Results of the project
Results of the project ‘Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence: Building Knowledge and Expertise to Overcome the Current Crisis in EU-Russian Relations ’
EU-Russian relations (EURR) deteriorated throughout the project life, which created a negative climate for some activities but also provided the Centre with a chance to rethink the relations and their studies.
In teaching the Centre
- - produced and put online videos for 7 courses (over 100 lectures) on EU and EURR along with teaching materials to support independent learning;
- - organised winter schools to train professors, representatives of civil society and local authorities on EU and EURR;
- - perfected active learning methods through students’ debates on EURR and EU-modelling.
In research the Centre
- - investigated studies of EURR;
- - produced research notes (in Russian) and briefs (in English) for the website;
- - delivered a book and a special issue of Journal for Contemporary European Studies, 2019:1;
- - assembled a strong team of authors for the Handbook of EU-Russian Relations (contracted with Routledge);
- - organised three academic conferences;
- - strengthened the visibility of Russian scholars.
EU-Russian relations deteriorated throughout the project life, which created a negative climate for some activities. However, the crisis also provided the Centre with a chance to rethink the state of the relations, the nature of cross-language (Russian-English) academic dialogue on EU-Russian relations and their influence on the practice of the relations, as well as to reconsider the affects of the crisis on scholarship on both sides and reflect what epistemic community can do to improve the situation. That rationale drove our project, its events and deliverables.
Several channels were used to ensure visibility and to disseminate the results of the project.
- Website http://euactive.ru was our primary outlet for both teaching and research materials.
- Conferences, seminars and other academic events, organised by the Centre but also by other players provided the ground to present the results of both research and teaching and to draw attention to the Centre.
- Participation in various academic associations allowed presenting the results of our project to the wider professional community.
- Participation in various TV and radio programmes gave a chance to reach to the wider society.
- Modelling the EU exercise was a wonderful chance to reach to school pupils.
- Participation in expert groups on EU-Russian relations presented with the opportunity to channel some results of the research project into policy recommendations for the EU and Russia.
- Academic publications, prepared for the project but also in the context of other engagements were an additional means to reach to the wider academic community. A balance between English and Russian publications was carefully preserved.
Teaching Results – Academic Courses
The Centre produced and put online videos for 7 courses (over 100 lectures in Russian or English) on EU and EU-Russian relations along with teaching materials. These are the following courses:
- - History and Theory of European Integration;
- - EU Institutions and Decision-Making Process;
- - Main policy areas of the European Union;
- - EU-Russian Relations;
- - EU, Russia and Post-Soviet Space;
- - Lobbying for Public and Private Interests in the Institutions of the EU;
- - Current Issues of the CFSP in the EU.
These materials are to support independent learning but also teaching throughout Russia and abroad.
The structure of the material allows for different levels of studying (listening to lectures, checking the knowledge through questions, deepening of the knowledge through additional literature, cited for the topics in question).
Courses on European integration are mostly in Russian whereas courses on EU-Russian relations are in English.
Teaching Results - Winter Schools
The Centre organised winter schools (one every year of the project, three in total) to train on EU and EU-Russian relations university professors, but also researchers, representatives of civil society and local authorities.
The schools were initially conceived for university professors but the audience was enlarged to bring those who showed strong interest in relevant expertise (in particular, NGOs, business representatives but also local authorities). The schools involved both participants from St. Petersburg and from other regions of Russia.
The programme of the schools included the most acute aspects of contemporary EU-Russian relations (ranging from economic crisis through peace-keeping in Ukraine and relations in shared neighbourhood to cyber-security). In doing that we did our best to equally present the views of both sides.
Lectures were mostly given by the members of the Centre and were a combination of lecturing, discussion and practical assignments.
Teaching Results – Modelling the EU
The Centre promotes active learning techniques in its teaching activities. One of the key ways of doing it is through various simulation games, of which Model EU is the main. Every year of the project in March this massive simulation game of how various EU institutions work was arranged by the Centre.
The topics were carefully selected every year to reflect the urgent issues of European integration (EU-Russian relations were omitted) but also issues of interests to students.
The game involved annually around 200 students of various levels but also some school pupils, mainly from St. Petersburg but also from other regions of Russia.
The game allowed for mastering the knowledge about the EU and its current policy issues but also skills of presentation, negotiations, search for compromise as well as of finding information and its critical assessment. These are important educational tasks to promote active citizenship in the long-run.
Teaching Results - Students" Debates
The Centre promotes active learning techniques but also socialisation of Russian and non-Russian scholars of different levels.
One way of doing that was to organise students" debates on issues of EU-Russian relations.
