Article in Yliopisto-Lehti

The University newspaper Yliopisto-Lehti published a new article “Riip­pu­vuus Ve­nä­jän energiasta on on­gel­ma myös il­mas­ton kan­nal­ta” (Dependence on Russian energy is also a problem for the climate) with comments from Sakari Höysniemi. Höysniemi reflects upon this dependence from the perspective of supply security and climate politics. Read the full article here.


Shanghai Forum 2018

On 26-28th of May in China Shanghai Forum took place. Our researcher Sanna Kopra took part in the session “Global Arctic: A New Opportunity for Development”, sub-session ” The Global Arctic as A New Geopolitical Context and Asset”. Sanna presented a talk on the topic of China, Climate Change and Great Power Responsibility.

It was a first time when Shanghai Forum had a special session for Arctic issues and we are very happy that Dr. Kopra participated at such high-profile event.


Arctic PIRE conference in Helsinki

On 24th-25th of May researchers involved in Arctic PIRE project from the USA and Russia came to Helsinki for the networking event. The 2-day Arctic Sustainability conference consisted of a workshop and several external visits.

During the workshop, organised on 24th of May, the researchers presented their ongoing projects. Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen introduced his research group and its activities. Professor Robert Orttung talked about the Arctic Urban Sustainability Index, development of which is the goal of Arctic PIRE project. The Index is based on economic, social, environmental, governance, and planning indicators, which the project members try to evaluate. Graduate Research Assistant Nina Feldman presented her and Professor Nikolay Shiklomanov’s and M.S. Luis Suter’s work on the environmental indicators and showed a video from the summer 2017 field course in Salekhard, Labytnangi, and Vorkuta. Luis Suter spoke about his research on the second day as well. Professor Matthew Berman talked about his research on economic indicators, while Dr. Vera Kuklina and Dr. Marya Rozanova-Smith spoke about the social indicators, the data on which they collected during their field work in Yakutia and Naryan-Mar, Salekhard, Novyi Urengoy, respectively. Marya Rozanova, for example, did over 500 interviews with educational specialists, 14-16 years old school children, and governmental officials, and stressed the need for the regional Arctic University in the area.

On the first day several other research areas of the Arctic PIRE were prsented. Post-doctoral researcher Stephanie Hitztaler from our research team talked about “Родные города” initiative by Gazprom – a new take on corporate responsibility that tries to attach people to the cities they are working in. Arctic PIRE alumni Carly Giddings spoke on SMEs and entrepreneurs in the Arctic region, and Professor Nadezhda Zamyatina touched the issue of place attachment. Dr. Timothy Heleniak, who is currently working at Nordregio, updated the participants on the work of the research centre. Graduate research assistant Beth Short talked about her project #60above60, which aims at enhancing student understanding of sustainability, action and solving problems of global significance. During her stay in Helsinki Beth met with some of school teachers, so hopefully this important social project will have representatives in Helsinki too.

On the second day conference participants first had a meeting at the Ministry of the Environment with Ministerial Adviser Henna Haapala and Arctic Ambassador Aleksi Härkönen. Henna Haapala introduced the work of the Ministry on the sustainable development in Finland, and Aleksi Härkönen spoke about the Arctic Council and its priorities. Their presentations were followed by the question & answer session. Both speakers urged the scholars to send their research results to the governmental stakeholders. They also noted the importance of sharing good practices in the Arctic between the Arctic states.

In the afternoon the participants went to the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation headquarters, where they met with FANC Head of the Environmental Policy Jouni Nissinen and Greenpeace Campaigner Laura Meller.

Jouni Nissinen spoke about the FANC, which focuses on the protection of nature and environment in Finland and the outside world too – according to Nissinen, Finland as a wealthy nation cannot stay aside. Nissinen talked about the organisation’s achievements, challenges it faces, the FANC symbol – Saimaa ringed seal + the only endemic animal of Finland. Laura Meller also talked about what her organisation does in terms of environmental protection, both in Finland and abroad, and Greenpeace perspective on the Arctic region and its projects in the area, for example, “Save the Arctic”, that was launched in 2012.

