CfA: BEAR Narva Summer School 2021 for (post)graduate students

The ‘Soft Power’ of the EU and Russia in Divided Societies
July 5 – 10, 2021
Narva College, University of Tartu
Narva, Estonia

The BEAR Network invites applications from (post)graduate students to attend the BEAR 2021 Narva Summer School at Narva College, University of Tartu, Estonia, July 5-10, 2021. Summer school will take place in hybrid format where some participants and lecturers will attend the event in Narva while others will participate online. A summary of summer school activities can be found below.

Full-time thesis students enrolled in a (post)graduate degree program at a BEAR partner university are invited to apply for grants to attend the summer school. Exceptional advanced undergraduate students at a BEAR partner university who are under the supervision of a BEAR network member are eligible as well.

COVID-19 pandemic related restrictions

Participation in person in Narva will depend on the travel restrictions applied at the time of the travel by Estonian state authorities and on the restrictions applied by home country of a participant. The organisers will reserve the right to move all participation into online format based on changing COVID-19 pandemic situation and travel restrictions.

Summer School Description

Since the beginning of state- and regime transformations in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe, a central issue of democratic governance and regional security has been the design of inclusive democratic institutions and policies. The existence of various minorities, including those that have kin-states (Russia), has made this task particularly urgent. A rich body of scholarship has emerged about these questions, influenced significantly by Rogers Brubaker’s model of the “triadic nexus” between what he calls nationalizing states, national minorities, and external homelands. Most studies have also recognized the significance of European institutions, and some have adopted what David Smith (2002) called a “quadratic nexus” to include the European framework. In recent years, the question of the overlapping influences of both the EU and Russia in the region has attracted significant scholarly attention. The interplay of EU’s and Russia’s “soft power” produces tensions, but also engenders new identities among borderland communities.

This Summer School, organized the Jean Monnet BEAR Network (“Between the EU and Russia: Dimensions of Diversity and Contestation”) will address the dynamic of identity and the interplay of “soft powers”, paying close attention to the social and ethnopolitical movements and contestations in the region. Focusing on this zone of contact and contestation between the EU and Russia, the summer school’s main questions are the following:

  • How does the “soft power” of the EU and Russia affect local perceptions of belonging and formation of identities of various minorities in the borderlands?
  • How does EU integration or Russia’s attempts to reclaim the “compatriots” affect protest dynamics and the likelihood of conflict?
  • To what extent are the claims and dynamics of social movements in one state in the region affected by those in neighbouring states, and with what ramifications for European integration?
  • What are the similarities and differences in how societies in the EU, Russia and neighbouring countries cope with domestic social change, external threats and global challenges?

The one-week summer school programme consists of lectures and seminars, including thesis and research workshops for graduate students as well as lectures and discussions for civil society activists and the general public. Instructors will come from BEAR network universities and collaboration partners in Russia and the EU. The school will take place in Narva (at the University of Tartu Narva College), which is a border community between the EU and Russia, but also the most Russian-speaking city in the EU.


Summer school will bring together top lecturers on EU and Russia studies from European, North-American as well as Russian universities. The lecturing staff includes

  • Prof. Viacheslav Morozov, Professor of EU-Russia Studies at Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu
  • Prof. Andrey Makarychev, Professor of Regional Political Studies at Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu
  • Dr. Magdalena Dembinska, Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Montreal
  • Dr. Mikhail Suslov, Assistant Professor of Russian History and Politics at the University of Copenhagen
  • Dr. Kristina Kallas, Research Fellow at Narva College, the University of Tartu
  • Marina Kaljurand, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe and Social Democratic Party of Estonia
  • Dr. Piret Ehin, Associate Professor of Comparative Politics at Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu
  • Dr. Ammon Cheskin, Senior Lecturer in Nationalism and Identity at University of Glasgow
  • Mari-Liis Sepper, Programme Manager on gender issues at policy centre Praxis
  • Maksim Alyukov, School of Advance Studies at Tyumen State University


The applicant must:

  • Be a full-time thesis student enrolled in a (post)graduate degree program at a BEAR partner university (exceptional advanced undergraduate students can also apply)
  • Be approved by their supervisor to take part in the summer school


For those able to travel to Narva for summer school, scholarships will be provided on competitive basis. Travel, accommodation, and per diem for up to 8 days will be sponsored by the BEAR Network. No scholarships are available for online participants.


All applications must be received by April 20, 2021.

How to apply

The following documents must be emailed to Dr. Kristina Kallas,

  • Motivation letter (2 pages maximum). Please indicate in your letter whether circumstances permitting you are willing to travel to Narva.
  • Short CV (2 pages maximum)
  • Estimated budget in case of travel to Narva
  • Brief e-mail from the supervisor confirming their support


  • Selected participants are expected to attend all summer school sessions
  • Selected participants will be asked to record a short video reflection for the BEAR website
  • Selected participants will receive a certificate of participation from the BEAR Network

Click here to download the Call for Applications.

Summer school organisers:

Dr. Kristina Kallas
Narva College, University of Tartu

Prof. Viacheslav Morozov
Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies and Centre for Eurasian and Russian Studies, University of Tartu

Forwarded by:
Maili Vilson, Head of Communications,