Dr. Oleg Antonov is a visiting researcher at the Department of Global Political Studies (GPS) and at the research platform Russia and the Caucasus Regional Research (RUCARR), Malmö University. He joined the GPS in September.
His research interests include the Soviet history of Tajikistan, educational reform, minority groups (minority rights, language, education and culture), international relations (soft power diplomacy of Russia and China), political participation and mobilization, civil and political rights, the transnational sources of authoritarian durability, youth policy and youth movements. His research on authoritarian legal harmonization and diffusion of norms has been published in Democratization, Baltic Worlds and by the Central Asia Program at The George Washington University in Washington DC. He was previously a visiting fellow at the Centre for Baltics and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University. His views have featured in The Diplomat and Radio Free Europe.
You are invited to attend the RUCARR online seminar on October 6 The Caucasus in the Post-Covid Multi-Polar World with Dr. Lincoln Mitchell, affiliated to Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University (bio below).
When: October 6, 3.15-5.00 pm (Swedish time)
Where: Zoom platform
The seminar is open to staff and students as well as other interested. Welcome to sign-up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the results of the mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic by the American government has been to accelerate the movement towards a truly multi-polar world. Instead of controlling the pandemic within its own borders and offering assistance to the rest of the world, the US suffered more loss of life and greater damage to its economy that most countries. One of the effects of this has been to damage not just America’s standing in the world, but also limit its ability to impact political events in the rest of the world. This development will be felt acutely in the Caucasus.
The three South Caucasus countries as well as the Russian regions in the North Caucasus have long had to navigate a path between major political powers, but the nature of that challenge began to change in 2017, when Donald Trump became President of the US, and has accelerated in recent months. These polities now find themselves in a very different world, one where the American footprint will be lighter and China’s almost certainly heavier. Additionally, the possibility of the world becoming less globally integrated will have major impact on a region that has long been a crossroads between different regions. These developments will have an impact on the domestic politics of the countries in the region on issues ranging from democracy and human rights to domestic stability as well as their relations with each other and the rest of the world including with regards to questions of trade, fighting terrorism and national security.
This seminar will explore these questions and probe how the Caucasus will be changed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lincoln Mitchell is a political analyst, pundit and writer based in New York City and San Francisco. Lincoln works on democracy and governance related issues in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. He also works with businesses and NGOs globally, particularly in the former Soviet Union. Lincoln was on the faculty of Columbia University’s School of International Affairs from 2006-2013. He retains an affiliation with Columbia’s Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies and teaches in the political science department as well. In addition, he worked for years as a political consultant advising and managing domestic political campaigns. […] Continue reading: http://lincolnmitchell.com/about
Welcome to a RUCARR seminar with Kristian Steiner & Khalil Mutallimzada on the topic:
Uncertainty and Extremism among Ukrainian Right-Wing Fighters
When: September 29, 15.15–17.00
Where: Zoom. Sign-up at email@example.com
Dicussant is Niklas Bernsand, European Studies, Lund University
After the conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine broke out in 2014, thousands of Ukrainians voluntarily enrolled to various paramilitary battalions. Unlike the Right Sector’s Volunteer Ukrainian Corps (RS VUC), almost all battalions were incorporated into Ukrainian official defense structures. Applying uncertainty-identity theory and based on interviews, observations, and documents, this study investigates fighters’ motivations for joining and remaining in the RS VUC. The study finds that the fighters distrust the Ukrainian society and authorities. Membership in the RS VUC, with its unambiguous group prototypes and high entitativity, reduces the fighters’ self-uncertainty regarding their social identity in an uncertain environment.
Kristian Steiner, Associate professor in Peace and Conflict Studies, Malmö University, has for a long time been researching how religion function as a meaning making tool, legitimating, justifying, and motivating hate, violence. In his ongoing research and writing, Steiner analyses the function of meaning making and ideology for setting and policing the borders of closed communities, for legitimating its ties with external groups, and for internal its group dynamics
Khalil Mutallimzada has a BA in Law from Baku State University, Azerbaijan and a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Malmö University, Sweden. Currently he is doing his MA in Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden. Mutallimzada is, together with Kristian Steiner, also conducting research on a non-state Ukrainian paramilitary group called Right Sector’s Volunteer Ukrainian Corps (RS’ VUC), studying fighters’ motivations for joining this para-military battalion.
Co-governance and social innovation for sustainability
The new project, funded by the Swedish Institue (SI), aims to strengthen the understanding and capacity of co-governance and social innovation in the public sector by raising the level of knowledge, provide tools and methods and work together across societal sectors and levels of government. The project will provide new knowledge and policy dialogues as a ground for participating organizations, at national and local level, to develop new projects, develop strategic plans and transfer knowledge and skills to other relevant organizations in their country.
