Kaisa_2012_3_photo by Veikko Somerpuro

Diversity and governance: civil society, religion and nationalism

The course introduces students to the state-society relations in Russia through the lens of governance approach in relation to civil society and religion. The course presents different theoretical models of civil society, welfare nationalism and religion. In addition, the course gives an overview of the history, the main agents and institutions in Russian civil society and religion.
Learning goals
(1) Students are able to explain the central features of the state-society relationship in contemporary Russia.
(2) Students are able to differentiate and critically evaluate different theoretical approaches and their origins to civil society, nationalism and religion.
(3) Students are able identify central institutions and agents in the field and define the key concepts.
(4) Students are able to illustrate how the above-mentioned frameworks and concepts are applied to discussions in and about Russia.
(5) Students acquire skills for critical scholarly thinking and argumentation.

Activities and teaching methods in support of learning
The delivery of the course consists of ten lectures, learning diary (ca. 1 500 words) and a group work on some group, or phenomenon in the fields of civil society, nationalism or religion in Russia. Lectures will not be limited to a monologue of a lecturer but involve interventions for student’s questions and small debates around contested issues. Group discussions aim to encourage students to apply their knowledge during the debate and shape their own opinion on issues at stake. Learning diary will enable students to reflect on the learning process. Students will be encouraged to formulate their opinion on questions raised in the class, not only technical observation of the course logic, in their learning diaries.

Civil society (Anna Tarasenko)
1. Monday 13. 1. 14. 15 – 15.45
Introduction to the course (Kaarina Aitamurto) + Civil society, social capital and democratization
2. Thursday 16. 1. 14. 15 – 15.45
Civil society and welfare state transformations
3. Monday 20. 1. 14. 15 – 15.45
Particularity of civil society in Russia: social movements, civic organisations and grass-root activity

Religion (Kaarina Aitamurto)
4. Thursday 23. 1. 14. 15 – 15.45
Orthodox Christianity
5. Monday 27. 1. 14. 15 – 15.45
Religious traditions in Russia
6. Thursday 30.1. 14. 15 – 15.45
Religious diversity in contemporary Russia
7. Monday 3. 2. 14. 15 – 15.45
The governance of religion in Russia

Nationalism (Kaarina Aitamurto)
8. Thursday 6. 2. 14. 15 – 15.45
Multiethnic imperial Russia and Soviet Union
9. Monday 10. 2. 14. 15 – 15.45
Ethnic diversity in Soviet Union and Russia
10. Thursday 13. 2. 14. 15 – 15.45
Russian “national policies”

Group works (Kaarina Aitamurto and Anna Tarasenko)

11. Monday 17. 2. 14. 15 – 15.45 Group work
12. Thursday 20. 2. 14. 15 – 15.45 Group work

10.12.2019 at 09:00 - 13.1.2020 at 23:59


Here is the course’s teaching schedule. Check the description for possible other schedules.

Mon 13.1.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Thu 16.1.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Mon 20.1.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Thu 23.1.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Mon 27.1.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Thu 30.1.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Mon 3.2.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Thu 6.2.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Mon 10.2.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Thu 13.2.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Mon 17.2.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Thu 20.2.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Mon 24.2.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Thu 27.2.2020
14:15 - 15:45


Compulsory for students in Master´s Programme in Russian Studies. Optional for all students of University of Helsinki including exchange students.

Orientation to Russian Studies and Methods and Theories for students in Russian Studies Master´s programme.

Student recognizes the major approaches on the topic and the origins of the chosen policies in the context of Russia. Student is able to define the key concepts and illustrate how those are typically applied in the resilience discussion. Student is able to demonstrate the application of some global ideas in the Russian context. Student understands multi-/interdisciplinary approach in practice and is able to recognize different disciplinary approaches in the analysis of the topic.

First year/period III.

This course unfolds the “how?” questions, i.e. how Russia internally and in cross-border and transnational multi-institutional contexts is trying to maintain its resilience in the raptide of both the normative and fluid global realities, but also what forms of resistance the chosen policies produce both inside and outside Russia.

List of required literature can be given in advance. Literature and other materials can be delivered in the course.

The course will be based on lectures and/or group work. The group work can be organised on the basis of problem-based learning.

The assessment of the course is based on participation and/or producing essay(s) and/or learning diary and/or group works. The grading of the course is 0-5.

Contact teaching. Compulsory attendance during the entire course.