Junior Scholars

The UPTAKE consortium contributes to the training of a new generation of scholars and specialists in the field of Russian and East European Studies by

  • organizing training schools for PhD candidates and post-doctoral fellows from all three partner institutions as well as the broader region. The summer and winter schools focus on core research skills and competences in the field, covering theoretical approaches, research methods and techniques, as well as research design issues. The schools will also offer practical advice on publishing, the research process and building successful research careers;
  • offering travel grants that enable young scholars affiliated with the consortium to present their work at major conferences in the field and to develop international networks;
  • providing opportunities for intra-consortium mobility, including for purposes of research consultation and co-supervision, skills development, and access to partner institutions’ research infrastructure. PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows interested in this opportunity are encouraged to contact the UPTAKE mobility coordinator at their respective institution;
  • involving young scholars in events organized by the consortium, including the Annual Tartu Conference in Russian and East European Studies, a variety of thematic workshops and research meetings, as well as the UPTAKE guest lecture series;
  • compiling and distributing information on grant opportunities relevant to scholars working in the field.

PhD candidates at the three consortium institutions working on Russia, Eastern Europe or Eurasia (in alphabetical order):


Camilla Callesen (University of Kent, BSIS) focuses on the intractable conflicts in the post-soviet space, their social-psychological developments and consequences, and the relation between the conflicts and Russia’s foreign policy behavior and decision-making. Camilla’s research is supervised by Dr Tom Casier.
Contact: ce259@kent.ac.uk

RabekahRabekah Everett
(University of Kent) is PhD candidate at the School of Politics and IR. Her research interests are the development of Russia’s economic institutions and the impact of economic crises on Russia’s economic transition.
Contact: R.Everett@kent.ac.uk

ShotaShota Kakabadze (University of Tartu) is working on a dissertation project that focuses on the construction of European identity in Georgian public discourses (supervisors: Maria Mälksoo and Andrey Makarychev). The thesis uses critical discourse analysis, combining liminality theory, securitization theory and the concepts of self-colonization and stigma from the post-colonial studies. Shota’s broader research interests are identity studies, memory politics, and Europeanisation processes in the post-Soviet space.
Contact: shota@ut.ee

KatsKats Kivistik (University of Tartu) finalized her dissertation on the left-right identification in new democracies (supervisor: Piret Ehin). She works as adjunct lecturer as well as senior analyst in the Institute of Baltic Studies. Her main research fields are elections, public opinion and voting behavior.
Contact: kats.kivistik@ut.ee

Morvan Lallouet (University of Kent) is starting a dissertation on Russian liberals and liberalism (supervisors: Richard Sakwa and Adrian Pabst). His research interests include Orthodoxy and politics; political ideologies; and domestic politics in contemporary Russia. He has studied sociology in Paris-Sorbonne university, and political science in Sciences Po Paris.
Contact: morvan.lallouet@gmail.com

Muzaffer Kutlay (University of Kent) is a Lecturer in East European Politics at the University of Kent, and Research Assistant for the UPTAKE project. Her research focuses on post-communist transformation of Bulgaria, Croatia and Montenegro, majority-minority relations and the processes of European integration. Her specific research subjects are: ethnic conflicts and state-mandated forced displacement. Muzaffer’s PhD is supervised by Professor Richard Whitman and Professor Neophytos Loizides.
Contact: m.kutlay@kent.ac.uk

ThomasThomas Linsenmaier
(University of Tartu) is currently finalizing a dissertation on “The interplay between regional international societies – Towards a European security architecture?” (supervisor: Viacheslav Morozov), working on the English School’s account of the regional level, with a focus on the interplay between the international societies of Europe and the so-called “post-Soviet space”. His broad research interests are International Relations theory, particularly the English School tradition, and issues related to European integration.
Contact: thomas85@ut.ee

EoinEoin McNamara
(University of Tartu) is currently finalizing his dissertation on “What Determines NATO Contribution of Small Post-2004 Allies? A Comparative Analysis of Bulgaria, Estonia and Slovenia” (supervisor: Andres Kasekamp). His research interests include comparative security policy in Central and Eastern Europe, Nordic-Baltic security, transatlantic relations and military security issues in Europe. He is a regular contributor to various policy publications, such as The NATO Review, the Swiss Military Review, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (Helsinki), and the Foreign Policy Research Institute (Philadelphia, US).
Contact: eoin.mcnamara@ut.ee

