Eastern Platform Conference in Tartu on 14-15 October 2021

Image: Eastern Platform 2019 at the University of Tartu (Photo by University of Tartu)

University of Tartu Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, in cooperation with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Leonid Nevzlin Research Center, and Nadav Foundation, are organizing the next edition of the Eastern Platform, titled “Platform “Freedom and Unfreedom in Critical Times: Liberalism and Illiberalism in Central, Eastern, and Baltic Europe”, from 14 to 15 October.

The 2021 edition of the Eastern Platform represents the 6th time the annual event (first held in 2015), after a COVID-19 induced break, will be held. Eastern Platform 2021 brings together researchers and practitioners from different disciplinary areas and different continents to debate and reflect, in a series of 90-minute panel discussions, on the historical and current impact of authoritarianism, memory politics, and illiberal ideas on democratic and liberal societies in Central, Eastern, and Baltic Europe.


Activities during the first half of the first day, 14 October, will take place in the modern Delta Centre of the University of Tartu (Narva mnt 18, room 1018), with the opening remarks delivered at 10:30 by Ms Olga Bogdanova (Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies), Mr Ariel Nikolay Borschevsky (Nadav Foundation) and Eli Lederhendler (Leonid Nevzlin Center and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem). The opening remarks will be followed by two panel discussions on (il)liberalism and authoritarianism, respectively. From 15.30 to 18:00 participants will have the chance to visit the Estonian National Museum and the exhibition “Encounters”. An evening panel on the topic of visual politics will conclude the activities of the first day at the University Café Drinkgeld at 18:30.

On the second day, 15 October, the activities of the conference move to the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies’ building (Lossi 36, room 214). The day is kicked off at 09:30 with a panel on the ever-relevant impact of COVID-19, followed by discussions on the role of liberalism in the history of Jews; post-communist memory politics; and right-wing populism. The conference will conclude with a farewell dinner at restaurant Kolm Tilli, in the vibrant Aparaaditehas. For a full list of activities, please refer to the programme below.

Audience is welcome

The conference is open to all interested audiences (both in person as well as online via Zoom) but the organisers kindly ask you to register your attendance via webform.

Covid-19 measures

We kindly ask those who wish to attend the event in person to either wear a mask or present proof of COVID certificate of either vaccination, recovery or a negative test result. For precise rules that apply to activities within the premises of the university, please see here.


For additional information, please contact Mr Jaak Erik Laja at jaak.erik.laja@ut.ee