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Online VERA Conference: Conflicting Il/liberalisms. Dividing states and societies in Russia and beyond

  • Webinaari
  • Kielet ja kulttuurit
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Organizers: VERA Centre for Russian and Border Studies, University of Eastern Finland & Finnish 
Association for Russian and East European Studies

During recent years, we have witnessed a rise of nationalist, right-wing, populist, and religious 
movements that have gained popularity by contesting liberal notions of democracy, freedom of the individual and, in particular, multiculturalism, transnational migration and supranational institutions such as the EU. News about restricted rule of law and media freedoms, attempts to silence independent and openly critical NGOs, and national leaders challenging ‘Brussels’ values’, embodied in the EU’s hegemonic power and ‘LGBT ideology’, are not uncommon. Thus, citizens and activist groups in the countries moving towards a so-called ‘illiberal democracy’, such as Hungary, Poland and Russia, create new networks and platforms to defend their rights for social and political participation, to support independent media and academic freedoms, women’s rights, and rights for minorities and migrants. The countries are internally divided. So are the countries in ‘the West’ where liberal values are increasingly challenged by anti-elitist and anti-immigration rhetoric.

The conference explores different aspects of il/liberalism in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. The keynote speakers, panellists and paper presenters explore the contemporary social, political and other divisions in the region at different social, political and geographical contexts. The first keynote presentation by Marko Lehti elaborates the on-going crisis of liberalism that occurs in different parts of the word. The keynote panel including Katalin Miklossy, James Scott and Alexander Kondakov discusses how the il/liberal turn is reflected in confrontations, culture wars and bordering practices in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe. On the second day, Mark Simon continues the discussion in his keynote presentation on the current Russian debate over the selection of Manizha Sangin, a Russian singer of Tajik origin, to represent Russia in 2021 Eurovision Song Contest. Her nomination is strongly criticised by more conservative sections of society for insulting the image of the ‘Russian woman’ (which is also the name of the song). 

Please see the full programme with keynotes, keynote panel and paper sessions here.

The conference is free of charge. In order to obtain the Zoom link, send your registration latest on 17 May 2021.