CamilleCamille Merlen (University of Kent) studies the Russian conceptions of sovereignty and questions characterisations of Russia as a classic, ‘Westphalian’ power by analysing tensions between sovereignism on the one hand, and engagement with international institutions on the other hand (supervisors: Richard Sakwa and Adrian Pabst). Camille previously studied History, Russian, French, and European Affairs at the University of Amsterdam, Sciences Po, and Moscow State University.
Contact: C.Merlen@kent.ac.uk


Johanna Ohlsson (University of Uppsala) is interested in ethics of peace and war, human rights, international relations, ethical perspectives on external involvement in peacemaking, Russia and Africa.
Contact: johanna.ohlsson@ucrs.uu.se


Ausra Padskocimaite (University of Uppsala) is interested in human rights, international human rights law, regional human rights systems (especially European and Inter-American), victims’ rights in international criminal law, rule of law, democratization and tolerance in post-communist states.
Contact: ausra.padskocimaite@ucrs.uu.se


Hector Pagan (University of Tartu) is working on his dissertation project “The Political Behaviour of Estonian Third Sector Organizations in Neo-Liberal states” (supervisor: Vello Pettai). The fundamental goal of this research is to better understand how and why third sector organizations pursue various political advocacy strategies. This will be accomplished by bringing together several strands of theoretical concepts to test them on the Estonian case, including neo-institutional theory, Resource Dependence Theory (RDT) and Social Origins theory, among others.
Contact: hector.pagan@ut.ee

ZacharyZachary Paikin
(University of Kent) is researching Russian and Chinese perspectives on the liberal international conception of state sovereignty and R2P in the framework of his dissertation project. He is a regular columnist and political commentator in the Canadian media and has contributed published analysis on international affairs for institutes in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.


LukasLukas Pukelis
(University of Tartu) defended a dissertation on “Informal Mutual Oversight Mechanisms in Baltic Coalition Cabinets” (supervisor: Vello Pettai), mainly focusing on the analysis of cabinet composition, political appointments and coalition agreements. He conducted expert interviews with the former cabinet members to grasp the core dynamics and formulate hypotheses, and then tests these hypotheses using quantitative methods on the data from the coalition agreements or political appointments. He currently works at Public Policy and Management Institute (PPMI) in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Contact: pukelis.lukas@gmail.com


Tanya Radchuk (University of Kent, SPIR) focuses on the EU-Russia relations in the context of their parallel region-building projects – the European Neighbourhood Policy/ Eastern Partnership and the Eurasian Economic Union – and the countries that they target in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Her supervisor is Elena Korosteleva. Before starting her PhD, Tanya worked as a Research Assistant in EU-funded project ‘Europeanising or Securitising the ‘Outsiders’: assessing the EU’s partnership-building approach with Eastern Europe’ at the Aberystwyth University. Tanya holds a MSc degree in Politics and Government in the EU from the London School of Economics, UK.
Contact: tr279@kent.ac.uk

JuhanJuhan Saharov (University of Tartu) is writing his dissertation on “Reason and Rhetoric in Estonian Political Thought in 1986-1992” (supervisor: Eva Piirimäe). He is also project manager at the Johannes Mihkelson Centre, an Estonian NGO engaging in public education in the areas of minority and refugee rights and integration.
Contact: juhan.saharov@ut.ee


Michal Smrek (University of Uppsala) is interested in Gender and Politics, female MPs’ re-election, party recruitment, voters’ bias, gender quotas, quantitative methodology.
Contact: michal.smrek@ucrs.uu.se

SusanneSusanne Szkola (University of Kent, Brussels) is writing her dissertation on security identities and their construction in the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries based on cognitive/ affective-emotional/ utilitarian resources of motivation in order to move beyond and cut across the values-vs.-interest debate (supervisors: Tom Casier and Elena Korosteleva). Her research interests include IR theory, Security and Conflict Studies, Political and Social Psychology, Foreign Policy Analysis (EU/Eastern Europe and Central Asia/Russia) and the EU (CSDP/ENP/ Enlargement). She is also very interested in interdisciplinary research.
Contact: sses2@kent.ac.uk

