Muutokset, katkokset ja jatkuvuudet itäisessä Euroopassa

Sakari Höysniemi has co-written with Sigrid Kaasik-Krogerus and Dragana Cvetanović the article “Muutokset, katkokset ja jatkuvuudet itäisessä Euroopassa” (Changes, breaks and continuity in Eastern Europe)  for the latest issue of Idäntutkimus.

In the article they give an overview of the 18th Aleksanteri Conference, organised at the University of Helsinki on 24-26 of October. The writers give account of the keynote speakers’ presentation and of the most interesting panels and events of the conference. Aleksanteri conferences always draw a large number of participants who present high quality research and have fruitful conversations during the event. Soon the call for the Aleksanteri Conference 2019 will be open, stay tuned.

The latest Idäntutkimus issue can be found online here.

Hy­bri­di­tur­val­li­suu­den Stu­dia Ge­ne­ra­lia: Ener­gia asee­na luento, Jyväskylän yliopisto

Today, on 21st of January, Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen will give a lecture at the University of Jyväskylä at their Hybridivaikuttaminen (Hybrid Operations) lecture series. The title of Professor Tynkkynen’s lecture is “Energia aseena” (Energy as a weapon). The event starts at 16:00 at Agora Auditorio 2 (Mattilanniemi 2).

Luento tarkastelee EU:n ja Venäjän energiakauppaa materia- ja rahavirtojen vaikuttavuuksien kautta. Erityinen huomio kiinnitetään sekä energiainfrastruktuurin kautta avautuvaan rajoittavaan vallankäyttöön (kova ‘energia-ase’) että energiavirtojen ja -talouden kautta ylläpidettävään mahdollistavaan vallankäyttöön (pehmeä ‘energia-ase’). Suomen energiakauppa ja -yhteistyö Venäjän kanssa ansaitsee oman osionsa.

More information on the event can be found online here.

The Barents Observer article with Dmitry Yagodin’s interview

Atle Staalesen, journalist and Director of the Independent Barents Observer, wrote an article “Under surface of Russia’s Arctic super-region is looming disaster” about the “Arctic Media World” congress that took place last December in Salekhard. Our postdoctoral researcher Dmitry Yagodin also attended the congress and was interviewed by Staalesen about the perception of Russians of climate change:

According to Dmitry Yagodin, a postdoctoral researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, there are clear indications that a growing number Russians actually believe that climate change is a natural phenomenon.
He refers to the VCIOM study from 2017 and compares it with data from 2007. In the course of the ten year period, the number of respondents that said the changes are man-made had dropped from 59 percent to 55 percent. Similarly, 30 percent of respondents in the first study said climate change is part of a natural cycle, while in the latter, the number had increased to 35 percent.
«Contrary to expectations, there are today more people that are convinced about natural causes behind climate change,» Yagodin says to the Barents Observer.

In summer 2018 Yagodin spent weeks in the Yamal-Nenets region to get better understanding of local perceptions of climate change. He found a local research community that is actively studying the problem. But little public attention from the regional political establishment.
Yagodin’s key focus is the media and he believes journalists must take part of the blame. He has looked closely at the Russian media discourse since 2005 and found that the number of stories about climate change went up until year 2010. After that, there was a decline of attention.
«There has simply been a decline in interest,» he says. He has no clear answers, but sees a corresponding pattern in the Russian political discourse «If you look at statements from political leaders you see that there has been a turn from the international focus under President Dmitry Medvedev and till today.»
«The image of being a responsible player has changed,» he says.

The full version of the article is available online.

Chapter in “Kaikenlaista rohkeutta”

Gaudeamus published a new book “Kaikenlaista rohkeutta” (Many kinds of bravery) this year, and Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen contributed to the book with a chapter “Rohkeuden puute ajaa öljyvaltio Venäjän rakentamaan hiilivetykulttuuria” (Lack of courage drives Russian petrostate to build a hydrocarbon culture). The volume is edited by Ilari Hetemäki, Hannu Koskinen, Tuija Pulkkinen, and Esa Väliverronen and is a part of Tieteen Päivät 2019.

