Seminar with Katrine Gotfredsen on Georgian borderland villages – Living with “borderization”

Living with “borderization”: Accommodating, negotiating and contesting occupation in Georgian borderland villages

Welcome to next RUCARR  seminar on March 21 with Dr Katrine Godfredsen, senior lecturer in Caucasus Studies at Malmö Unversity.

When: March 21, 15.15-17.00

Where: Sign-up here for zoom link    (new link)

Zoom Meeting  https://mau-se.zoom.us/j/67632369897  Meeting ID: 676 3236 9897

Abstract

In this presentation I will outline some preliminary findings from recent ethnographic fieldwork in Georgia conducted as part of the research project “Occupied Intimacies: Borderization in Palestine, Georgia and Western Sahara”. The project as a whole is about contemporary military occupations and their effects on the everyday lives of people under their rule. It compares three cases of on-going and disputed military occupations: the Russian occupation of the Georgian territory of South Ossetia, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara.

The Georgian case study explores local effects of Russian border-making practices, or “borderization”, between the occupied territory of South Ossetia and Tbilisi controlled territory. Through the installation of physical barriers and symbolic gestures, such as signposts, fences and patrolling border guards, a previously invisible and elastic administrative boundary line (ABL) is gradually being turned into a de-facto international border. Moreover, these activities are accompanied by instances of what is locally described as “creeping occupation” – the step-by-step moving of fences and barbed wire further into Georgian controlled land and seizing of more Georgian territory.

Borderization has grave effects on the lives and livelihoods of borderland village communities. Some families have already experienced being cut off, or displaced, from their native farmlands, gardens and orchards, and others live with the fear and risk that this might happen at any time. This ongoing uncertainty presents local families with a number of economic and social problems and dilemmas, but it also fosters innovative strategies of accommodation, negotiation and contestation. In this presentation, I will examine how, and to which effect, borderization as a tool of dominance and subordination affects and reconfigures local village communities and livelihoods.

Seminar with Iryna Degtyarova – Needs and support for Ukrainian higher education in times of war: the Polish perspective

Needs and support for Ukrainian higher education in times of war: the Polish perspective

Welcome to the RUCARR seminar “Needs and support for Ukrainian higher education in times of war: the Polish perspective” with Dr. Iryna Degtyarova, Senior Researcher in Polish Rectors Foundation, SGH Warsaw School of Economics Rector’s Representative for Cooperation with Ukrainian Universities.

When: February 13, 15-17 CET

Where: zoom link: https://mau-se.zoom.us/s/67633545052

For those of you who would like to join the seminar at campus: Seminar room at floor 9, Niagara building (Nordenskiöldsgatan 1)

Abstract

“At the seminar Iryna Degtyarova will present a multidimensional perspective of support of Ukrainian academia in times of war of aggression of russian federation against Ukraine. The systemic perspective will be shared through the lenses of the Polish-Ukrainian national rectors’ conferences’ cooperation within the project funded by the Polish Ministry of Education and Science. She will focus also on the Institutional university perspective of the response to the war and refugee crisis . As for individual level, the recent study about the situation of Ukrainian academics abroad and their needs will be discussed.”

Insight into Ukraine’s current reality

Insight into Ukraine’s current reality

Welcome to the RUCARR seminar with Ukrainian students  Mariia Vashchenko and Zoriana Tsiupak.
When: February 8, 15.00-16.30.
Where: Zoom link https://mau-se.zoom.us/s/61691650885

For those of you who would like to join the seminar at campus: Seminar room at floor 9, Niagara building (Nordenskiöldsgatan 1)

Two Ukrainian students, staying in Malmö on a Swedish Institute scholarship, are going to hold a presentation about the situation in Ukraine in the context of the full scale russian invasion. They want to highlight some aspects of the current reality based on their personal experience and some statistical data found on the Internet. In their presentation they want to cover some challenges for Ukrainian citizens during the war time, including gender equality and social inclusion among other things. Moreover, the role of Lviv as a transit center of humanitarian aid and a refugees’ destination will be discussed. 

