Category Archives: Publication

The Dragon looks to the North: China’s growing role in the Arctic

Dr. Sanna Kopra wrote an article for the “Atlantic Community” titled “The Dragon looks to the North: China’s growing role in the Arctic”.

Due to new economic opportunities offered by the Arctic, many non-Arctic states have become interested in the region. Notably, China has begun to describe itself as a ‘near-Arctic state’ and renamed the series of planned Arctic shipping routes ‘the Polar Silk Road’. In June 2017, the Polar Silk Road was officially added to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and in January 2018, the Chinese government published its first, long-awaited Arctic strategy. This article reviews China’s Arctic engagement and briefly discusses the future of China’s regional role.

The article can be read online here.

“Energy materiality: A conceptual review of multi-disciplinary approaches” paper is out

Energy materiality: A conceptual review of multi-disciplinary approaches” paper, co-written by Margarita Balmaceda, Per Högselius, Corey Johnson, Heiko Pleines, Douglas Rogers, and Veli-Pekka and Tynkkynen has been published online. The paper will appear in the “Energy Research & Social Science October” issue.

This jointly authored essay reviews recent scholarship in the social sciences, broadly understood, that focuses on the materiality of energy. Although this work is extraordinarily diverse in its disciplinary and interdisciplinary influences and its theoretical and methodological commitments, we discern four areas of convergence and divergence that we term the locationsusesrelationalities, and analytical roles of energy materiality. We trace these convergences and divergences through five recent scholarly conversations: materiality as a constraint on actors’ behavior; historical energy systems; mobility, space and scale; discourse and power via energy materialities; and energy becoming material.

The article can be found online here.

JIOS fall 2018 issue

Journal of International Organizations Studies Fall 2018 issue is now available online. Sanna Kopra wrote an article for the issue, titled “China and the UN Climate Regime: Climate Responsibility from an English School Perspective”.

This paper analyzes how states have negotiated, distributed, and contested responsibilities within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
It applies the English School (ES) theory and argues that climate responsibility constitutes
an emerging primary institution of international society. Due to its rising great power status, China plays an increasingly important role in social processes in which international
society defines and distributes states’ responsibilities, especially those of the great powers,
now and in the future. Therefore, this paper pays particular attention to China’s contribution
to the UNFCCC. Ultimately, the paper offers ES empirical observations about the relationship
between primary and secondary institutions as well as the role of agency in institutional change.

Read Kopra’s article online here.

Winland Policy Brief VIII

Winland consortium published Policy Brief VIII, written by Sanna Syri, Jaakko Jääskeläinen, Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, and Sakari Höysniemi. In the brief titled “Turvallisuus on enemmän kuin huoltovarmuutta – Kohti kokonaisvaltaisempaa energiaturvallisuuden kehittämistä ja arviointia” (Security is more than security of supply – Towards more comprehensive development and evaluation of energy security).

Energian tuotantoa, hankintaa ja kulutusta ei voi kytkeä irti aajemmasta yhteiskuntapolitiikasta ja turvallisuuskäsityksestä. Energiaan liittyvät muutospaineet kytkeytyvät laajempiin yhteiskunnallisiin tulevaisuuskuviin: Mitkä kauppakumppanit
ovat luotettavia? Mikä on kohtuullinen hintataso? Millaisten energiamuotojen käyttöä pidetään hyväksyttävänä? Mikä on riittävä omavaraisuuden aste?

Full brief is available online.

Pro Gradu “Eristyvä Yhdysvallat, ilmastojohtaja Kiina – sisällönanalyysi julkisuusdiplomatiasta RT:n ja Sputnik Internationalin ilmastonmuutosuutisoinnissa”

A member of our research seminar group “Russian and Post-socialist environment and energy”, Matleena Moisio has completed her Master thesis “Eristyvä Yhdysvallat, ilmastojohtaja Kiina – sisällönanalyysi julkisuusdiplomatiasta RT:n ja Sputnik Internationalin ilmastonmuutosuutisoinnissa” (Isolated United States, Climate Leader China – Content Analysis of Public Diplomacy in RT’ and Sputnik International’ news coverage of climate change). Professor Tynkkynen was Moisio’s second supervisor.

Tässä pro gradu –tutkielmassa käsittelen Venäjän valtionjohtoisen englanninkielisen median ilmastonmuutosuutisointia. Analyysissä etsitään uutisista ilmastonmuutosuutisoinnin teemoja ja julkisuusdiplomatian piirteitä.

Tutkimusaineistona on RT:n ja Sputnik Internationalin ilmastonmuutoksesta kertovat uutiset ajalta 1.6.2017-31.12.2017. Teoreettisena viitekehyksenä käytetään julkisuusdiplomatian käsitettä, ja analyysia tuetaan ilmastonmuutosuutisoinnin ja Venäjän median aikaisemmalla tutkimuksella. Aineistoa analysoidaan teoriaohjaavan sisällönanalyysin avulla.

Tutkimuksen tuloksina voidaan todeta, että RT ja Sputnik uutisoivat ilmastonmuutoksesta ilmastonmuutoksen itsensä kontekstissa, sen vaikutusten kontekstissa ja kansainvälisen politiikan kontekstissa. Erityisesti Yhdysvaltain ja maan presidentin, Donald Trumpin, ilmastonmuutospolitiikka on keskeinen osa ilmastonmuutosuutisointia aineistossa.