Tieteen Päivät 2019 book “Kaikenlaista rohkeutta” examines the frames of courage and daring in society, science, and individuals. In the study, a daring person jumping into the unknown can break past truths or, for example, safely place a spacecraft at its destination after ten years of traveling. On the other hand, a seemingly small act may require an enormous amount of courage: touching a close one or getting your own voice heard in the work community.

More information on the book can be found at the publisher’s website.

Sanna Kopra on Finnish delegation’s visit to China this week

Sanna Kopra’s comments on the meetings of the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö and the President of China Xi Jinping in China this week were published today in Kauppalehti. The article “Suomalaisyritykset aikovat talviurheilulla Kiinan käyttöön – Yritysdelegaatio matkaa Niinistön vanavedessä” (Finnish companies intend to use China for winter sports – Business delegation’s visit in the wake of Niinistö’s).

President Sauli Niinistö’s visit to China has a high-level seminar on climate change in its programme. According to Kopra, it is interesting whether Niinistö raises black coal issue, which heats up the Arctic in particular. Niinistö has stressed the issue earlier.

Read the article online here.

Call for applications: Summer School on Arctic Studies 2019

The summer school at Hokkaido University is for advanced level undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled at the University of Lapland, University of Oulu and University of Helsinki. Approximately 15 students will be selected for the scholarship. Application deadline is February 28, 2019.

Summer School on Arctic Studies 2019 will be held at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan. The school is a part of the Finnish-Japanese Arctic Studies Program – a project led by the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law at the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland in collaboration with the Universities of Helsinki, Hokkaido and Oulu.

The multidisciplinary Arctic summer school to be organized in Sapporo, Japan in between July 27 – August 8, 2019. The topics to be covered, but not limited to, include:

  • Climate change and the Arctic
  • Glaciers and sea ice
  • Arctic history
  • Terrestrial and marine ecosystems
  • International and environmental law applicable to the Arctic
  • Human rights and the Arctic indigenous peoples
  • Arctic institutions and governance
  • Geopolitics and international relations in the Arctic
  • Economy and business in the Arctic with focus on maritime trade and natural resources exploitations.

The summer school consist, for example, of lectures, reading assignments, group works and is approximately equal to 5 ECTS credits. Each participant will receive a certificate describing the content of the course, but decisions concerning the transfer/acceptance of credits are made by individual universities. Note: Hokkaido University Summer Institute will allow the selected Finnish students to participate in their own courses for free.

The summer school is intended to build and promote both academic dialogues and stronger networks Japanese educators, students and institutions dealing with Arctic studies.

Who can participate?

Advanced level undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in one of the following Finnish Universities:
1. University of Helsinki
2. University of Lapland
3. University of Oulu


Approximately 15 students will be selected for scholarship. The selected students will receive:
1. Flight costs covering travels between Finland and Japan
2. A fixed sum of 400 euro to cover accommodation and living expenses in Japan
3. Students are responsible to arrange their own accommodation. However, some guidance and possible options will be provided after the selection process is completed

How to apply?

1. A free form application addressed to the contact persons indicated below
2. A motivation letter in one page
3. Proof of enrollment in one of the Universities above

When to apply and to whom?

The application deadline is 28 February 2019.
Please send the application materials to the following contact persons:
Students from the University of Helsinki: Prof. Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen & Elena Gorbacheva
Students from the University of Lapland: Prof. Kamrul Hossain
Students from the University of Oulu: Docent Ritva Kylli

More information

Tieteen päivät (The Science Forum)

The Science Forum (Finnish: Tieteen päivät) is a biennial science festival taking place in Helsinki, Finland. It is free and open to all visitors. The festival presents the latest research to the curious public and discuss the possibilities as well as the limits of science more broadly. This is where Finland’s leading scholars from various fields have a chance to introduce their branch of scholarship and the latest research results to a wide audience. The Forum includes debates, seminars, exhibitions, book sales and planetarium shows. Most of the lectures are held in Finnish or in Swedish.
Today Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen and Meri Kulmala are participating in the “Rohkeasti Venäjästä – itänaapurimme suuret haasteet” (Bravely about Russia – the big challenges of our Eastern neighbor) panel. They and two other researchers will discuss Russian challenges from different perspectives. Professor Tynkkynen will also chair the panel.

