraine.
Kateryna Zarembo is a Kyiv-based policy analyst and university lecturer. Her area of expertise is foreign and security policy as well as civil society studies, with a focus on Ukraine. She is an associate fellow at the New Europe Center (Kyiv, Ukraine). She also teaches at the National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”.
Prof. Derek Hutcheson is a Professor of Political Science in the Department of Global Political Studies (GPS) and vice dean of the Faculty of Culture and Society (KS) at Malmö University, Sweden. He has an extensive background working on issues around Russian and post-Soviet politics, as well as comparative research on transnational citizenship, electoral rights, and local democracy.
Welcome to the seminar on February 8 with Dr. Maria Brock, Postdoc at Malmö University: Protecting children in the name of ‘traditional values’ in Russia and Germany.
When: February 8, 3.15-5.00 pm (CET)
Where: Sign up here for zoom link
The recent rise of illiberal, conservative and right-wing populist movements poses an acute threat to democracy and equality in Europe. One pervasive but underresearched strand of these movements advocates ‘traditional family values’, in particular conservative sexual and gender politics, in the name of protecting children. With my project, l plan to fill this research gap through interdisciplinary research examining the discursive construction of the child as the ultimate site of vulnerability and risk, and hence in need of protection and policy intervention. The research is characterised by a significant comparative dimension, analysing discourses by conservative, ‘pro-traditional family values’ actors, from politicians to activists, in Germany and Russia. In my presentation for RUCARR, I will focus on Russian actors’ ‘traditional values’ discourse and -policies as they pertain to children.
With a Phd in Psychosocial Studies from Birkbeck (University of London), and a background in Russian Studies, much of my research is preoccupied with the discursive and psychosocial dynamics of transitional and post-transitional societies, often focusing on Russia. Another, connected strand of my work examines misogynist, anti-feminist and anti-LGBTQ violence. Previous and upcoming publications have for example looked at the material and psychic remains of socialism, Camp and post-Soviet pop, Pussy Riot and negative societal mobilisation, the vicissitudes of queer (in)visibility in Russia, and networked misogyny and right-wing extremism (with our own Tina Askanius).
Varför utgör Navalnyj en sådan utmaning mot Putin och det etablissemang han leder?
15 dec 10.05-10.20 inledningstalar Prof. Bo Petersson (RUCARR, Malmö universitet) om ”Varför Navalnyj utgör en sådan utmaning mot Putin och det etablissemang han leder” vid Sydöstra Skånes Mänskliga Rättigheterskonferens, Simrishamns Rådhus.
Läs mer om evenemanget här
Följ evenemanget online, som livestreamas här.
The new publication The Putin Predicament” by Prof. Bo Petersson has appeared. Congratulations! Celebration at the Department of Global Political Studies.
Using the Russian president’s major public addresses as the main source, Bo Petersson analyzes the legitimization strategies employed during Vladimir Putin’s third and fourth terms in office. The argument is that these strategies have rested on Putin’s highly personalized blend of strongman-image projection and presentation as the embodiment of Russia’s great power myth. Putin appears as the only credible guarantor against renewed weakness, political chaos, and interference from abroad—in particular from the US.