Research group

We are based at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki and affiliated with the Aleksanteri Institute and the Helsinki Center for Digital Humanities – HELDIG. Our research mission is twofold. First, we focus on how Russian society, politics and culture are reconfigured in the context of digitalisation, datafication and algorithmic governance. Second, we advance the use of digital humanities methods in the Russian studies.

Email addresses follow the pattern:

Daria Gritsenko is an Assistant Professor in Russian Big Data Methodology, Adjunct Professor in Environmental Policy and the founder of the Digital Russia Studies network. She has a PhD in the field of social and public policy (2014) from the University of Helsinki. Her ongoing research investigates how digitalisation, datafication and algorithms are transforming public administration, economic and political governance in a comparative perspective. In particular, she focuses on the policy-making activities of private actors, environmental sustainability and infrastructure governance in the Russian Arctic. Her research has been published in leading outlets, including Energy Policy, Marine Policy, Energy Research and Social Science, Maritime Policy and Management. Daria teaches courses on digital methods in human sciences and mixed methods research design and supervises Master and PhD students with an interest in applying big data methodologies to explore policy-making and governance in Russia and beyond. Daria is affiliated with the HELDIG and holds a membership at the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS).



Mariëlle Wijermars is an Assistant Professor in Cyber-Security and Politics at Maastricht University and  Visiting Researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. She is the principle investigator of the project ‘Sustainable Journalism for the Algorithmic Future’, funded by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation (2020-2022). She is co-founder of Digital Russia Studies and previously worked on the projects ‘Russian Media Lab: Freedom of Speech and Critical Journalism in Russia’ (HSS) and ‘Selling Censorship: Affective Framing and the Legitimation of Internet Control in Russia’ (funded by Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research). Her research focuses on political communication, media and internet governance, and (online) freedom of speech in Russia. Mariëlle’s recent publications include (co-edited with Katja Lehtisaari) Freedom of Expression in Russia’s New Mediasphere (Routledge, 2020) and Memory Politics in Contemporary Russian: Television, Cinema and the State (Routledge 2019).



Andrey Indukaev is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki.  His research focuses on the digitalization in Russia as a process that spans across economic, technological and public administration spheres and is heavily influenced by the perspective of private actors related to the ICT sector. His PhD in sociology (ENS Paris-Saclay, France) explores the academic entrepreneurship in Russia within the context of the country’s transforming innovation policy, as well as its political system in general. Indukaev combines qualitative research techniques with advanced digital methods, especially applied to textual data. He is developing new methods aiming at enhancing the quality of the text mining tools for Russian language, especially through the use of word embedding.



Anna Belokur is a Master student in the Russian Studies program (MARS) at the University of Helsinki, as well as a research assistant at the Aleksanteri Institute. She holds a degree in biology and started her MA thesis combining natural and social sciences in the examination of public health and disease in Russia in June 2019. Anna’s research focuses on the digital trail of Russia’s HIV epidemic, using big data methods to examine the ways in which HIV is present in (or absent from) Russian media discourse, and if/how the relative rates of media «awareness» regarding HIV correlate to rates of reported infections and deaths in various regions.

Former member:

Ilona Repponen was a research assistant at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. She has background in Translation Studies and worked on projects on open data and metadata of research data.