RUCARR Lunch Seminar January 24th: Understandings of democracy and “good citizenship” in Ukraine: utopia for the people, participation in politics not required

Understandings of democracy and “good citizenship” in Ukraine: utopia for the people, participation in politics not required by Dr. Joanna Szostek, Lecturer in Political Communication, University of Glasgow 

When: January 24th, 12:15-14:00 CET time

Where: Zoom-link: https://mau-se.zoom.us/j/63683894763

Description: This research presentation will explore how people in diverse peripheral regions of Ukraine understood democracy, their role as citizens in a democracy, and the meaning of “good citizenship” in 2021, the year before Russia’s full-scale invasion. Using thematic analysis of focus group discussions, the research demonstrates gaps and inconsistencies in the understandings of democracy articulated by participants. A utopian understanding of democracy was common, in which authorities are expected to “listen to the people” and keep them satisfied, but the need for government to manage conflicting interests is not recognized. Understandings of good citizenship are inclusive and pro-social, but mostly detached from institutional politics. Similarity was observed across regions in how democracy is understood in the abstract. However, the meaning ascribed to democracy often varied when discussion moved from the abstract to particular country examples – a finding relevant beyond the Ukrainian case, for survey-based research on public understandings of democracy more generally.

 

 

Seminar on Georgia and the Russian invasion of Ukraine with Prof. Alexandre Kukhianidze, Dec. 13

Georgia: history and memory in the conditions of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Video from the seminar available here: https://youtu.be/I0vvrtdzSg4

 

RUCARR online seminar with visiting researcher Alexandre Kukhianidze, Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences,  Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University University (Georgia).

When: December 13, 15.15-17.00 CET (6.15-8.00 pm Tbilisi)
Where: Zoom link https://mau-se.zoom.us/s/62874227691

Abstract

The online seminar discusses how Russia’s attack on Ukraine in the early morning of February 24, 2022, led not only to a rethinking of international security and stability, of Russia’s entire policy towards its immediate neighbors, but also to international assessments of Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008. The war led to a complication in relations between the ruling “Georgian Dream” party and the Ukrainian leadership, influenced the relationship of the Georgian leadership with the political opposition and leading non-governmental organizations, as well as the relationship of the ruling party to the European Union and the United States. Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the Georgian political opposition is increasingly accusing the political leadership of Georgia of pro-Russian orientation, rejection of European and Euro-Atlantic integration and insufficient assistance to Ukraine, attacks by individual representatives of the “Georgian Dream” on the ambassadors of the European Union, the United States and the leadership of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the scale of mass rallies held in Georgia in support of Ukraine and aimed at criticizing the Georgian leadership has sharply decreased by the autumn of 2022, which has an impact on the stability of the latter. Based on personal observations and analysis of the entire post-Soviet period in Georgia, the speaker explains the reasons for the behavior of the Georgian leadership and the public against the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

 

 

Seminar Nov 29: Attitudes to Putin-Era Patriotism Amongst Russia’s ‘In Between’ Generation

Attitudes to Putin-Era Patriotism Amongst Russia’s ‘In Between’ Generation, Seminar with Dr. Jussi Lassila, Finnish Institute of International Affairs

When? November 29th, 15:15.17:00

Where? On Zoom: https://mau-se.zoom.us/j/65931690478

Putin-era patriotism has become mandatory across different social groups and communities in terms of their relationship to the state. In particular, there has been a growing polarization between the construction of patriotic policies and attitudes towards these policies by their targets. As a rule, actors representing Soviet-era generations are increasingly producing patriotism derived from Soviet ideals for generations who lack personal experience of the Soviet Union as well as the 1990s that followed its collapse. At the same time, loyalty building to the authoritarian state, aimed at by patriotic education, is working rather poorly among the youngest Russians.

But what is known about Russians between these poles, between educators and those being educated? What is their attitude towards patriotism and the patriotic education of the Putin era? Russians born in the early 1980s form an important intermediate cohort between the older Soviet-era and younger ‘internet’ generations who came of age within different frameworks of patriotic socialisation. They started school in the last years of the USSR, finished their main schooling before the Putin-era patriotic education programmes began but whose own children are now undergoing them.

