EDUneighbours seminar

War and academic cooperation with Russia: why, how and whether to continue

Organiser: Towards Good Neighbourliness with Higher Education Cooperation (EDUneighbours) project, funded by the Kone Foundation
Time: Tuesday 24th May 2022 (14.00-17.30 Helsinki time)
Place: Tampere University, Finland; Zoom webinar
Moderators: Sirke Mäkinen (University of Helsinki, principal investigator in the EDUneighours project) and Anni Kangas (Tampere University, researcher in the EDUneighbours project)

Please register in advance to receive updates about the venue and the Zoom link.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia froze international academic cooperation of European universities with Russian universities. The Finnish Ministry of Education recommended cutting all institutional ties with Russian HEIs.

The Russian Rector’s Union, with signatories from all major state universities, has expressed unconditional support for the war and the armed forces. However, not the whole university community in Russia has accepted the statement. Russian academics have circulated and signed several petitions condemning the war despite the fact that the freedom of speech has been reduced  to close to zero with recent legislative changes. Some have argued that those Russian scholars or institutions who have opposed state actions should not be penalized through boycotts. At the same time, some argue that the boycotts toward Russian institutions and researchers should be tougher than they are now.

This event has been organized to discuss these questions. Can Ukraine and the sanctions policy be supported through academic boycotts? Should all ties with higher education institutions and scholars in Russia be cut?  What is the impact of the boycotts on the future of science in Russia? How can academic cooperation be re-started in the future? What about Russian studies, can academic scholarship focusing on Russia be conducted without cooperation with Russian colleagues and/or access to the ‘field’? Our panelists will address these questions from many different perspectives and positions.


14.00-14.15 Opening of the seminar

14.15-15.30 Keynotes

  • Yelyzaveta Glybchenko, Tampere University
  • Tomi Halonen, Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture

  • Kari Aga Myklebost,  UiT The Arctic University of Norway
  • Olga Tkach, University of Helsinki
  • Oksana Zabolotna, Pavlo Tychyna Uman State Pedagogical University;  the Ukrainian Educational Research Association (online)

15.30-16.00 Coffee break

16.00-17.30 Panel discussion, moderated by Anni Kangas and Sirke Mäkinen

  • Introductory comments from the panelists
    • Iuliia Gataulina, Tampere University
    • Svetlana Shenderova, Tampere University
    • Sanna Turoma, Tampere University
    • Gleb Yarovoy, University of Eastern Finland
  • Discussion with all the keynote speakers and panelists
  • Q & A

17.30-17.35 Closing of the seminar

17.35-18.30 Wine and snacks


Bios of speakers (in alphabetical order)

Iuliia Gataulina, M.Sc. is a PhD researcher at Tampere University, Politics department. In her research, Iuliia analyzes politics and political economies of contemporary university in the Russian context. By engaging in ethnographic study of Russian universities, Iuliia writes about entanglements of transnational neoliberalization of academia with authoritarian governance and state control. Iuliia’s work has also allowed for tracing subjectivities of compliance and resistance within Russian academia. At the moment, Iuliia is engaged in two research projects: the Academy of Finland funded project Assembling Postcapitalist International Political Economy and Kone-funded project Towards Good Neighbourliness with Higher Education Cooperation.

Yelyzaveta Glybchenko (Lisa) is an artist-peacebuilder from Ukraine and currently a doctoral researcher working in her PhD project “Visual Peacetech: Digital Visual Images as Security-Building Tools” at Tampere University, Finland. Lisa’s research is inspired by her grassroots peacebuilding work, in particular the digital art-for-peace project she founded in 2016 – Color Up Peace. Lisa now researchers the intersections of technology (digital technologies, VR, AR) and art in grassroots peace processes. As part of her research, Lisa also creates original artistic media pieces meant as tools for peace work and peace education.

Tomi Halonen  (MSc, BSc) is Senior Ministerial Adviser at the Ministry of Education and Culture. Halonen works at the department for Higher Education and Science. His duties include working with the security related issues of his department’s field of operation. He works also with international organizations like OECD and European Union Commission in the field of education.

