The annual gulagechoes workshop took place this year after the interruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, on this occasion the war in Ukraine meant that some Russian passport holders who have contributed to the project were unable to attend, in person. Nevertheless, we were able to assembly an international group of scholars who are now becoming leaders in the field of post-communist penological studies for a three-day workshop.
Now that we have passed the halfway mark in the project and are nearing the end of the data collection phase of our work, we were in a position to take stock of what we have achieved so far and what gaps remain to be filled. The first session of the workshop was concerned with identifying the principal themes that have surfaced from the project’s historical and geographical case studies. It was gratifying that there was a remarkable degree of agreement among those present about the themes and how they might be woven into a co-authored monograph that will showcase the advances the project is making in research on penality across the Eurasian region. Subsequent sessions focused, in turn, on the case studies lead by each of the project’s research fellows; the historical antecedents in the Soviet Gulag, the country examples of Russia, Estonia, and Georgia. The project was fortunate that Lili di Puppo, a visiting fellow at the Aleksanteri Institute was able to lead discussion on the Muslim case study and we look forward to welcoming her in a formal capacity to the project in the autumn.
The workshop took place in the perfect location of the Nuuksio National Park, where we appropriated two apartments that allowed us to self-cater, which gave us flexibility to combine work with breaks when we could enjoy the beauty of the park.