AURORA grants to visiting scholars

Press release — 24 May 2013

CEURUS will host five visiting Russian academics during the academic year 2013/2014, all of whom received a fellowship from the AURORA consortium, funded by the EU’s Erasmus Mundus programme and coordinated by the University of Turku. Three of the visiting fellows will be associated with the UT’s Institute of Government and Politics, while two will work with CEURUS-affiliated scholars at the UT Faculty of Law. In addition, the AURORA consortium awarded a two-year scholarship to a student from Voronezh who will enroll in the EU-Russia studies MA programme offered by the UT’s EuroCollege.

Dr Mikhail Antonov (Director of Department of Legal Theory and History, Law Faculty of the Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg) will stay in Tartu for almost three years to work on a dissertation entitled “The Beginnings of Socio-Psychological Approach to Law: The American and Russian Traditions of Legal Realism.” The project, supervised by Prof William Simons, a CEURUS-affiliated Professor at the UT Faculty of Law, is designed to achieve a better understanding of the key elements of sociological and realist conceptions which nowadays play an important role in the worldwide legal theory. Mikhail Antonov holds an MA in Sociology from Paris-V-Sorbonne (2005) and a candidate degree in Law from the St. Petersburg State University (2006).

Dr Anton Burkov (Chair of European and Comparative Law Department at the University of Humanities, Ekaterinburg and Director of various NGO-based human rights programmes operating in Russia) will spend two months in Tartu in fall semester 2013, collaborating with Prof Lauri Mälksoo and Prof William Simons at the UT Faculty of Law. His research project, entitled “Russia and Human Rights: Domestication of International Human Rights Law” focuses on the implementation of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Russia’s national courts. Dr Burkov will also lecture on human rights law and its application in Russia. Dr Burkov holds a Ph.D. in Law from the University of Cambridge (2009) and an LLM in Human Rights Law from the University of Essex (2004).

Dr Andrey Devyatkov (Institute of Human Sciences, Tyumen State University) was awarded a 10-month postdoctoral fellowship starting in September 2013. Dr Devyatkov’s research project, entitled “EU and Russian soft power in Moldova,” focuses on the question of how effective the EU and Russia are in using soft power instruments and what systemic restrictions are present for the development of European and Russian soft power in Moldova. The project will be supervised by Prof. Viacheslav Morozov and Prof. Andrey Makarychev at the UT’s Institute of Government and Politics.

Dr. Anastasia Mitrofanova (Institute for Contemporary International Studies, Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry) will be a visiting scholar at CEURUS/the Institute of Government and Politics for two months in spring 2014. She will work on a project entitled “Orthodox Fundamentalism in Contemporary Russia: Ideology and Practice.” The objectives of the project include analyzing the ideology as well as religious and political practices of Russian Orthodox fundamentalists, comparing their belief systems with the Orthodox doctrine and Church canons, and evaluating the potential threat that Orthodox fundamentalists pose to democratic development in Russia. She will collaborate with Dr Alar Kilp, Lecturer at the UT Institute of Government and Politics, and other UT faculty members interested in religion and politics.

Dr. Alexander Sergunin, Professor of International Relations at the Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg) and St. Petersburg State University, will spend two months in Tartu in winter 2013/2014. He will work on a research project entitled “EU and Russia: Two Competing ‘Soft Power’ Projects in the Baltic Sea Region.” The main objective of this research is to examine the nature of the EU and Russian ‘soft power’ projects in the Baltic Sea Region and to critically assess how these projects are implemented in terms of their efficiency and interaction. Dr Sergunin holds a Doctor of Sciences degree (habilitation) in Political Science from St. Petersburg University (1994) and is the author of numerous publications on regionalism, foreign and security policy and EU-Russia relations.

In addition, Elizaveta Parshintceva, a recent graduate of the Voronezh State University in the field of Business Administration, was awarded a two-year fellowship by the AURORA programme that will enable her to enroll in the European Union-Russia Studies MA programme offered by the UT’s EuroCollege. She plans to complete the two-year programme by summer 2015.

For more information, see the AURORA programme or contact the programme coordinator at the University of Tartu, Ms. Merike Kala (merike.kala[at]