Debates brought together Russian students (mainly from the MA on European studies) and foreign students (from various English-language MA programmes as well as exchange students).
Initially debates were not structured. However as the time went on it was decided to structure them on the basis of the K. Popper method to limit time for the exchange of statements and answering questions as well as to make the structure of debates more rigid and to avoid vicious circles of mutual accusation.
In wider terms debates fostered increased dialogue and socialisation between Russian and non-Russian students, leading them to better understanding the arguments and constraints of the other side and to a more creative search of mutually acceptable solutions.
Research - project
The goal of the research project was to examine the ways EU-Russian relations are studied in Russian and foreign languages. Language became a frontier because many scholars are still constrained by it but also because journals in English and Russian put forward different requirements and also increasingly adopt strategies of self-censorship.
The Centre examined key publications in 1992-2018, these are academic books and articles. The study revealed limited academic dialogue on various issues, difference in theoretical and methodological approaches, and the inability of scholars to provide shared categories for analysis, acceptable for Russian and the EU’s political and academic circles.
Primary research was presented in the form of research notes (in Russian). They have rich bibliography and served to prepare Russian-speaking audience to conferences. Research briefs (in English) were published after the conferences. These publications are available at the website.
Research - two major academic conferences and one seminar
The Centre arranged three major academic events in St. Petersburg. 1. June 2016 - two-day conference on issues that are studied in EU-Russian relations in Russia and outside of Russia; 2. June 2017 - two-day conference on theories and methods used in Russia and outside of Russia to study EU-Russian relations. 3. October 2017 - one-day seminar on resilience. This last event was not initially planned but the necessity arouse following the publication of the EU"s Global Strategy in 2016, which made resilience one of its key components. The programmes of the events are available at the website of the Centre. The working language of the events was English, which enabled communication (but also limited participation of some Russian researchers, unfortunately). All events stroke an even representation of Russian and non-Russian researchers but also looked for a proper gender balance. The results of the events are presented in the publication of the Centre.
Research – book – Romanova, T., ed. Obzor Issledovaniy Otnoshenii Rossii i Evrozouza V Nashei Strane i Za Rubezhom
The book - Romanova, T., ed. Obzor Issledovaniy Otnoshenii Rossii i Evrosouza V Nashei Strane i Za Rubezhom [Review of Studies of EU-Russian Relations in Russia and Abroad]. Saint-Petersburg: Nestor, 2018 - is the main Russian-language result of the project.
Its 41 chapters describe main issues of the research in Russian (14 chapters) and in English (14 chapters) as well as the difference in applied theories and approaches (13 chapters).
The team of the Centre authored it.
The book is available for free download on the website of the Centre; it also makes use of the Russian system of obligatory circulation in major Russian libraries, which further enhances the dissemination of the results.
Publication of the book (rather than a journal) allowed countering the policy of avoiding special issues in major Russian academic journals as well as that of self-censorship, which is increasingly imposed upon themselves by many Russian journals due to the specificity of foreign policy agenda.
Research - special issue of "Journal of Contemporary European Studies", 2019:1
The special issue presents key results of the research project in English. 7 articles of the special issue cover a general overview with the search for an epistemic community (Romanova), political and security (Averre and Zaslavskaya), economic (Deak and Kuznetsov), internal security (Dekaltchuk and Khokhlova) and education (Deriglazova and Makinen) cooperation as well as interrelations in two regions (cross-border (Nechiporuk and DeBardeleben) and neighbourhood (Izotov).
This structure allowed for covering major issues of EU-Russian relations and bringing Russian and Western perspectives on various issues. It involved 3 out 4 project members.
Journal publication also capitalises the importance of publication in major Western academic journals, which at the same time allows for the fastest possible dissemination of the results.
We plan upon the publication to turn the issue into a book to widen the dissemination of the results but also to extend the shelf value of the publication.
Research - Handbook of EU-Russian Relations (to be published by Routledge in 2019)
Several reasons led to this publication. Firstly, there is a shortage of comprehensive studies of EU-Russian relations, which would present varying perspectives. Secondly, there is a demand for books, which could be a reference but that would also provide a starting point for students of different levels. Thirdly, the project allowed identifying experts capable of contributing to the project.
The Handbook is edited by a Russian (Tatiana Romanova) and EU (Maxine David) scholars and preserves a balance between Russian and Western contributors.
The structure of the book is the following:
Part 1. Evolving Relations (including history and actors)
Part 2. Theories, Methods and Learning
Part 3. Political and Security Relations
Part 3. Economic Relations
Part 4. Social Relations
Part 5. Regional Relations
Part 6 EU, Russia and Global Governance
About 40 chapters in total.
The contract for the Handbook was signed in 2017, delivery date - 2019.