Alexandra Talaver and Yulia Gradskova

Alexandra Talaver is a PhD-Candidate at the Department of Gender Studies, Central European University, Vienna.
Yulia Gradskova is an Associate Professor in History and a Research Coordinator at CBEES, Södertörn University.

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Articles by Alexandra Talaver and Yulia Gradskova

  1. Confined within the law Roma in Polish police journals 1920–1939

    This article analyzes the Polish police narrative on Roma during the interwar time, unveiling attitudes and potential practices. According to the police journals and handbooks, Roma were mobile and disposed to theft and deceit. Their traditional crafts were merely a smoke screen for illicit activities. As countermeasures, searches of caravans, meticulous checks of identity documents, indiscriminate fingerprinting of Roma suspects, among several measures, were recommended. This narrative constituted part of a larger police professional discourse and is likely to be an indicator of practices on Roma. Polish police followed the contemporary European expertise on Roma produced by the fields of criminalistics and criminology. As there were no discriminatory laws targeting Roma in Poland, it appears that police used legislation against begging and vagrancy, among other tactics.

  2. The Eastern policy Towards an understanding of the Polish geopolitical code

    The aim of the article is to examine what is called the “Polish Eastern policy”. This concept covers certain conceptual foundations on which subsequent governments in Warsaw have tried to build their relations with their neighbors from the post-Soviet area. The topic has already been widely described and discussed. Due to the limited volume of the article, this issue will be considered mainly in the context of the example of Polish-Ukrainian relations. The starting point will be a description of the circumstances in which Poland was the first country in the world to recognize the independence of Ukraine in 1991. Then, the motives of Polish decision-makers will be characterized. This applies both to 1991 and to the way they behaved during subsequent “Ukrainian crises.” For this purpose, Colin Flint’s concept of “geopolitical code” will be used.

  3. TCHAIKOVSKY’S MAZEPA IN THE RUSSO-UKRAINIAN WAR. Rescuing a cultural hero for a sovereign nation

    This essay considers the myths surrounding the historical figure of Hetman Mazepa and their artistic expressions. More specifically, it compares and contrasts two recent stage versions of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Mazepa opera by theaters in Kharkiv in 2017 and Moscow in 2021, at the time of the Russian military operations on the territory of Ukraine. The desire of Ukrainian directors to return honors to the national hero is opposed by the Russian interpretation of the image of Mazepa as an archetype of a traitor. The essay shows how the Ukrainian version updated the plot and liberated the Mazepa myth from Russian and Soviet imperial distortions, thereby connecting the opera’s events with the contemporary struggle for a sovereign state. Meanwhile, underneath its modernist surface, the Russian version maintained the opera’s age-old metropolitan view of Ukraine as inferior.

  4. Prigozhin’s patriot media group just like a nesting doll

    Alongside the private military company Wagner and his notorious Internet Research Agency (IRA), Yevgeny Prigozhin was associated with the Patriot Media Group (PMG) which amplified state narratives through its webpages and was registered by Roskomnadzor, the federal agency for supervision of Russian media. The Patriot Media Group was shut down after the mutiny, June 23, 2023, while most of its channels were removed or remain inactive currently. The essay provides a brief account of the Patriot Media Group’s structures, partnerships, and campaigns based on digital ethnographic observations of their web channels. The news coverage from predominantly Russian language news outlets sheds light on how the Group operated and what happened after Prigozhin’s mutiny. The essay concludes with some directions for future research on a complex and murky media production facility.

  5. The epidemic of broken compasses Normalization of violence and Soviet propaganda in today’s Russia

    With skillfully designed propaganda that presents the Soviet past in rosy colors only, little is remembered about the Gulag, repressions, censorship, and poverty. “People feel nostalgia for the taste of Soviet sausage,” a critical acquaintance of mine born in the Belarusian Soviet Republic commented. “But no-one remembers that they ate it only once a month”.

  6. The death of Alexei Navalny and the eternal return of the Gulag

    Commemoration in Russia of Navalny, also one person with one life, revealed historical continuity with the pain of the past, but perhaps more importantly established a sense of community with those who suffered before us. When the first flowers appeared in front of previously desolate memorials to victims of political oppression, grief mixed with hope to create an unexpected feeling of togetherness.

  7. The Anthropocene? Knowledge and practice in times and spaces of unravelling

    In a panel discussion and workshop organized by doctoral students and Södertörn and Uppsala Universities, we set out to explore how the idea of the Anthropocene encompasses – and disrupts – various temporalities and spatialities, as seen from these various angles.

  8. Nation and narration

    The article considers the emergence of nationalisms during the period of the downfall of socialist regimes in Eastern Europe and concentrates on the formation of Slovene nationalism through the spyglass of historic narration. The Slovene case may provide some general lessons as to how, in national narrations, history is retroactively homogenized: all significant landmarks of Slovene history that now form the core of the narrative presented at the time the major breaks with the then standards of Slovene national identity.

  9. Placing a statue in its proper place

    In 1969 the Situationist group re-installed a copy of a statue of Charles Fourier on an empty plinth at Place Clichy in Paris as a gesture of commemoration of the events in May-June 1968 in Paris. The article will discuss the event and use it in an analysis of the ongoing monument wars that took off in the summer of 2020.

  10. Post-communist memory in the negative

    This essay takes the novel The Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Dubravka Ugrešić as a starting point for a discussion of why the notion of a post-Yugoslav or post-communist cultural memory seems to be a contradiction in terms. The manifest impossibility of forming a collective post-Yugoslav memory provokes a reflection on how cultural and collective memory has been used in post-communist Eastern Europe to historify the communist past, which further has served the revival of a nationalist agenda. Ugrešić offers a counter memory, if we understand the term from Foucault as something that escapes the forming of identities. Finally, I suggest the notion of negative memory, as introduced by Reinhardt Koselleck, as a more apposite term for approaching memory in the post-communist sphere and in the unfolding catastrophes of the modern world.

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