Project members are Dr. Tom Nilsson (photo left; project leader and RUCARR researcher at Global Political Studies, Malmö University), Dr. Fredrik Björk (Urban Studies, Malmö University), Lena Andersson (external expert) and a number of other national and international experts, in collaboration with local partners:
- GEORGIA: Europe-Georgia Institute (EGI)
- MOLDOVA: The Child Rights Information Centre Moldova (CRIC)
- KOSOVO: Education Innovators Kosovo (EIK)
- NORTH MACEDONIA: IMPETUS – Center for Internet, Development and Good Governance (CIDGG)
About the project
The program consists of two dialectic tracks. The first track is a thematic series of bi-weekly seminars, such as social innovation, public procurement, transparency and impact and developmental evaluation. Each theme is structured in a similar way – the first seminar is focused on understanding the area of knowledge, presenting central concepts, research and providing some relevant and illustrative examples. The second seminar is for the participants to contextualise the topic to their own country and identify legal and cultural boundaries, and then compare their country´s status, preconditions and best practices to the other participating countries. The third seminar aims to use the acquired knowledge to discuss ways to develop strategies, projects, and policy revisions.
The second track is to develop a contextual tool-kit for social audits, train local communities in the methodology and in the second half of the program implement social audits. Besides empowering local communities and enhancing local transparency and accountability, the second track will be a pilot example throughout the seminar series. In discussing each theme, the social audits will serve as a case of social innovation and co-governance, and put light on existing limitations and hinders.
We are happy to welcome our new intern, MA Laura Pennisi, who is joining RUCARR and the Department of Global Political Studies during the period September to the beginning of November 2020. She is currently studying a master program in Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University.
Laura Pennisi holds a Bachelor in Communication Studies (Catania University) and a Master in translation studies (Sapienza University of Rome), both with a major in Modern Greek language, literature and history. After living several years in Greece, she developed a keen interest in the Greek communities of the post-Soviet space with a particular focus on the Caucasus. As an intern at RUCARR, she seeks to deepen her theoretical knowledge and get the necessary skills for her future research activities. She is also completing a master program in International Relations at Staffordshire University.
RUCARR is organising a roundtable discussion on the current development in Belarus. What are the likely scenarios for further development, how are external actors likely to react, and what are the general implications for politics in Europe and more globally?
Roundtable participants are Dr. Sofie Bedford (Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University); Prof. Aleh Cherp (Central European University & Lund University); PhD Natallia Paulovich (independent researcher, Warsaw); Martin Uggla (Östgruppen).
Moderator: Prof. Bo Petersson (RUCARR, Malmö University)
When : September 15, 15.15–17.00
Where: Zoom – Registration with name and affiliation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Sofie Bedford is an affiliated researcher at IRES Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies. She is living in Vienna where she has been teaching East European Studies at the Department of Political Science, University of Vienna. For the past 5 years she has been working on a research project problematizing the concept of Opposition in post-Soviet authoritarian states with Azerbaijan and Belarus as the case studies. She has published articles from this project in various academic journals and also recently written a number of commentaries about the situation in Belarus related to the Covid-19 crises, the Presidential Election, and its aftermath.
Aleh Cherp is a professor of Central European University (CEU) in Vienna and Lund University. Prof. Cherp served as the Academic Secretary and as the Research Director of CEU. For over 15 years he has coordinates a multi-university Erasmus Mundus Masters program in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management. His research focuses on global climate and energy. He has served in several leading roles in European science, including most recently as a Panel Chair in the European Research Council. Prof Cherp has also undertaken professional work for the European Environment Agency (EEA), UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, the World Bank, and USAID among others. He is originally from Belarus and has participated several academic and professional projects in the field of energy and environment there. Prior to joining CEU in 2000, he earned his Masters and PhD at Manchester University and worked with NGOs and the United Nations in Central Asia, Russia and Belarus. He also founded an Environmental NGO in Moscow during the political change in the Former Soviet Union. His first degree was in Physics. Member of the Extended Coordination Council for Overcoming the Political Crisis in Belarus.
Natallia Paulovich, Ph.D., is an independent researcher from Belarus located in Warsaw, Poland. In 2018 she received a doctoral degree in sociology with a focus on Georgian women at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Moreover, the experience she gained studying Belarusian history at Belarusian State University in Minsk, and the subsequent studies at the Centre of East European Studies, University of Warsaw, provided Natallia with a broad analytical perspective about various social, national, religious, and political issues in Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. Her current research interest is concentrated on gender, post-industrialization and workers’ mobilization in Belarus.
Martin Uggla, human rights defender, chairman of Östgruppen – Swedish Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights. Has 25 years of experience from working with civil society development in Eastern Europe. Special focus on Belarus, has followed the human rights situation in the country closely during the last 20 years. Author of several articles on Belarus and the book “Bruksanvisning för diktatorer – en berättelse om Belarus och Europas första moderna diktator” (2014)