CfA: BEAR Network Summer School for UT students

The ‘Soft Power’ of the EU and Russia in Divided Societies

The BEAR Network invites applications from (post)graduate students to attend the BEAR 2020 Narva Summer School at Narva College, University of Tartu, Estonia, June 28-July 3, 2020. 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.

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. 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.


The programme of the summer school includes lectures and seminars by leading scholars from European, North-American and Russian universities, as well as presentations by politicians and civil society activists. The following lecturers have confirmed their participation:

  • Maksim Alyukov, Tyumen State University
  • Ammon Cheskin, University of Glasgow
  • Magdalena Dembinska, Université de Montréal
  • Piret Ehin, University of Tartu
  • Marina Kaljurand, Member of the European Parliament
  • Kristina Kallas, University of Tartu
  • Andrey Makarychev, University of Tartu
  • Viacheslav Morozov, University of Tartu
  • Mikhail Suslov, University of Copenhagen


The applicant must:

  • Be a full-time thesis student enrolled in a (post)graduate degree program at Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies or Narva College of the University of Tartu (exceptional advanced undergraduate students can also apply)
  • Be under the direct supervision of one of the Johan Skytte Institute or Narva College professors or be a current/former student of one of the professors
  • Be approved by their supervisor to take part in the summer school


Travel, accommodation, and per diem for up to 8 days will be sponsored by the BEAR Network.


All applications must be received by March 9, 2020.

How to apply

The following documents must be emailed to Dr. Kristina Kallas

  • Motivation letter (2 pages maximum)
  • Short CV (2 pages maximum)
  • Estimated budget
  • Brief e-mail from the supervisor confirming their support

Requirements for UT Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies and Narva college students

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

Summer School organisers:
Dr. Kristina Kallas
Narva College, University of Tartu

Prof. Viacheslav Morozov
Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu