The two-day seminar is organized by the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies of the University of Tartu in cooperation with 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 “A divided continent in search of a common language?” represents the third edition in a series of annual events launched in 2015. See Eastern Platform - Tartu seminar programme.
The seminar constitutes an opportunity for researchers and practitioners from very different disciplinary areas to debate and discuss potential future practical and conceptual scenarios that might characterize the region in years to come. Multiple crises and growing uncertainty are not only undermining the post-Cold War security architecture in Europe, but also challenging agreed definitions of “borders” and “neighbourhoods”. The event seeks to shed light on the evolution of the multiple crises affecting Europe and analyze possible short- and mid-term geo-political developments (i.e. escalation, stabilization, normalization, and frozen conflict) and their impact on EU-Russia and West-Russia relations. Given the temporal proximity of the event to Estonian presidency of the Council of EU, specific attention with be devoted to the priorities and challenges of the forthcoming presidency and to Nordic-Baltic cooperation.
In the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the USSR, further debate and in-depth academic discussion seem necessary in the light of the evolution of Moscow’s traditional chameleonic role as both a friend and foe for 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 since the events of 1991 and which has been dramatically challenged by the current developments in Ukraine.
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 including politics, history, economics, anthropology, sociology, geography, semiotics, and media studies. 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. Comparative analytical perspectives are particularly encouraged.
The seminar is 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 from multiple perspectives addressing (but not limited to) the following issues:
The Tartu Seminar will consist of distinct panels (depending on the number of quality paper proposals received), addressing different conceptual and functional dimensions of the crisis and its implications around the suggested issue clusters. The panels will possibly not overlap in order to maximize the attendance and active participation of the contributors to all the sections.
The discussion in panels will be followed, on April 8, by an expert roundtable of four key-note speakers (tba)with the objective to combine the different perspectives emerged during the seminar that will constitute the conceptual and factual peak of the event. Here the perspectives debated in the individual panels will be brought together and combined in the direction of a more profound and multi-faceted understanding of nowadays’ dynamics and respective implications for the EU and the post-Soviet space.
On the evening of April 7, the Johan Skytte Insitute will host a reception open to all the speakers and paper givers.
ORGANIZATION OF THE PANELS AND PAPER PRESENTATIONS
In order to allow an effective discussion in the panels and smooth paper presentations, please make sure that individual presentations do not exceed 15 minutes. Following the paper presentations 45 minutes, in each panel, will be devoted to discussion, comments, and Q&A. Conference presenters are kindly asked to submit their papers directly to the conveners no later than April 1. We will circulate the submitted papers among conference participants ahead of the conference in order to maximize the discussion in the panels.
The seminar will take place at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu (Lossi 36, Tartu, Estonia).
Participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs. There is no registration fee. Successful applicants from the University of Tartu’s partner universities are eligible to apply for reimbursement of the following costs: accommodation in Tartu (up to 50 EUR per day); transportation within Estonia (bus/train tickets Tallinn-Tartu-Tallinn).
Tartu is situated in Southern Estonia and connects to the world through Tartu Airport and Lennart Meri Airport in Tallinn. The distance between Tallinn, Estonia's capital, and Tartu is 186 kilometres, or about 2.5 hours by express coach or car.
Tartu Airport has connections to Helsinki. The distance between Tartu Airport and the city centre is about 10 kilometres.
Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport has direct air links to numerous cities, including the nearby Baltic capitals, Riga and Vilnius. It is also easy to fly in direct from Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Helsinki, Kiev, London, Moscow, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Prague, Stockholm, St. Petersburg and Warsaw.
You can also reach Tartu easily from Riga Airport (245 km from Tartu). If you are flying to Riga, a number of busses are available to get to Tartu.
From Stockholm and Helsinki, there is also a ferry connection to Tallinn. It is especially frequent from Helsinki, hence planning your route through there will not add much to the total duration of your trip.
Apart from that, Estonia has bus links with major cities in Germany, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic countries. Due to the relatively short distances, coach trips from Riga and St. Petersburg are a good alternative to air travel. Both cities have direct connections to Tartu.
Further information concerning the orgnaization of your travel to Tartu can found here.
The University of Tartu, founded in 1632, is Estonia’s leading centre of research and training. It is located in Estonia’s second largest city which is located 186 km southeast of Tallinn and is home to about 100 000 people. Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies offers academic programmes at all levels of higher education, and aims to excel in internationally recognized scholarship as well as applied research. The institute hosts a number of research centres, including the Centre for EU–Russia Studies, a multidisciplinary centre for research and teaching at the University of Tartu, which serves as a contact point for scholars, students and experts who share an interest in the evolving relationship between the European Union and the Russian Federation.
For more information about the University and the Institute, see www.ut.ee/en and www.skytte.ut.ee/en.