03 Jun

Together with Jan Zofka, Alexandr Voronovici co-organized a writing workshop "Pro-Russian or not Quite? Local Agency and Moscow Patronage in Political Movements and Russian-Speaking Milieus in the Post-Soviet Space from 1991 until Today" at Imre Kertesz Kolleg Jena. The workshop took place on 31 May 2024. 

The writing workshop served to discuss possible contributions to a special issue on the topic and was funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.

Abstract. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has given a new urgency to the issue of pro-Russian movements and sentiments in the post-Soviet space. Despite the images of destruction brought by Russia’s war against Ukraine, pro-Russian political groups and orientations outside of Russia persist. The war in Ukraine suggests more and more to see all activities and utterances in this respect as induced by the Kremlin. Not least Western media coverage increasingly tends to depict anti-Western mobilization in the post-Soviet space as being exclusively steered from Moscow. This workshop aims to explore to what extent such a picture must be nuanced, to what extent indigenous local agency, interests, identifications, sentiments may still play a role for what happens on the ground. We suppose that, despite the homogenous images that war creates, pro-Russianness may not fit the same pattern everywhere. The broad spectrum of reactions of the (formerly) pro-Russian groups or Russian-speaking communities in the post-Soviet space to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine underscores that heterogeneity and complexity, and both the extent and limits of Moscow’s influence in the region. The interdisciplinary workshop thus looks at pro-Russian activism and discourse in different countries, regions, and localities, at various levels of activity.

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