Call for Papers for the 22nd Annual Aleksanteri Conference

We welcome submissions to the 22nd Annual Aleksanteri Conference

This year’s conference will address changes in the relationships within and between the former communist countries of the Global East, by which we mean the region that has been labelled as post/former -Soviet, -socialist, -communist, -imperial.

In particular, we encourage colleagues to propose panels and papers that address the conference’s principal themes of legal choices, political transformations, and carceral practices. We also welcome submissions on recent research across a broad range of disciplines, including (but not limited to) law, geography, politics, history, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, literature and language, and international relations.

Deadline for submissions: May 1, 2023

Link with further information

GULAGECHOES Researcher Yuliya Brin Presents Her Work at Aleksanteri Institute

Our researcher Yuliya Brin presented her work at the Aleksanteri Institute today. Her presentation was accompanied by a poster on her dissertation findings. She investigates how traditional values impact domestic violence legislation using the example of the Istanbul Convention ratification in Armenia, Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus.

Gavin Slade Starts Visiting Fellowship with GULAGECHOES at Aleksanteri Institute

Both the Horizon 2020 GULAGECHOES and Academy of Finland Yugoslavian Penal Nationalism project teams are delighted that Professor Gavin Slade arrived in January on a two-month visiting fellowship from Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan. Gavin is a penal sociologist one of the leading western authorities on the post-communist prison systems of Europe and Asia.

He is the author of numerous articles in leading criminological journals and of the OUP monograph “Reorganizing crime: Mafia and anti-Mafia in post-Soviet Georgia.” (2013). He is best known for his work on the Georgian Vory-v-Zakony but in recent years his research interests have expanded to embrace the Central Asia and the Baltics states. He has collaborated with both Costanza Curro and Olga Zeveleva, both of the Gulagechoes team, on articles on Georgia, Lithuania and Estonia, and has been a member of the Gulagechoes ethics advisory board from the beginning of the project.

He has recently finished a UK Economic and Social Research Council-funded project on memory and public attitudes to imprisonment in Russia and Kazakhstan and it currently developing work on governance in post-communist prison systems. He is presenting his latest work at the Aleksanteri seminar on 28th February at 3pm in the Humina Room, Metsätalo.

Professor Judith Pallot attends “Spaces of Confinement” symposium

1st-2nd December 2022, Judith Pallot travelled to Tampere to attend a symposium “Spaces of Confinement” that marked the end of Päivi Kymäläinen’s project.

The symposium brought together a star line up of carceral geographers, including Professor Dominique Moran and Professor Chris Philo from the UK and  Ebba Högström from Sweden, and Virve Repo and Riina Lundman, from the ‘home team’. Judith was on a round table with  Sami Pirkola, Lauri Kuosmanen and Virve Repo which discussed “Care and Control practices in Institutions” from the perspectives of prisons, care homes, forensic and regular psychological hospitals.

Mykhailo Romanov joins GULAGECHOES team

Both the Horizon 2020 GULAGECHOES and Academy of Finland Yugoslavian Penal Nationalism project were delighted finally to be able to welcome Mykhailo Romanov to the Aleksanteri Institute for one month’s study leave.

Mykhailo Romanov (right) and Brendan Humphreys

Mykhailo is joining both projects for the next  two years, funded by an Academy of Finland grant for Ukrainian scholars. As Mykhailo is of an age to be mobilized into the Ukrainian armed forces, he will only be able to make occasional short-term visits to Helsinki. In addition to his university post as Associate Professor of the Penal Law and Criminology department of the Yaroslav Mydriy National Law University (Kharkiv) and Poltava University of Economics and Trade, Mykhailo works on a voluntary basis with the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection NGO, which among other projects, is engaged in preparing reports on the human rights violations in the liberated territories in Kharkiv oblast. Whilst here Mykhailo is working on joint comparative articles with Judith and Brendan, on the Ukrainian prison system, and developing networks with human rights lawyers.

Gulag Echoes research featured on CNN, The Guardian, and VICE News

Judith Pallot and Olga Zeveleva have been commenting on Russian prison conditions in international media after news broke that American basketball player Brittney Griner has been sent to a facility in Mordovia.

    • Judith Pallot was interviewed by VICE News about prison conditions in the facility where Brittney Griner was sent. Link.
    • Judith Pallot and Olga Zeveleva commented on prison conditions in Russia’s women’s colonies for The Guardian. Link.
    • Olga Zeveleva was featured on CNN‘s show The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. Link.

For more links to news stories featuring our work, see

We’re organising Aleksanteri Conference 2023!

At the closing ceremony of the Aleksanteri conference, we were able to announce that GULAGECHOES and YUGOSLAVIAN PENAL NATIONALISM have been chosen to be the co-organisers of the Aleksanteri conference together with the law Faculty’s Development in post-Soviet law group. The conference’s theme will be: “Decolonising space in the global east: Legal choices, Political Transformation, Carceral practices”. The members of the organising committee explained the theme of the conference and expressed the hope that they wold see everyone back at the Aleknsateri at the same time next year.

The projects attended the Aleksanteri Conference 2022

The annual Aleksanteri Conference gave members of the GULAGECHOES and YUGOSLAVIAN PENAL NATIONALISM teams the opportunity to present their findings to the broad section of the academic, civil society and foreign affairs community that attended this year’s conference. The theme of the conference arising out of the war in Ukraine was entitled “The New Age of Insecurity”.

The projects organised two panels: “War and Repression. Russia´s War Against Ukraine in Discursive, Comparative and Legal Perspective” and  “The Role of Penalty in Post-Community State Formation in Former Soviet and Yugoslavian space”.

The following papers were given by the members of  the gulagehcoes team: Mikhail Nakonenchny The rise of Neo-Stalinism, Weaponization of Conspiratorial “folk-history”, and Denial of Atrocities in Ukraine;  Olga Zeveleva Ethnicity, Class, and Security in Estonia: Perspectives from the Prison; Lili Di Puppo “Muslims do not submit to anyone except the Almighty”: Islam beyond prison categories in Russia and Costanza Curro The End of the Soviet Union in the Labour Colony of Khoni, Georgia.

For the Academy of Finland project, “The Yugoslavian penal nationalism”, Brendan Humphreys gave the paper Incarceration and Population Expulsion: Patterns from the Balkan and Ukraine Wars and Olga Kantokoski,  The Western Balkan Model of Carceral Punishment in the Context of the Penal Programme of Modernity.  The PI Judith Pallot’s presentation was Violence and Repression: the Carceral Fate of the Opponents of the War in Ukraine. We were joined on the panels by the project’s guest, international law expert Gleb Bogush and the founder of carceral geography Professor Dominique Moran.

An interview on filtration camps at “Viiden jälkeen”

Judith Pallot appeared on the Finnish broadcaster MTV’s programme Viiden Jälkeen in a feature on the forced relocations of Ukrainians to the Russian Federation since the invasion of Ukraine on 24th February 2022. She was asked to comment on what is known about what happens in the filtration camps in occupied territories of Eastern Ukraine and on the fate of people relocated to refuges centres in Russia.

After five: The filtering camp separates who will be transferred to Russia – the professor explains how the segregation takes place – watch free of charge on MTV Grandstand

Ethics Advisory Board meeting

The third meeting  of the GULAGECHOES Ethics Advisory Board took place on the 27th of October. Unlike in 2020, the members of the board were able to assemble in person this year. We welcomed previous members, Gleb Bogush, Dominque Moran, Marianna Murayeva and Svetlana Stephenson, and new member Matthias Neumann. The Board received the report of the ethnical performance of the project since the last meeting and discussed the implications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine for the future research for the project.