Vilson2Maili Vilson (University of Tartu) is writing her dissertation on the discursive construction of neighbours in EU foreign policy, achieved by analysing the ENP-related documents with corpus linguistics and discourse historical analysis (supervisor: Viacheslav Morozov). As a side project, she is also working on the Europeanization of Baltic foreign policy in light of the Ukraine crisis, and has also published on the topic. Her main research interests include European Neighbourhood Policy (Eastern and Southern neighbourhood), EU foreign policy, and regime transitions.
Contact: maili.vilson@ut.ee

KristelKristel Vits
(University of Tartu) focuses on the analysis of unrecognized states, the working title of her dissertation being “De facto states and dependences: disentangling the interrelationship between de facto statehood and patronage“ (supervisor: Eiki Berg). This is a topic that requires the use of mixed methods: as finding adequate and appropriate data on de facto states can be quite complicated, it is also a challenge from a methodological perspective on how to best combine qualitative and quantitative data for creating a whole picture.
Contact: kristel.vits@ut.ee

LouisLouis Wierenga (University of Tartu) is working on a dissertation project “The right approach to gender: gendering the populist radical right” (supervisor: Andres Kasekamp). This will look at the gendered aspects of populist radical right parties, specifically analyzing the gendered nature of party members and party leadership. His other area of interest is the voting patterns of parties who have espoused a vocally pro-Putin stance in the European Parliament (EP). He has previously looked at the Eurosceptic group formation in the EP and the role of the radical right in the Hungarian citizenship law and the Slovak language law.
Contact: louis83@ut.ee

Researchers or post-doctoral researchers at the three consortium institutions working on Russia, Eastern Europe or Eurasia (in alphabetical order):


Dr Eske van Gils (Kent) is Postdoctoral Research Associate for the GCRF ‘COMPASS’ project at Kent. She completed her PhD research in 2016, with a thesis on bargaining power in relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan. Her research focuses on changing power dynamics between the EU and non-EU states in the post-Soviet region, looking at strategies of resistance and negotiation. Case studies include Democracy and Human Rights promotion policies, agenda-setting of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and negotiations over the Association Agreement.

Contact: e.van-gils@kent.ac.uk

Dr Elias Götz (Uppsala)
currently DAAD Post-Doctoral Fellow at SAIS Foreign Policy Institute

Research areas:
Security studies, international relations theory, Russian foreign policy, great power politics, neighborhood policies of major and emerging powers.

Contact: elias.gotz@ucrs.uu.se

fabian-linde-postdDr Fabian Linde (Uppsala)

Research areas:
Russian intellectual history, religious philosophy & mysticism, Russian civilizational identity, historiography, discourse studies.

Contact: fabian.linde@ucrs.uu.se

OybekDr Oybek Madiyev (Kent) is Postdoctoral Research Associate for the GCRF ‘COMPASS’ project at Kent. In his PhD research, Oybek focused on political developments in Central Asia, specifically looking at Uzbekistan. The title of his research is “The major power rivalries in post-Soviet Central Asia: Can Russia compete with China’s growing economic role in the region?”. Oybek’s broader research interests include: International Relations, Critical International Political Economy,  Comparative Political Economy, energy policy, FDI and foreign economic policy of the major powers like China, Russia, the US, Japan and the EU in Central Asia.

Contact: om84@kent.ac.uk

lars-fredrik-stocker-postdDr Lars Fredrik Stöcker (Uppsala)
currently based at Vienna University

Research areas:
Contemporary history, Baltic Sea Region, market reforms in the Soviet Union, East-West contacts in Cold War Europe, exile communities, political opposition in communist Europe.

Contact: lars.fredrik.stoecker@univie.ac.at

Dr Veronika Stoyanova (Kent) is an Associate Lecturer in Sociology, at the University of Kent. She completed her PhD in 2016. Her research focuses on Bulgaria’s recent waves of protest mobilisation in the context of the country’s post-1989 ‘transition’ to liberal democracy and free market economy. Veronika’s research interests more generally include critical approaches to the postcommunist transitions of Eastern Europe; the roles of power, ideology, and utopia in the region’s struggles for social change; democratic participation and class and racial exclusion (particularly of Roma minorities in Eastern Europe); critical language studies.
Email: v.y.stoyanova@kent.ac.uk