More information on the panel is available online.

3rd Meeting of the Study Group ‘Energy Materiality: Infrastructure, Spatiality and Power’

This week Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen is taking part in the 3rd Meeting of the Study Group ‘Energy Materiality: Infrastructure, Spatiality and Power’ under Professor’s Margarita Balmaceda leadership. The meeting is organised at Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (HWK), Institute for Advanced Study, in Delmenhorst – one of the world-renowned Institutes for Advanced Study.

How do issues related to energy materiality (ie. the physical characteristics of different types of energy) affect the social implications of the use of different types of energy? How do the spatial aspects of the production/transformation/transit and use of each energy type affect the equation? Current research on energy materiality has largely neglected the spatial implications of reliance on various energy sources. Building on previous work on Science, Technology and Society (STS), this Study Group aims to bring together political scientists, geographers, anthropologists and specialists in Innovation Studies to rethink the impact of energy materiality, both fossil and renewables, on power relations as it takes place through issues of infrastructure and its related spatial impacts.

The main outcome of the study group will be a special issue of a journal on “Energy materiality: Infrastructure, Spatiality and Power.” In addition, individual or co-authored publications are expected on sub-areas of the SG interest, such as the impact of energy infrastructure on political power relations, and the impact of energy materiality on the role of producing, transit, processing and consumer areas.

More information is available online here.

Sanna Kopra’s new article “Lead the Way: China and international climate politics” for the Baltic Transport Journal

Sanna Kopra’s new article “Lead the Way: China and international climate politics” for the Baltic Transport Journal’s October-November issue has been made available online. In the article, Dr. Kopra reviews China’s climate policy, the role of a global leader on climate change that China aims to undertake, and the country’s interest in the Arctic.

After last summer’s devastating forest fires and sweltering heat waves across the Northern Hemisphere, the global consciousness of climate change has increased dramatically. As President Donald J. Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement, the first-ever universal global climate deal adopted in 2015, the world has started to expect China, alongside the EU, to step up its emerging leadership role on climate change. In my newly published book China and great power responsibility for climate change I come to a conclusion that China indeed seems to be ready to live up to that leadership role: it increasingly defines climate responsibility as an attribute of great power responsibility and has made all its key climate policies public with a reference to its great power status.

The article can be read online here.

First article of 2019 published

Our group’s publication year has officially started. The first article released this year is  ““Barely surviving on a pile of gold”: Arguing for the case of peat energy in 2010s Finland” by postdoctoral researcher Hanna Lempinen. The article is already available online and will be published in print in May’s volume of Energy Policy journal.

While the share of peat in Finland’s energy mix today amounts to only around 4%, peat recurrently returns to the center stage in Finnish energy-related public debates. As an indigenous energy resource, peat is a welcome addition to the energy mix of the heavily energy-dependent country. In addition, the employment impacts of peat production are considered significant. These benefits are, however, contradicted by the environmental impacts and climate emissions caused by peat energy. The conflicting interests revolving around peat have resulted in constantly shifting national peat policies as well as infrequent “explosions” of public and political debates on peat production. This article explores two of the most recent politicizations of peat through an empirical focus on the short-lived promotion campaigns that sparked widespread public debate: the 2010 “2 prosenttia” [2%] internet campaign from the state-majority-owned energy company VAPO and the 2017 “Turveinfo” [peat info] campaign launched by The Bioenergy Association of Finland. Through an analysis of the colorful and provocative promotion campaigns, this article (1) explores the arguments and rhetoric through which political support of peat is being acquired from the Finnish public and (2) examines what crises in the 2010s Finland peat is constructed as the (only) logical answer for.

Our research group wishes everybody Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hopes that a lot of quality research will be done this year.