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15th Annual Aleksanteri Conference: Culture and Russian Society

Conference venue: Helsinki, Finland
Period: October 21-23, 2015



After the initial surge of new artistic and institutional experiments in the post-1991 years, many Russians involved in cultural production became disillusioned with the prestige and role of culture in the emerging social and political order. Meanwhile, the Russian state was struggling to reform and maintain cultural and educational institutions and their infrastructure. The vocabulary of modernisation re-entered Russian political discourse during Dmitry Medvedev’s presidency. Technological and economic innovation was to be in the forefront of the country’s political agenda.

With Vladimir Putin’s third re-election, the creative class gathered political momentum, and cultural and intellectual practices in Russia regained social and political relevance. At the same time, culture and its traditional institutions became increasingly integrated into state policies in order to reconstruct a uniform national and geopolitical Russian identity. Official views of the country’s future draw from an understanding of Russia as a unique civilization separate from the West.

In keeping with the Aleksanteri Institute’s multidisciplinary research agenda and the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence ‘Choices of Russian Modernisation’, the 15th Aleksanteri Conference invites proposals that focus on the cultural challenges and intellectual choices Russia and its diverse population face today. We welcome scholars from all fields of humanities, social and political sciences to contribute to the investigation of the role of cultural analysis in enriching our understanding of Russia’s recent developments. We encourage panel proposals with three presentations, discussant and chair, but will also review individual paper proposals.

Keynote speakers

  • Michael Gorham, Robin and Jean Gibson Term Professor, Russian Studies University of Florida, USA: ‘Russia’s Digital Revolution: Language, New Media, and the (Un)making of Civil Society’
  • Catriona Kelly, Professor of Russian, University of Oxford, UK:  ‘Russia and Europe, 1991-2014: La grande disillusion’
  • Vlad Strukov, Associate Professor in Digital Culture, University of Leeds, UK: "The Conservative Turn: Culture as Politics in Putin's Russia"
  • Vera Tolz, Sir William Mather Professor of Russian Studies, University of Manchester, UK: ‘Ethnicity and Nationhood on Russian Television during Vladimir Putin's Third Presidency’
  • Elena Vartanova, Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Journalism, Moscow State University, Russia: "High or Mass Media as a Driving Force of Contemporary (Russian) Culture’
  • Evert van der Zweerde, Professor in Political Philosophy, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands: ‘Democracy in Russia - Perspectives, Expectations, Concepts’

Guidelines for submission

Programme published and registration opened by: End of August, 2015
For more information, click here.


  • Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki and Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies

Information & contacts

Aleksanteri Institute
P.O.Box 42 (Unioninkatu 33)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki
office: +358 50 3565 802,
fax: +358 2941 23620
e-mail: aleksanteri [at]


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