After the visits, the final meeting of the conference started. Professors Alexander Sergunin and Jim Powell spoke about the planning/implementation indicators, and research assistants Claire Franco and Katherine Weingartner about the governance ones. The meeting was concluded with Bob Orttung’s final remarks and planning for the next steps of the Arctic PIRE project.

The Arctic Sustainability conference was a success, as it brought together scholars from different countries and disciplines, who received two days of fruitful discussion. The conference will serve as a good foundation for future cooperation with the researchers, involved in the Arctic PIRE project.

Climate Denial Revisited (Re)contextualising Russian Public Discourse on Climate Change during Putin 2.0

Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen published a new article “Climate Denial Revisited (Re)contextualising Russian Public Discourse on Climate Change during Putin 2.0” in Europe-Asia Studies, that he co-wrote with Nina Tynkkynen.

In this article we examine Russia’s recent public discourse on climate change, with a special focus on the arguments denying anthropogenic climate change. We scrutinise the ways in which denial arguments presented in the media are tied to the changing Russian political and economic context, especially the increasingly authoritarian turn in governance during President Vladimir Putin’s third term in office (Putin 2.0). We conclude that the Russian discourse on climate change emphasises Russia’s Great Power status, identifying its sovereignty and fossil energy as the basis of this status. This discourse refers to key categories, including Russia’s national identity and the spatial–material characteristics of the Russian state.


Popularized version of Hanna Lempinen’s and Lassi Heininen’s article published in Versus

A popularized version of “Paikallisten elämäntyylit, alkuperäiskansojen kulttuurit? Kulttuuri ja sen kestävyydet arktisten valtioiden strategioissa.” article by Hanna Lempinen  and Lassi Heininen was published in Versus online research forum. The piece is titled “Ovatko kulttuurit vain välineitä arktisille valtioille?” (Are cultures only instruments for the Arctic states?).

In the article the question of what the Arctic states mean by culture and how they talk about their cultures, their meaning, and their future in their Nordic strategies. You can read the full article and the comments written by Artic researchers on it at the Versus website.


Sakari Höysniemi’s new blog post for Winland project

Read a new blog post for the Winland project, written by Sakari Höysniemi and titled “Energiahuollosta kohti energiaturvallisuutta” (From Energy Supply to Energy Security).

There is little talk about energy security in Finland. Instead, the concepts of energy security or security of supply are usually used. These definitions may exclude from the discussion the questions of fairness, responsibility, comprehensive security, or the many tight connections that the energy has in relation to other natural resources, writes Sakari Höysniemi from the University of Helsinki.

The full post is available on the Winland website.

Professor Tynkkynen on why MPs refrain from talking about Russia

A new article was published in Ilta-Sanomat today by Päivi Lakka. She tried to contact 200 Finnish MPs and ask them a few questions about Russia. However, many preferred not to answer. In her piece “Kommentti: Kun kansanedustajilta kysyy Venäjästä, miksi vastaus on hiljaisuus?” (Comment: When MPs are asked about Russia, why silence is the answer?) Päivi Lakka tries to understand the reasons for this silence and quotes the words of Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, who said that for Finns Russia is still a taboo and they avoid to speak of it too directly. Tynkkynen believes that many politicians deliberately avoid taking part in a public debate on Russia, as it is very easy to get tangled up in it.

Read the full comment here. Russian translation of the article is available on InoSMI.

Sanna Kopra’s postdoctoral project received funding from the AoF

Sanna Kopra’s postdoctoral research project “The Rise of China and Normative Transformation in the Arctic Region” received a 3-year funding from the Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Culture and Society. Sanna is one of 30 postdoctoral researchers who got the funding, while 260 people applied for it.

The main criteria for financing decisions were, according to the funding principles of the Academy of Finland, the high scientific quality of the research plan and the qualifications of the applicant. In its funding decisions, the Research Council for Culture and Society notes in particular those postdoctoral researchers whose high-quality research plans combine strong academic and societal importance and scientific innovation.