In this respect, this cohort has a personal connection to all three dimensions of the Putin-era patriotic policies: 1) the patriotic education of the Soviet era, 2) the “unpatriotic” 1990s, and 3) the patriotic education of the Putin era by living in the most socio-economically active phase under Putin and being parents to children who are central targets of patriotic education. Attitudes of this cohort provide us preliminary information about prerequisites for internalizing Putin-era patriotism by active adults of the 2010s and early 2020s. For this cohort the effect of the Soviet-era patriotism could be seen in their recognition of the virtues of official patriotism, but this identification was by no means political. This implies that the political banality of patriotism in general, something that anyone can share, underlines the overall limits of using patriotism for political purposes.

The presentation is based on a case study published this year (ʻAttitudes to Putin-Era Patriotism Amongst Russia’s ‘In Between’ Generationʼ, Jussi Lassila & Anna Sanina, Europe-Asia Studies, https://doi.org/10.1080/09668136.2022.2088702), which also provides a background for the current situation influenced by Putinʼs invasion of Ukraine.

 

Seminar on The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in the Soviet and Russian Press with Dr. Artyom Tonoyan, November 1

Seminar on The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in the Soviet and Russian Press with Dr. Artyom Tonoyan, November 1st 

When: November 1st, 15:15-17:00

Where?: Zoom-link: https://mau-se.zoom.us/j/63095278918

Black Garden Aflame: The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in the Soviet and Russian Press

For a few brief weeks in fall 2020, Western media buzzed with news of the intense war in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh). The conflict had been “frozen” since 1994, so the new outbreak of violence caught many journalists unawares.

By contrast, this conflict has been a mainstay in the Soviet, then Russian press. The sheer volume of published material—including eyewitness accounts, interviews with notable figures, and incisive, well-researched analyses—far exceeds anything produced by Western media.

Moscow’s knowledge of the region is as strong as it is permanent, dictated mainly by geopolitical interests. The collection of articles in the book—carefully translated, edited, and culled from a vast repository of Russian-language press curated by Artyom Tonoyan—presents in book form for the first time in English some of the most important material that has appeared from 1988 to the present.

BIO
A native of Gyumri, Armenia, Dr. Artyom Tonoyan is a sociologist and Visiting Professor of Global Studies at Hamline University, in St. Paul, Minnesota. His research interests include sociology of religion, religion and politics in the South Caucasus, and religion and nationalism in post-Soviet Russia. His articles have appeared in Demokratizatsiva: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, Society, and Modern Greek Studies Yearbook, among others. He has been a frequent guest on the BBC, Deutsche Welle, France 24, and other outlets. He is currently working on a book charting the social,historical, and religious backgrounds of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He received his Ph.D. from Baylor University.

 

 

Seminar on China’s policy towards the countries of South Caucasus with Dr. David Aptsiauri, Nov 15

Specifics of China’s policy towards the countries of South Caucasus during continuing global crisis

Welcome to the RUCARR seminar on November 15 with Dr. David Aptsiauri, who has served many years as Georgia’s Ambassador to China, Mongolia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Where: Zoom seminar,  Link: https://mau-se.zoom.us/s/64464981144

When: 1.15–3.00 pm Malmö CET (04.15–6.00 pm Tbilisi), November 15

Abstract

The presentation will be based on consideration of the current trends in development of cooperation between China and countries of South Caucasus, its influence on the region’s economic growth and security environment, particularly in the context of continuing pandemic crisis and war in Ukraine. The cooperation of the countries of South Caucasus in the frame of Chinese ,“Belt and Road Initiative” presents an important part of the analysis. The role of global and regional players in politics and economics of South Caucasus should enrich the knowledge of the updated situation in the region.

Bio

Ambassador David Aptsiauri, Dr. in International Economics, currently takes a position of General Director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Georgia, earlier worked as Senior Fellow at the Levan Mikeladze Training and Research Diplomatic Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. He is a career diplomat with almost 30 years of professional experience in diplomacy, that started in the United States in early 90s, where he was sent among the first group of Georgian diplomats to the newly established Embassy of Georgia to the United States and Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. During 2000-2004, Dr. Aptsiauri served as Deputy Minister, and later as First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. In 2014-2018, he served as Ambassador of Georgia to the People`s Republic of China, Mongolia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Prior to that, he was appointed as Ambassador of Georgia to the Republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia (2004-2007), Republic of Lithuania (2007-2008). 