Anni Kangas is University Lecturer in International Relations at the Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University.

Kari Aga Myklebost is Professor of History and holds the Barents Chair in Russian Studies at UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromso. She has published extensively on Norwegian-Russian historical relations and has cooperated actively over the last two decades with Russian colleague historians. Her current research concerns the memory politics of the Kremlin in the post-Soviet period and the reception and negotiations of this on regional and local levels in Northwest Russia, as well as in Russia’s bilateral relations with Norway.

Sirke Mäkinen (Dr.Soc.Sc.; Docent)  is a University Lecturer in Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki.  She is also the Head of the Nationwide Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES) Master’s level non-degree programme and Leader of the EDUneighbours project. She has published, e.g., on education diplomacy, geopolitics, international academic collaboration, with the geographical focus on Russia, Central Asia and the EU in journals such as Comparative Education, Europe-Asia Studies, Geopolitics, International Studies Perspectives, Problems of Post-Communism, Journal of Contemporary European Studies.

  Svetlana Shenderova,  Dr. Econ.Sc., is a researcher, expert and consultant in higher education policies, university governance and degree programme management. She has worked in nine Russian universities as an associate professor combined teaching and research with administrative duties and consultancy. In particular, Svetlana has investigated of EU-Russian joint programmes as a Key Expert II for the EU Delegation to Russia. Currently Svetlana is a researcher of the EDUneighbours project affiliated with Tampere University, Finland. She studies institutional environments of internationalisation on examples of Finnish-Russian double degrees. Regional scope of her expertise comprises Russia and post-Soviet countries; EU, in particular, Finland and Poland; Israel and China.

Olga Tkach (PhD, Docent) is currently a Senior Visiting Researcher at the Department of Cultures / Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives, University of Helsinki. Before that, for twenty years, she has worked at the academic NGO “Centre for Independent Social Research” (CISR), St. Petersburg, Russia. Her international experience includes research in Finland, Norway and the UK, and as well as in Russia – as a part of joint international projects. In Finland, she was a grantee of the Academy of Finland, the Kone Foundation and the Aleksanteri Institute. She studies and publishes on migration and mobility; home and homemaking; housing and neighbouring relations; domestic and care work; family life and social genealogies.

Sanna Turoma’s work spans the interactions between culture and society in the field of Russian Studies. Educated at the University of Helsinki and Columbia University (USA), she is currently professor of Russian language and culture at Tampere University, Finland. Her publications include Empire Decentered: New Spatial Histories of Russia and the Soviet Union, w/ Maxim Waldstein (Ashgate, 2013); Cultural Forms of Protest in Russia, w/B.Beumers, A.Etkind, O.Gurova (Routledge, 2017); special issue ”Culture in Putin’s Russia” w/Elena Trubina & Saara Ratilainen for Cultural Studies 32/5, 2018; Russia as Civilization: Politics, Media, and Academia, w/Kåre Johan Mjör (Routledge, 2021). Her forthcoming publication is about popular geopolitics and Chornobyl.

Oksana Zabolotna is Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences, Professor of Pavlo Tychyna Uman State Pedagogical University, senior officer of the Department of International Cooperation of the Institute of Pedagogy of National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine, President of Ukrainian Educational Research Association ( She is Editor-in-Chief of Studies in Comparative Education Journal. The key research interests are alternative education, EFL methodology and teacher professional development.

Gleb Yarovoy holds a Candidate of science degree in International Relations from St.Petersburg State University (2008). Currently, Yarovoy is employed as researcher at the University of Eastern Finland, and project manager at ENPI Karelia CBC programme. His main research interests are in the sphere of EU-Russian relations and specifically Finnish-Russian cross-border cooperation, both in socio-economic and academic areas. As a hobby, for many, Yarovoy works as freelance journalist covering sensitive issues of Russian political and social life, such as human rights violations. He also covers different issues of the Finnish-Russian relations for Russian readers.