First UPTAKE workshop on Russian Diasporas

On March 15, 2016, a workshop on “Whose Compatriots? Russophone Communities between New homelands and the Russkiy Mir” took place at the Narva College of the University of Tartu. It was the first workshop organised in the framework of the new UPTAKE consortium between the Centre for EU-Russia Studies (University of Tartu), the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies (Uppsala University) and the Global Europe Centre (University of Kent).

The event focused on the Russophone communities residing outside the borders of the Russian Federation. The number of ethnic Russians living outside their historical homeland is estimated at roughly between 20 and 30 million people. Nearly a decade ago Russia took a turn from declarative compatriot protection discourse to a more programmatic approach consolidating large Russophone populations abroad and connecting them to Russia by employing the concept of the Russkiy Mir. While academic debates have focused on the potency of the Russkiy Mir as an instrument of soft power, on the one hand, and the successes and failures of minority policies pursued by the New Homelands, on the other hand, the reactions of the Russophone communities themselves to the various ethno-national consolidation efforts have received much less attention.

The workshop explored the perceptions and reactions of the Russophone communities at the intersection of conflicting political aspirations and agendas from a number of angles, including, for example, the interethnic value gap, and the idea of the Russkiy Mir. The objectives of the exploratory workshop included defining and elaborating possible research foci, and mapping resources and opportunities for developing new collaborative research projects. The participants featured leading scholars from Uppsala University and from the University of Tartu.

For additional information, please contact Dr Piret Ehin, Director of Centre for EU-Russia Studies (CEURUS), University of Tartu, piret.ehin[at]ut.ee.