Essays

Essays are selected scholarly articles published without prior peer-review process.

The Missing and the Mass Graves

Nearly three decades after the end of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, thousands of people are missing and mass graves are regularly found. Relatives still search for knowledge about their loved ones in the midst of secrets, rumors and ethnonationalist denial. As the country struggles to come to terms with this dark legacy of the war, art has emerged as a space for recognition of the lingering presence of absence of the missing.

Essay by Johanna Mannergren Selimovic December 11, 2023

Let the right one in. Building relations of trust

Building mutual trust was for years one of the desired aims of international cooperation in the Nordic region; the existence of trust was intended to contribute to the reduction of political tensions and lead to more sustainable and peaceful region. In practice, working with international cooperation in the Nordic region, where Russia was one of the actors until 2022, has never been easy. One of the main obstacles on the way was the deficit of trust.

Essay by Ekaterina Kalinina August 23, 2023

Chinese youth: Domestic issues and transnational developments

The increasing investment in and emphasis on ideological and political education at Chinese universities, and statements, including by Xi Jinping himself, and other policies related to youth and higher education, reveals a growing concern about youth. This article provides a brief overview of developments and policies affecting Chinese youth, including the emergence of new values among them.

Essay by Marina Svensson August 23, 2023

What do Azerbaijani youth prefer: Silicon Valley, Pushkin, or Confucius?

The aim of this essay is to explore the cultural, educational or so-called soft power influence of Russia and China in Azerbaijan. The essay analyzes the state and perspectives on the influence of Chinese and Russian soft power in the South Caucasus, focusing on Azerbaijan. It discusses the current situation and tries to put the soft power influence of Russia and China into perspective. It zooms in on the Azerbaijani case, because, contrary to other South Caucasus governments, the Azerbaijani leadership is trying to find a balance between the involvement of both the regional powers and the great powers by maintaining a virtually equal political distance from the West and from Russia and China.

Essay by Nurlan Aliyev August 23, 2023

Soft Power. Coopting post-Soviet youth: Russia, China, and transnational authoritarianism

This Special Issue include eight articles that endeavor to analyze more deeply different aspects of the influence of transnational “soft power” aimed at coopting youth in authoritarian and hybrid regimes through radical and nationalist youth organizations, patriotic education, and youth wings of ruling parties. By means of such activities, governments try to distract the youth from countercultural movements and opposition politics as well as to educate an obedient and loyal generation. The purpose is to “vaccinate” such generations with illiberal or authoritarian values in order to eliminate potential threats to regimes’ stability.

Essay by Oleg Antonov and Olena Podolian August 23, 2023

The fear of the word Samizdat and political language in the real socialist dictatorship

The article deals with samizdat writing in the GDR, which could not be published legally. Thus, authors published their critical texts on handbills and smaller booklets. The article shows forms of distribution and focuses the analysis on individual examples and actors.

Essay by Ines Soldwisch June 20, 2023

MEMORY WARS IN BELARUS 1937–2020

One out of four, and 1941 are two numbers everyone who went through the Soviet and post-Soviet schools in Belarus is familiar with. The former stands for the statistics of the Belarusians who died in the Great Patriotic War, the latter marks the year this war began. However, when I first came to Europe as a teenager, I was amazed to discover that no one actually knew either of my people’s heroism or our great victory. The war, as I found out then, did not even start in 1941 — nor was it defined as “patriotic”. Rather it was everyone’s — “world war” — with patriotism not attributed to nationalities.

Essay by Olga Bubich June 20, 2023

The use of children in the Russian aggression against Ukraine

February 2023 will be remembered for a lavish propaganda event of the Russian government in Luzhniki stadium in Moscow dedicated to the anniversary of the second Russian invasion of Ukraine. This year it was combined with a celebration of the most significant regular ideological commemoration — a day of “The Defender of Otechestvo [the Fatherland]. Using the propaganda transfer technique, Russia frames the invasion as a fight against the “Ukrainian Nazis”, providing parallels with winning WWII, thys inheriting Soviet traditions intended to increase feelings of patriotism and national pride. One of the key narratives promoted by Russian propaganda is the “protection of the people of Donbas”, in particular using propaganda materials with children, especially those deported from Ukraine.

Essay by Alyona Hurkivska June 20, 2023

The end of Ukrainian radical nationalism is not here – yet THE WAR AND ITS CONSEQUENCES FOR FAR-RIGHT MILITANCY AND VIOLENCE IN UKRAINE

Is radical Ukrainian nationalism disappearing? However marginal but playing a decisive role in the resistance against Russian aggression, along with the rest of Ukrainian society, this political movement has suffered terrible losses that raise questions about its ability to maintain itself in the post-war political arena. This forward-looking essay examines the multiple challenges posed by this issue, arguing that the Far-right in Ukraine could perhaps find in the war an undeniable opportunity for a renaissance

Essay by Adrien Nonjon June 20, 2023

STREET ART AGAINST WAR WITH STENCIL MARKS AND PAINT CANS IN UKRAINE

Street artists have demonstrated their condemnation of Russia’s invasion of a neighbor with murals, both in Ukraine and abroad. The most famous of these artists is Banksy. On a wall of what was once a kindergarten, he has sprayed the image of a child in a judo match overcoming a seemingly far more powerful opponent (an adult with some resemblance to the Russian leader). Although such works of street artists in Ukraine sometimes also show Putin, children are a common theme – often a girl with two stiff braids. Some of these works are presented in this essay, considering the role of the child in them, seeking to understand the role of art in protest as an appropriation and reconfiguration of public space.

Essay by Lisa Källström June 20, 2023