Spring InteRussia Fellowship Program: final events

Spring InteRussia Fellowship Program: final events

29 April 2022

The Institute for International Studies organized a series of final events for the participants of its fellowship program for foreign specialists from April 25 to 29. The participants in InteRussia, which MGIMO carries out together with the Gorchakov Fund and Rossotrudnichestvo, took on the role of organizers and speakers.

On April 25, the Institute for International Studies hosted a round table "Integration processes in Central Asia: political, economic and social aspects" with research papers presented by Sukhrob Rustami (Tajikistan), Lecturer at the Department of Theory and History of International Relations at the Ural Federal University; Ilyas Shakirov (Uzbekistan), Senior Lecturer at the Department of the History of Uzbekistan, National University of Uzbekistan named after Mirzo Ulugbek; and Veronika Torosyan (Armenia), Head of the Department of Turkish Studies, the Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia.

Sukhrob Rustami (Tajikistan) presented a study on "Central Asian integration: specific features of the region." In his work, the author analyzes positions of Central Asian republics on integration processes in the region and whether this integration might accelerate. The researcher also describes the role of Russia in Central Asian integration and how it is viewed by the countries of the region. Sukhrob Rustami said that during the fellowship he did a lot of work together with his academic advisor who helped him refocus his research question.

Ilyas Shakirov (Uzbekistan) spoke about the preliminary results of his research on the political and economic interests of ASEAN and the EAEU in Uzbekistan. The study's relevance stems from the fact that Uzbekistan's foreign policy is currently transforming. According to the author, bilateral relations between Uzbekistan and the ASEAN countries—Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand—have entered a new stage of development against this background. Much attention in the study is paid to the issues of bilateral relations between Uzbekistan and ASEAN in the field of tourism. The author establishes that Halal tourism or zierat tourism (pilgrimage tourism) are the driving factors in strengthening relationships in this industry. Ilyas Shakirov analyzes the relations between Uzbekistan and the EAEU countries and shows that economy and tourism can become promising areas for bilateral cooperation.

Veronika Torosyan (Armenia) researched the paradigms of Eurasianism in the integration processes of the post-Soviet space. Comparing the cases of Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkey, the author tries to answer the question: how does the theory work in practice and will it be able to work in the future? In her report, she examines the manifestations of Eurasianism in the processes of regional integration and shows its importance in the foreign policy discourse of Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkey.

On April 27, a round table "Discursive insight into socio-political processes in Central Asia" was held. Rigina Sysoeva (Kazakhstan), Lecturer at the Department of Social Sciences, Astana International University, organized and moderated the meeting. Abduaziz Alimdzhanov (Uzbekistan), Lecturer of the Department of Foreign Philology, the National University of Uzbekistan named after Mirzo Ulugbek; Gulzina Daniyarova (Kyrgyzstan), Lecturer at Faculty of Professional Foreign Languages, Department of international relations, Osh State University and Mukhabbat Rosemamedova (Turkmenistan), a PhD student at the Department of Political Science and International Relations, the Eastern Mediterranean University (Cyprus), contributed to the discussion.

Rigina Sysoeva (Kazakhstan) presented a study of what had happened in Kazakhstan in January. The author says that these events in the country were an attempted coup. It was carried out by gangs and extremist groups who took advantage of peaceful protests. As a result, the sovereignty and state security of the country were under threat. The author says that thanks to the deployment of the CSTO peacekeeping troops, the situation was stabilized and the constitutional order was restored. In the study, this tragedy is viewed as an internal affair of the state that indirectly is also part of the "geopolitical storm" that the post-Soviet space is passing through right now.

Mukhabbat Rosemamedova (Turkmenistan) presented her study on the protection of human rights in unrecognized countries. Over the course of the study, the author shows that the formal legal approach cannot fully determine the position of de facto countries from the point of view of international law. The researcher finds that some de facto countries, despite their limited legal capacity, protect human rights almost as well as recognized states. In this regard, the author asks what non-legal factors affect the protection of human rights in unrecognized countries. Mukhabbat Rosemamedova concludes that the protection of human rights in de facto countries should be considered from the point of view of an effective political approach, which includes such aspects as ideology, democracy, citizenship, culture and economy.

