4th Easter Platform – Tartu Seminar


The two-day seminar is organized by the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies of the University of Tartu draws on the experience of the Eastern Platform-Platform Ukraine, a multidisciplinary project based at the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies (SSEES), University College London. The event is generously supported by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

Eastern Platform-Platform Ukraine is a multi-disciplinary initiative aiming to analyse and better understand the most recent development in the relations between the EU and Russia and their shared neighbourhood, starting from Ukrainian crisis of 2014, and the ensuing deterioration of relations between the West and Moscow by creating a unified resource and network of academics studying the post-socialist space. It has the ambition to develop and grow as a forum and incubator to promote high-quality research and knowledge-sharing on the broader post-Soviet space.

Academic conveners of the event are Dr Stefano Braghiroli (University of Tartu) and Prof Andrey Makarychev (University of Tartu).

The Tartu Seminar “All Quiet on the Western Front? EU-Russia Relations in the Age of Populisms?” represents the fourth edition in a series of annual events launched in 2015.

The seminar constitutes an opportunity for researchers and practitioners from very different disciplinary areas to debate and fruitfully discuss potential future practical and conceptual scenarios that might characterize the region in the years to come. It has also the ambition to shed light on the short- and mid-term evolution of the crisis in terms of bilateral relations (i.e. stabilization, normalization, and frozen conflict) and its impact on the nature of the EU-Russia relations. This year’s edition of the event will devote specific attention to the role played, in this context, by Europe’s resurging populism(s) and centrifugal forces as well as their transitive connection with Moscow.

Further debate and in-depth academic discussion seem necessary in the light of Moscow’s chameleonic role as both a friend and foe of the EU over the past decades. Despite the current diplomatic black-out, in the long term, both the EU and Russia will need to find a common language again to address common global challenges, given the high level of interdependence that has characterized the Eurasian space for more than two decades since the collapse of the USSR and which has been dramatically threatened by the recent developments in Ukraine and by the internal and external challenges currently faced by the process of European integration (i.e. Brexit). At the same time, Moscow’s intermitting flirt and ambiguous relationship with Eurosceptic and anti-systemic forces in different member states and its alleged indirect interference domestic electoral processes has increased bilateral tensions and mutual distrust.

The organizers of the seminar welcome contributions on the developments in the relations between EU, Russia, and the post-Soviet space and the respective interactions, from different disciplinary and methodological perspectives ranging from politics, history, economics, anthropology, sociology, geography, semiotics, and media studies.

While developments in and the turbulent relations between the EU and Russia, along with the role of resurging populisms will represent key foci of the event, they will not be the only ones and contributions that adopt a comparative perspective with other events and/or areas will be particularly welcome. Given the fortunate coincidence with the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania’s independence, a thematic panel with be devoted to the Baltic perspective.

Contributions are expected to address the multidimensionality of the current developments and the future patterns and relevant cleavages in the Eurasian political and cultural space. The seminar aims not only to map the challenges to the instable development of the EU-Russia relations, but also to understand and conceptually frame these challenges and their expansive potential within the former Soviet space and at the global level. Contributions are welcome addressing (but not limited to) the following issues:

  1. From Baltic to Caucasus: An Emerging “Illiberal Belt” and its Security Dimension;
  2. Multi-Vectoring Neighbourhood: Which Choice for Those who Do not Want to Choose?;
  3. Empowering the Margins? Rethinking Centre-Periphery Relations in Europe;
  4. Russia’s Western Friends: Betting on the Wrong Horse?;
  5. From Berlin to Where? Electoral Developments in a post-Refugee Europe;
  6. 100 Years of Baltic Independence: Which Challenges Ahead?


Paper proposals (max. 150 words) can be submitted by February 15, 2018 via the submission system below or by e-mail directly to Dr. Stefano Braghiroli (stefano.braghiroli@ut.ee). Selected paper proposals will be notified by February 17. Should you need more information please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Stefano Braghiroli