Kaarina Aitamurto is Acting Research Coordinator in the Aleksanteri Institute.  In 2017 she became Adjunct Professor (docent) in Religion Studies at the University of Helsinki.  Her areas of expertise are Islam and contemporary Paganism in Russia. In her current research, she focuses on the governance and the representation of Islam in contemporary Russia, and migrant integration.



Sherzod Eraliev is Postdoctoral Researcher in the Aleksanteri Institute.  He defended his PhD thesis on Russia’s policies vis-à-vis labour migrants from Central Asia at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, in 2018. His  research interests include state migration policies, migration regimes, skilled migration, migration and religion, and everyday migrant practices.

sherzod.eraliev [at]


Vladimir Gelman is Professor of Russian Politics in the University of Helsinki.  He focuses on political regime dynamics, political institutions, governance and policy-making, elections, political parties and political protests, and sub-national politics in Russia.  His expertise includes also authoritarianism,  contentious politics, and regional and local government.



Anna-Liisa Heusala is University
Lecturer in Russian and Eurasian Studies in the University of Helsinki. She holds the title of Docent in Political Science in the University of Helsinki and the title of Docent in Comprehensive Security in the Finnish National Defence University. Her research focuses on public  administration,  legal culture, comprehensive and human security. She is the principal investigator in the KONE Foundation funded project Migration, Shadow Economy and Parallel Legal Orders in Russia, and  in two H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions funded Consortium subprojects.

anna-liisa.heusala [at]


Mirzhokhid Karshiev is Doctoral Candidate in the Doctoral Programme of Political, Societal and Regional Change at the University of Helsinki. He is also a member of the International Network in Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies (INREES). His PhD thesis focuses on the changing nature of local level citizen-state relations in Uzbekistan.




Katalin Miklossy. Photo Veikko Somerpuro

Katalin Miklossy  is University Lecturer in Eastern European Studies in the University of Helsinki. She is a historian of contemporary history and an area specialist in East Central and South Eastern Europe. In her research she is currently focusing on competition in connection to societal change, and on the role of culturally anchored ideas and practices in authoritarian tendencies. She has also studied Cold War interactions and their consequences on the transformations in the Eastern Bloc.



Rustam Urinboyev is Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology of Law at Lund University and Senior Researcher in the Aleksanteri Institute. He holds the title of Docent in Russian and Eurasian Studies in the University of Helsinki. His current research focuses on the socio-legal integration of Central Asian migrant workers in Russia, migration regimes in non-democratic societies,  ethnicity and religion in prisons, and  legal cultures in Central Asia. He is the principal investigator in the project Non-Western Migration Regimes, funded by the University of Helsinki 3-year Grant.

rustamjon.urinboyev [at]