Project updates

We have not written anything in this blog since the 23rd of February 2022. That day we had a seminar by Elena Gorbacheva, made some plans for further research, and agreed to return to it in a few days. The next day Russia attacked Ukraine and the war started. We like millions of others across the world were shocked and terrified when the war started. We strongly condemn Russia’s invasion and our thoughts and sympathy go to all Ukrainians. We express our solidarity to all who oppose the war, in Russia and elsewhere.

For the past 50 days, most of our thoughts were directed toward the war and its victims. Yet, we tried to continue working and fulfill our project obligations. Apart from organising and taking part in various events like the forthcoming panel discussion on how to deal with surveys from Russia, we managed to hold a seminar ‘Unintended consequences of corruption indices: an experimental approach’ by Philipp Chapkovski, which was postponed from the original date because Philipp fled to Armenia, like many other people from Russia who want to do nothing with the regime that attacks a sovereign state. The recording of the talk will be made available in the upcoming weeks.

Another news we have – we are very glad to welcome Amelie Tolvin, a Master student at the University of Toronto’s Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, as a new trainee in our project. Amelie’s focus and interests lie in authoritarianism and protests in Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia. She is currently working on her graduate major research project, which examines the development of the 2020 protest movement in Belarus. Amelie started her traineeship on the 1st of April online and in May-June she will come to Helsinki to work with us. Soon you will hear and see more from her.

In the meantime, we are working on new articles and posts, events and papers. The next seminar we have planned will be held on the 11th of May. Iuliia Krivonosova, Doctoral researcher at Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia, and at the Kompetenzzentrum für Public Management, University of Bern, Switzerland will give a talk ‘Internet voting in Russia: Democratizing Power of Internet Voting Revised?’. We hope to see you there.

We wish everyone stays safe these days. Peace to Ukraine!

KONE funding

Last week Kone Foundation announced the recipients of its 2020 call and we are happy to say that Margarita Zavadskaya and Elena Gorbacheva will be taking part in one of the projects that were funded, FLOWISION – a 4-year project that will start in January 2021.

In the Changing “neighbournesses” of Finland funding programme’s now-ending, last thematic grant call, Sustainable Development, Russia, and Finland, the biggest grant went to Associate Professor in Russian Environmental Studies Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen and the FLOWISION consortium’s project. The project’s researchers, journalists and documentary filmmakers are aiming to make the flows of energy and waste visible. In so doing, they say, it is possible to reveal the political dimension of resource flows and to compare practices in Finland, Russia and elsewhere.

“In the project we have also wanted to listen intently to petrocultures that are seen as detrimental for mitigating climate change, i.e. to the ways that using oil is part of society and of our way of living. Trump’s USA and Russia are examples of what, from a European viewpoint, are often seen as petrocultures. And yet 75% of EU energy consumption involves fossil fuels, i.e. is based on oil, gas and coal.

In energy-poor countries such as Finland imported energy is not visible in the same way as it is, for example, in Russia, where fossil-fuel energy is indigenous and where oil in many senses greases the wheels of society. Energy-related materialities are more visible there, and it is thus possible to view them from the perspective of political power, too.

Once the project has begun, we will carry one trying to listen to these positive signals in what is generally considered the ‘dark side’ of the energy sector. Such listening offers a possibility for making the dark side of petroculture brighter. We believe that listening to these signals can help us as we aim for an energy transition, i.e. when we try to replace fossil energy with renewables.”

More information can be found from Kone website.

The game is afoot

On the 5th of February, we had our first project meeting, where the plan for the next three years was drafted. Our project is quite ambitious and its realisation requires fieldwork, participation in notable conferences, workshop organisation, extensive data collection, and many other important activities. The schedule is busy and therefore very exciting.

In this blog, we will be telling more about what we are doing for our project realisation in the coming months. In the meantime, we are working on the theoretical framework of ElMaRB already since January, and hope to present it in a few months. Stay tuned!