Abduaziz Alimdzhanov (Uzbekistan) studied the concept of "independence" in the post-Soviet political discourse of Central Asian countries. He highlights its unusual development, from the Soviet constitution of 1977 through "perestroika" and the collapse of the USSR up to the present day. The author proposes to trace the development of the concept of "independence" in speeches of the presidents of Central Asian countries celebrating independence days over the past 30 years. The researcher identifies three major narratives in the conceptualization and mythologization of this concept and presents his vision regarding its semantics and actualization in the process of maintaining independence, including within the EAEU.

Gulzina Daniyarova (Kyrgyzstan) presented the results of a study on the problems and prospects of labor migration from Kyrgyzstan to Russia. The author says that some labor migrants work in the shadow economy and even within the EAEU there are difficulties with legalizing their employment, which means significant vulnerability to the employer. The researcher conducted a sociological survey of migrant workers and several interviews with experts. Both the interviewed migrants and experts said that after Kyrgyzstan's accession to the EAEU, the regime of stay in Russia had been streamlined and that there were more employment opportunities for migrants. The program participant puts forward recommendations aimed at reducing the number of unregistered migrants and protecting their rights.

On April 29, a round table "Russia and the South Caucasus in the context of the development of a new world order" was held. The discussion was organized by Ruben Elamiryan, Acting Head of the Department of World Politics and International Relations, the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University (Armenia); the meeting was moderated by Adlan Margoev, Research Fellow of the Centre of Middle East and Africa Studies. The discussion was also attended by Nino Skvortsova, a PhD student at the Department of Political Analysis and Administration, RUDN University (Georgia), and Hrant Mikaelian, Senior Researcher at the Caucasus Institute (Armenia).

Invited foreign experts included Mariam Margaryan, Head of the Chair of Political Management and Political Analysis, the Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia, and Vardan Atoyan, Head of the Social Sciences Department, the Armenian State University of Economics.

Nino Skvortsova (Georgia) presented her scientific research on "Repertoire of political struggle in Georgia in 1991-2021." She analyzed literature on democratization in Georgia and identified the existing patterns in the scientific and political definition of "democratization." The existing clusters of studies on the democratization in Georgia demonstrate a certain tendency to use indexes, databases and quantitative indicators as criteria. The author says that there is much less high-quality data about social transformations over a long period of time in connection with socio-political processes in Georgian society. As part of the study, the researcher proposes a qualitatively new approach to measuring democratization in Georgia by defining the repertoire of political struggle and comparing over different periods of time. In her opinion, a method of studying democratization tested in practice will help expand the geography of research and compare the repertoires of political struggle in other post-Soviet countries.

Over the course of the fellowship, Hrant Mikaelian (Armenia) developed a system for assessing the political and economic transformation of post-Soviet countries from the point of view of their statehood. The author conducted a review of previous studies and defined the concepts of "state," "statehood" and "nationhood." The researcher identified external and internal factors of the formation and development of post-Soviet states. In his opinion, the factor of physical security plays an important role in both cases. Hrant Mikaelian says that in the future the ability of a state to provide public goods and reproduce human capital will become almost as important. Indirectly, it can be measured through trends in demography, economics and other areas. The author uses all these indicators to assess the objective and subjective progress in the development of each of the post-Soviet countries.

Over the course of the fellowship, Ruben Elamiryan (Armenia) explored goals and interests of Russia and countries in the South Caucasus, as well as scenarios for the development of their relations in a changing world order. The author desccribes the parameters of the transformation of the world order and their impact on Russia's priorities and interests in the South Caucasus. As part of the research, he reviews the strategic foundations of Russian foreign policy in the South Caucasus, conducts a discourse analysis of the role and place of Russia in the region, studies the economic aspects of cooperation and proposes four scenarios for Russia's presence in the South Caucasus. The researcher concludes that the South Caucasus is one of the priority regions for Russia, which is seen not as a separate unit, but as part of the post-Soviet space. In his opinion, the most likely scenario is Russia's strengthened position in the region, but the Ukrainian crisis may push Russia to a balancing scenario—finding a compromise with all the interested parties. Ruben Elamiryan believes that there are still many unknown variables that will depend on both "internal" and "external" players in the South Caucasus.

The fellowship program was housed by the MGIMO Institute for International Studies under the guidance of university academic advisors from March 21 to May 1. MGIMO University organized the fellowship program in cooperation with the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund and the Federal Agency for the CIS States Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation.

Institute for International Studies
ASEAN Centre