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Post-Soviet Tensions (completed)

A training programme in Post-Soviet affairs for early career researchers.

About the Project

The main aim of this project was to create the next generation of experts on post-Soviet affairs and make them competitive for employment in both the public and private sector.

This was made possible thanks to a highly-targeted training in this research programme that will enhance participants' research skills, together with a first-hand experience with a partner operating in a market environment, where the researchers will learn about the applicability of their skills to different fields and sectors.

The above activities assisted the establishment, and sustainability, of an interdisciplinary and intersectoral research and training environment on post-Soviet affairs.


There was two PhD students at the University of Oslo within the project:

  • Eglė Kesylytė-Allix: Symbolic national identity building in Lithuania after 1990
  • Maryia Rohava: Mastering the Past: The Unresolved Issue of National Identity in Belarus


"Tensions” is a term to be understood in a broad sense in the post-Soviet context, where tensions may be latent, dormant, managed and contained, or erupting. They may also be political, social, domestic and international. We will examine tensions in different contexts, regions, segments of the society and between different actors. Tensions between the state and the citizens, ethnic groups and states, states and non-state actors, and between different ethnic, social or economic groups.

The PhD fellows undertook coursework within their host university, typically during their first year. In addition, all the PhD students met at workshops, summer and winter schools and conferences two to three times per year, where more specialised and collective graduate training was undertaken.

All students were required to undertake fieldwork in the region. In addition, doctoral students spent time in one of the private sector partners (specialising in one of the following: consulting for the public and private sector, information and publishing, social research for private companies). They completed their Doctoral studies in early 2017.


This Initial Training Network is Funded by a FP7/Marie Curie ITN action and coordinated by Dublin City University, School of Law and Government.

Marie Curie Actions (MCA) are a funding instrument for researcher training and mobility under the “People” Programme of the EU Seventh Framework Programme. "Post-Soviet Tensions" is an Initial Training Network (ITN) under the Marie Curie Actions.

Project duration

 2013 - 2017


Full partners:

  • Dublin City University (Coordinator)
  • University of Oslo, Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages
  • University of St Andrews, School of International Relations
  • Forschungsstelle Osteuropa - Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen
  • Tallinn University, Institute of Political Science and Governance
  • University of Warsaw, Institute of International Relations

Associate partners:

  • Caucasus InterConnect (the Netherlands)
  • GeoWel Research (Georgia)
  • Ibidem Verlag (Germany)
  • Levada Centre (Russia)
  • SIAR Research (Kyrgyzstan)
  • Transitions Online (the Czech Republic)
  • Office for a Democratic Belarus (Belarus)


Marie Curie «Post-Soviet Tensions» seminar

Time and place: June 11, 2015 9:00 AM–June 12, 2015 6:00 PM, Niels Treschow's house, 12th floor


Thursday 11th:

  • Opening, welcome. Head of Department and Professor Karen Gammelgaard and Professor Pål Kolstø
  • Laura Adams, American Association for the Advancement of Science, USA: "Theory and Methods for Studying Culture and National Identity"
  • Laura Adams: "International Norms and Human Rights in Central Asia"
  • Alexander Etkind, European University Institute: "Warped Mourning: Cultural and Digital Methods of Memory Studies"
  • Alexander Etkind: "Putin's Russia: An Exemplary Case of Hyper-Extractive State"
  • Parallel board meeting and student meeting

Friday 12th:

  • Charles King, Georgetown University: “Politics and Nation-Building in the Caucasus”
  • Charles King: “The Logic of De Facto States”
  • Andrew Wilson, School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London and European Council on Foreign Relations: “The Use of Political Technologies in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. A comparison”.
  • Andrew Wilson: “Causes of the Ukrainian Crisis”  (Public lecture - Auditorium 3 Sophus Bugge's house)
  • Workshop: “How to prepare and present a paper at conferences”. Sally Cummings, Pål Kolstø and Heiko Pleines.

Charles King will in addition give a talk at The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) on 10 June at 14:15 under the project Nation-building and nationalism in today’s Russia (NEORUSS): "The Caucasus in Russian Politics and Strategy"

Alexander Etkind will in addition give a talk on 10 June under the project Discourses of the Nation and the National

Published Oct. 27, 2020 12:22 PM - Last modified May 20, 2022 3:00 AM


Project leader:

Pål Kolstø