Politics in Hard Times: New Modes of Securing Political Support in Russia

The title of the project is borrowed from Peter Gourevitch's famous book about policy responces to economic shocks in the United States, the United Kingdome,  France, Germany, and Sweden. As Russia experiences the economic hardships after 2014, this projects aims at exploring the crisis' impact on political support of the state institutions. It addresses the following questions: how do Russian attribute the responsibility for the economic hardships? What kind of frames do they use to make judgments about who's responsible for the crisis? And how does the president managed to avoid much of the blame so far? For this project, in June 2016 we conducted a self-administered survey of students in Perm, Moscow, and Saint-Petersburg, complemented by national representative opinion poll with an embedded survey experiment, followed by series of focus groups in Summer 2017. The project is funded by Russian Scientific Foundation for Humanities (№ 16-33-01049 а2).

Analytical report #1
Analytical report #2

Mobile and material aspects of ‘traditional’ Islam in the south of Perm region

In this research project, the focus lies on the peripheral area in the south of Perm region, far from the urban centres of Muslim learning, such as Kazan, Ufa and Orenburg. The Tatar and Bashkir villages that are situated in proximity to the borders with Bashkortostan and Udmurtia experience an influx of Muslim knowledge and practice from the above-mentioned urban centres and places far beyond the borders of the Russian state on the Arabian Peninsula, in Western Asia and Northern Africa. At times, they also claim a Muslim tradition of their own. The question what “traditional” Islam is supposed to be and how it must be differentiated from a “non-traditional” and “foreign” Islam is currently widely discussed among state representatives, religious experts and common believers in Russia. In the framework of the research project, the aim is to figure out how conceptualisations look “on the ground”. How are certain ideas carried by people into the area or travel in the form of books, brochures, clothing and objects of everyday religious practice or hygiene? How do these ideas materialise in the form of new mosques, educational institutions, lifestyles, artistic products and even food? We have to assume that by resorting to specific practices and making use of a range of objects of religious significance, people are involved in the process of creating Muslim space and of reinventing themselves as followers of “traditional” Islam. Drawing upon the particular case of “traditional” Islam in the south of Perm region, the project is supposed to make a contribution to the anthropological discourse about the mobility and materiality of religion.

Achieving a Career, Becoming a Master. Aspirations in the Lives of Young Uzbek Men.

“Embodying Moral Superiority: The Master-Apprentice Relationship and National Cultural Heritage in Uzbekistan”.

Book discussion: Sergei Abashin, “Soviet Kishlak: Between Colonialism and Modernization”.


Contentious Politics in Russia

Andrei Semenov is a principal investigator of the "Contentious Politics in Russia" project that aims at compiling the catalogue of ptotest events in Russia in 2012-2014. Based on the "protest event analysis" methodology, the project documents the scope of mobilization across Russian regions. The team of coders search for the relevant media reports in Integrum database and extract the information regarding the date, place, duration, organizers, claims, targets, and repertoire of the events alongisde a number of other variables.

From economic crisis to political? Dynamics of contention in Russian Regions (2008-2012)


Local Executives Database

The project “Local Executives Database” was launched in spring 2016.  At the first stage of the project, four regions were included in the analysis: Perm Territory, Chelyabinsk Region, the Udmurtian Republic and the Republic of Bashkortostan. At the next stage, the database was expanded to include data on Kurgan Region and the Republic of Tatarstan. Currently, the database contains information about more than 800 heads of municipal governments, who occupied their positions in between 2000 and 2016. The profiles contain information mainly about the professional and socio-demographic characteristics of local political elites, such as education, work experience, party affiliation and professional trajectory after resignation from the post of head of the municipality.

Sources used to collect information for the database are official websites of the municipal districts, election commissions, statistic services and the media.  

The database is used for research on the relationship between models of recruitment of local political elites and electoral outcomes. In the next instance, the project is supposed to expand to cases for analysis and to contribute to the research field with questions about the influence of particular characteristics of local elites on the quality of management, economic efficiency and the development of territories.

Project presentations:

"After the mayor, only God speaks": an analysis of the corps of the heads of municipalities in the regions of the Volga and the Middle Urals. Open seminar of CCHPS, Perm, 20 November 2016.

Gilev A., Semenov A., Shevtsova I. "Political machines" and their "drivers": electoral administration at the local level. // Politiya. No. 3. 2017. P. 62-80. (in Russian). Access: 

Shkel S.N. Recruitment of Local Elites in Conditions of Subnational Authoritarianism // Political Science. №4. 2017. P. 137-160. (in Russian). Access: 


Shifting paradigms: towards participatory and effective urban planning in Germany, Russia and Ukraine (the TRIPAR Project)

The project funded by Volkswagen Foundation (VolkswagenStiftung) is a cooperation of three institutions: Institute for Regional Geography (Leipzig, Germany), Center for Comparative History and Politics at Perm State University (Russia), and Society of Ukrainian Researcher (Ukraine). Through the analysis of urban conflicts' occurred in three cities (Bonn, Vinniytsia, Perm) the project is aimed at revealing the changing role of civic participation in urban planning process. A project timespan is November 2016 – November 2018.

 About the TRIPAR Project:

Presentations and publication:

Urban Planning in post-Soviet Context: Perm as a Case. Presentation at the workshop “Trilateral partnership”, Aachen University, Germany, 19-22nd November, 2016.

Shevtsova I., Bederson V. «Authorities’ point of view is to keep a silence»: interaction of initiative groups and local authorities in the urban planning process // Political Science (RU). 2017. № 4.



Maria Romashova and Alisa Klots project is a study of Soviet senior citizens who participated in public organizations in the 1960s and 1980s. We became interested in this topic when we found several personal archival collections in the State Archive of Perm Krai. We saw that those collections were compiled in the 1960s and 1970s, before the archival revolution of 1991. Individuals personally selected, prepared and handed their documents over to the archive. These individuals neither had official awards nor occupied high social positions. These were “common” people rather than outstanding individuals. In our research we would like to demonstrate how creating a personal archival collection became a meaningful form of public engagement for some senior citizens of that period and how they constructed the identity of their generation through their archives. We also examine socio-cultural and political conventions that were behind the idea to commit one’s documents to a state archive.