In parallel with his diplomatic background Ambassador D. Aptsiauri has been actively involved in academic and research activities in the field of international economic relations as Visiting Professor and Senior Scholar in Georgia and abroad, he is the author of a wide range of publications on international economic relations. Currently he is a Senior Researcher at Tbilisi State University, runs the Center of the Black Sea Regional Development problems at the Georgian Technical University, is appointed as Member of the Board of the Georgian analythic Center “Geocase” and, as visiting professor, delivers lectures at Tbilisi State University, Beijing University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Astana International University (AIU), Kazakhstan. In 1994-2000, Ambassador Aptsiauri conducted academic and research activities in the United States, including lecturing and key presentations at Columbia University, University of Florida, the New York Bar Association. During 2004-2013 Dr. Aptsiauri also delivered lectures and ran training courses in educational and research organizations of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Sweden, Belgium, Greece, China, Baltic and other countries. In 2019 he was invited by the Azerbaijani Diplomatic Academy, (ADA-University) to conduct training program for senior diplomatic personnel on economic diplomacy. In addition, he has participated in numerous high level workshops, seminars and training courses / including the statements before Special Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly/ in Europe, the United States of America, Asia, Latin America, covering the crucial topics of international security and economic cooperation, conflict resolution and sustainable development, problems of children, regional and interregional collaboration, in particular the East-West dimension.

Seminar with Gregg Bucken-Knapp on the new book – Messages from Ukraine – Oct 25

Welcome to the joint GP, MIM and RUCARR seminar, where Prof. Gregg Bucken-Knapp, School of Public Administration at the University of Gothenburg, presents his new book “Messages from Ukraine”, co-authored with comic artist, illustrator, and graphic designer Joonas Sildre

When:  October 25, 3.15–5.00 CET 
Where: Zoom link https://mau-se.zoom.us/s/66628861480 

 About the book from the Toronto University Press: 

On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine that dominated headlines around the world. Millions of Ukrainians would flee the country, and a third of the population would be displaced. In the days following the invasion, Swedish migration expert Gregg Bucken-Knapp sent text messages to his Ukrainian colleagues, offering support and assistance. These were their responses.  

 In a series of graphic vignettes, Messages from Ukraine takes the words of Ukrainian migration professionals and transforms them into snapshots of how war affects the lives of everyday people: those who are forced to flee home and seek safety elsewhere, those who choose to stay and volunteer or fight, those who witness events unfolding from afar, and those who find themselves trapped in cities under siege. Messages from Ukraine captures a moment in time to tell a timeless story about war, displacement, determination, and resilience. 

Seminar on “Decommunisation and the Politics of Memory in Ukraine” with Dr. Maksym Kovalov, Sept 20

When Lenin Becomes Lennon: Decommunisation and the Politics of Memory in Ukraine

RUCARR Seminar with Dr. Maksym Kovalov, instructor of International Studies at the College of Charleston. Maksym’s research focuses on democratization, populism, politics of memory, and political institutions in post-communist states. His current research projects are on populism in Poland and on the impact of political outsiders on democracy in comparative perspective.

When: Tuesday 20th of September, 15:15-17:00

Where: Hybrid, Seminar room on 9th floor, Niagara

Or Zoom: https://mau-se.zoom.us/j/66119415789
 (no passcode required) (the presenter will attend online)

Abstract

In 2015 Ukraine’s parliament (Rada) passed a series of decommunization laws which set deadlines for clearing Soviet-era symbols from public spaces. Regional and municipal authorities were responsible for renaming the streets but Ukraine’s regions have shown highly uneven degrees of compliance with decommunization laws. How do we explain the differences in the scope of decommunization across Ukrainian regions? Why did some regions comply with the decommunization laws and rename all Soviet-era streets while others resisted and openly sabotaged the renaming process? I argue that political factors, or ‘politics of the present’, rather than structural factors, or ‘politics of the past’, explain the opposition to decommunisation since 2015. More specifically, two mutually necessary factors—the interaction among subnational veto players and the efforts of toponymic commissions—explain the opposition to the renaming of streets. Regions with a high number of subnational veto players and low engagement by toponymic commissions have shown a higher degree of resistance to the renaming of streets.