The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action “Around the Caspian: a Doctoral Training for Future Experts in Development and Cooperation with Focus on the Caspian Region ” (CASPIAN) is a European Training Network that wants produce the next generation of experts on the Caspian region in order to establish, and make sustainable, a network of excellence. 

Maintaining the panslavic dream. The case of Janko Lavrin, a Slovenian Russianist in Great-Britain

Janko Lavrin - born in Habsburg Slovenia, educated in Russia and Europe, a journalist and cultural figure in Russia, a professor of Russian studies at Nottingham University, a BBC-correspondent during the war, an ambassador of Slovenian culture in Great-Britain, and now a forgotten scholar of Russian literature. This close reading research project aims to verify whether Lavrin’s late overtly panslavic attitude is also present in his earlier works and, if so, how this panslavic attitude manifests itself.

Janko Lavrin
East-West relations
Slavic identity
tribal identity
Saint Petersburg
liberal nationalism
universal nationalism
cultural identity
literature and identity
Intellectual history
minor figure

Reading Pushkin, supporting Putin. Russian literature and the Kremlin’s nation-building agenda

This project explores recent efforts by the Russian state to restore the flowering reading culture of Soviet times. The purpose of this policy is not fighting declining reading figures, but to unite the nation around Russian literature as a symbol of national identity. This research project shows how Russia is ideologically and culturally manifesting itself in a rapidly changing world.

Russian literature
cultural politics
post-soviet nostalgia
national identity
literary canon

Safeguarding Russian culture as a cultural reality or as a cultural construct? The newsmagazine ‘Illustrated Russia’ and Russian émigré culture in interwar Europe

This project studies the mainstream Russian émigré newsmagazine, Illiustrirovannaia Rossiia (1924-1939), as a test case for the widely accepted idea that interwar Russian émigré culture first and foremost aspired to safeguard ‘truly’ Russian culture and, hence, identity. Does this assumption hold for the émigré culture as a whole or does it relate to high culture alone?

émigré culture
La Russie illustrée
Illiustrirovannaia Rossiia
periodical studies
interwar period
cultural identity
middlebrow culture

The influence of NGOs on the EU’s human rights promotion towards the post-Soviet space

In challenging the predominant contention that EU foreign policy remains an ‘insulated sector’ predominantly driven by state actors and EU institutions, this project will analyse whether and to what extent NGOs influence the EU’s promotion of human rights in its diplomatic activities, and assess what factors explain that influence. Based on extensive qualitative field research, the project will focus on local human rights NGOs from selected post-Soviet countries.

EU external relations
Eastern Partnership
Post-Soviet space
Human Rights

Writing the past in exile. The interwar Russian émigré historical novel (1917-1939)

The research project aims to scrutinize the interwar Russian émigré historical novel, i.e. the phenomenon itself, how it relates to émigré culture, and its relation to other (older and contemporary) realizations of the (Russian) historical novel. 

émigré culture
interwar period
historical novel
Russian literature
cultural history
cultural identity
cultural memory
cultural trauma