Aineistosta tunnistin julkisuusdiplomatiaa käsitteen teoretisoinnin kautta. RT:n ja Sputnikin uutisointia voi julkaisujen luonteen perusteella pitää lähtökohtaisesti aina julkisuusdiplomatiana, joka pyrkii luomaan Venäjälle mieluista yleistä mielipidettä. Tulokset osoittavat, että venäläinen ilmastonmuutosta käsittelevä uutisointi harjoittaa julkisuusdiplomatiaa ennen kaikkea kampanjoimalla Yhdysvaltoja, etenkin Trumpia, vastaan. Sen sijaan Venäjän asemaa ilmastonmuutostyössä ei korosteta, vaan korostetaan Kiinan roolia ilmastotoimijana.

Tutkielma toimii keskustelunavauksena Venäjän englanninkielisen ilmastonmuutosuutisoinnin tutkimukselle.

The thesis is available for reading online.


“Competing institutional logics in Soviet industrial location policy”

A member of our research seminar group “Russian and Post-socialist environment and energy”, PhD candidate Nooa Nykänen published an article “Competing institutional logics in Soviet industrial location policy” in Eurasian Geography and Economics journal.

The Soviet legacy has been widely demonstrated to have had negative impacts on the regional and economic development of Russia. This article studies the mechanisms of competing institutional logics in Soviet industrial location policies as a source of this adverse heritage. The results indicate that prolonged competition between three institutional logics complicated the adoption and practice of consistent industrial location strategies and contributed to structural problems in economic geography. An analysis of Soviet institutional logics demonstrates parallel forms of competition and coexistence with findings from other institutional environments, paving the way for a broader theoretical analysis of Soviet organizations and institutions.

The article can be found on Taylor&Francis Online.


Voiko ilmastonmuutoksen torjuminen olla turvallisuusuhka? asked our researcher Sakari Höysniemi, Emma Hakala from Finnish Institute of International affairs and Tero T. Toivanen from VTT if the means of combating climate change increase the instability of societies and cause conflicts. In the piece “Voiko ilmastonmuutoksen torjuminen olla turvallisuusuhka?” (Can combating climate change be a security threat?), Sakari Höysniemi addressed the energy side of the issue and was arguing, that energy security is more than energy supply.

Although Finland is partly an island in terms of security of supply, it could be a promoter of a more sustainable and safer society and take sustainable practices, ways of thinking and technologies elsewhere. If we were able to create a model where the foundation of our well-being and security is not in securing the supply of fossil energy, this model would surely be in demand outside our borders.

Read full version of Sakari Höysniemi’s and other researchers’ texts at

The re­birth of news me­dia as a pub­lic in­sti­tu­tion in Rus­sia

The latest issue of the Aleksanteri Insight is written by Dr. Dmitry Yagodin, who is also working as an editor of the issue series of expert opinions, published by the Aleksanteri Institute quarterly.  The publication is titled “The re­birth of news me­dia as a pub­lic in­sti­tu­tion in Rus­sia” and focuses on the role the news media play in Russia these days – whether it is “the institution of public accountability or a publicity tool”.

International conflicts trigger propaganda, but they also generate demand for change. Journalism history hints at the ways in which the rebirth of the Russian media may begin, writes Dmitry Yagodin.

Read the issue online on the Aleksanteri Institute’s website.

The Geopolitics of Renewables in Kazakhstan and Russia

“The Geopolitics of Renewables in Kazakhstan and Russia” article written by Professor Natalie Koch and Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen has been published in “Geopolitics” journal in March.

This article examines recent renewable energy initiatives in two hydrocarbon rich states of Eurasia: Kazakhstan and Russia. The global nature of challenges surrounding energy and natural resource use demand that sustainability and “energy transition” policies be understood as geopolitical issues, which are increasingly (re)defining political relations among and within states. Existing research and media coverage of international energy politics in Eurasia is overwhelmingly dominated by a focus on oil and gas extraction, especially in Kazakhstan and Russia, due to their central place in traditional hydrocarbon fuels markets. As elsewhere in the world, however, political and economic leaders in both countries have started to adopt the language of promoting environmental sustainability, the “green economy,” and renewable energy infrastructures. Taking a critical geopolitics lens to recent developments, this article considers who is involved in advancing renewable energy in contexts that have traditionally been dependent on traditional energy sources, and what this may portend for the shifting energy landscape of Eurasia.

The article can be accessed at Taylor&Francis Online website.

China’s great power climate responsibility and the Arctic

In a new text “China’s great power climate responsibility and the Arctic” for Arctic Relations blog, Sanna Kopra tells about her current research on the role China plays and wants to play in international climate politics, in relation to Arctic especially – the region where climate change progresses twice as fast as in other regions of the world:

In my ongoing project, I study how notions of great power (climate) responsibility direct China’s policies and practices in the Arctic region, among other topics.

For China, climate change is no doubt an important driver for engaging in Arctic affairs.For example, the melting of Arctic ice caps will increase haze pollution in Eastern China, cause flooding in many of its coastal mega-cities including Shanghai, Tianjin, and Hong Kong; and alter numerous natural global processes that may interrupt Chinese agricultural production.

Published in 2018, China’s Arctic white paper stresses the importance of scientific research on Arctic climate change and its global ramifications. Specifically, China is interested in learning more about the domestic (security) implications of Arctic climate change. When it comes to great power climate responsibility, however, China’s Arctic white paper is silent: it does not introduce any additional climate mitigation commitments or propose ambitious initiatives to address the problem – actions that would demonstrate a leadership role in international climate politics.

Read more about Sanna Kopra’s work on Arctic Relations blog.