Events & Seminars 2022

The CEES Seminar Series is supported by the MacFie Bequest, named after Professor Alec MacFie, Adam Smith Professor of Political Economy at the University from 1945 to 1958. 

Enquiries: Dr Huseyn Aliyev 


Wednesday 25 May, 16:00-17:30

Dr Matthew Blackburn

Adam Smith building, Room 916

The Transformation of Russia’s Political System 2012-2022: Structures and Elites; Identity Politics and Foreign Relations

The decision to invade Ukraine not only represents the crossing of a deadly Rubicon; it is tempting to see it as the culmination of ten years of political transformation in Russia, a decade marked by political restructuring, elite reconfiguration and ideological hardening. This lecture unpacks the key elements in the radicalisation of the Kremlin by examining: (1) policies and reforms; (2) elites and institutions; (3) ideological actors and identity politics. The point of departure is 2011-12, when key developments were set in motion. Political transformation is interpreted in relation to external dynamics (geopolitics and foreign relations) alongside internal factors (regime stability and legitimacy) related to Russia. The process of transformation is examined across two periods: the post-Crimean consensus (2014-2018) and Putin’s third term (2018-2022). Dr Blackburn argues that Russia remains an electoral authoritarian system (albeit in a securitised ‘emergency’ mode) and represents a certain type of Limited Access Order (North et al 2012). 


Tuesday 22 March, 16:00-17:30

Jo and Mike Seaman

Adam Smith building, Room 916

Book presentation: "Roses Down the Barrel of a Gun, Georgia: Love and Revolution” by Jo Seaman

Jo Seaman (former British Council Director to Georgia) will give an introduction to the book, make personal reflections on the events leading to Georgia’s Rose Revolution of 2003 and on the importance of soft diplomacy from the perspective of a practitioner.  Her husband, Mike Seaman (former Senior Political Officer at the British Embassy in Georgia), will give observations on political events.


Wednesday 2 March, 16:00-17:00

Joseph A. Smith

Adam Smith building, room 711 

Staying Power: Accounting for the Failure of New Political Movements in Georgia 

It has been nearly a decade since the peaceful, democratic transfer of power that brought the Georgian Dream party into government in Tbilisi. In this time, a number of colourful and promising new movements have entered the Georgian political party system, none of which have so far managed to create a serious challenge to the ruling party. This talk looks at the typology of party formation and development in the post-Soviet space, as well as the peculiarities of Georgia's recent political history in order to account for the ephemerality of new political movements within the Georgian party system. The speaker, Joseph Alexander Smith, ran as an independent candidate in Municipal Elections in Tbilisi in 2017, and was a founding member of the new political party 'Lelo - For Georgia', before leaving in 2020.  


Wednesday 23 February, 16:00-17:00 on Zoom

Dr Ivana Bajic-Hajdukovic, Independent researcher/founder of PhD Mentoring Plus

“Can You Run Away From Sorrow?”: Mothers Left Behind in 1990s Belgrade

Meeting Recording:

Access Passcode: 64%K8+dy

The focus of the book “Can You Run Away From Sorrow?” is on elderly mothers whose adult children had left Belgrade because of the war in the first half of the 1990s. It documents mothers’ sacrifices and gives them a voice to articulate their isolation, loneliness and grief for the loss of their children. Migration was a way into a better life for the children, but it was also an end of motherhood for many a mother who couldn’t see her son or daughter for years. “Can You Run Away From Sorrow?" is a testament to mothers' selflessness—letting their children go even when they painfully missed them and needed them. As such, this book transcends geographical and disciplinary boundaries. It reaches out on a human level to explore what it means to be a mother in a world that is simultaneously more connected and yet more fragmented than ever.


Wednesday 19 January, 15:00-16:00 on Zoom

Ryhor Nizhnikau, Finnish Institute of International Affairs

"Catch-2020? Explaining Russia’s policy towards Belarus after the Revolution"

What explains Russia’s Belarus policy? The Belarusian Revolution and Russia’s post-revolutionary intervention raised questions about Russia-Belarus relations and Russia’s post-Soviet policy. Following the domestic crisis, Moscow was widely expected to use a momentum to increase its political and economic positions in the country, replace Lukashenko or even incorporate the country. In contrast, Kremlin’s unconditional support has been instrumental for the preservation of the incumbent regime. 

This talk will systematically look at the Russia’s Belarus policy and explain the evolution of Moscow’s approach to Belarus as well as the post-Soviet space in general. It will argue that Russia’s response to the Belarusian crisis is both rational and value-driven and is primarily embedded in the existing model of the Belarus-Russia relations. As long as the current model satisfies Russian interests and values, Russia’s policy would maintain the status quo unless it would be beyond Russia’s capacity.

Watch the recording on Youtube

Research Events

Conference of Political Historians of the Post-War Soviet Union

Wednesday 8 – Friday 10 June 2022

Room 253, Gilbert Scott Building, University Cloisters

Conference Organiser – Dr. Michael Loader, CEES

Commentary by Professor Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Michigan

This conference of Political Historians of the Post-War Soviet Union is the first-ever gathering of its kind, bringing together the world’s leading scholars in Soviet political history to the University of Glasgow. Twenty-three speakers will present their cutting-edge research on the political history of the USSR. Several papers address aspects of how Soviet politics is connected to Russia’s War on Ukraine. The aim is to form a research network, foster collaboration, and discuss ways of promoting entry into the field. All experience levels are represented including PhD students, early career scholars and distinguished professors


Webinar: Gaelic and Sámi: Sharing Knowledge on Promotion of Indigenous Languages

Wednesday 16 February 2022, 10.30-13:00

This is the first of two webinars organised as part of the project Gaelic and Sámi: Promoting Mutual Learning in the Protection of Indigenous Languages, conducted in partnership with Várdduo Centre for Sámi Research, Umeå University, Sweden.

The past three decades have seen significant developments in policies and practices geared to promotion of the Gaelic and Sámi languages. The year 2022 also marks 30 years since the drafting of the Council of Europe European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which (since 2000 in Sweden and 2001 in Scotland) provides a common framework committing signatory governments to resolute action in this field.

This seminar will encourage comparative reflection on these developments, by addressing the following questions: what have been the main achievements relating to Gaelic and Sámi language promotion and what kinds of cultural, social, and economic added value have been derived from this? What are the most pressing issues and challenges in the two language contexts at the present time, and how might these be addressed? How effectively do the respective institutional frameworks and relevant bodies (Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Sámediggi) function in terms of promoting the languages and giving voice to the two linguistic communities?


Rob Dunbar, Professor, Chair of Celtic, University of Edinburgh.

Anders Östergren Njajta, Language Consultant, Sámediggi.

Johan Sandberg McGuinne, Teacher in Sámi and English, Lycksele kommun.

Ulla-Karin Sarri, Chair of the Sámi Language Committee (Sámi Parliament of Sweden)

Jim Whannel, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Craig Willis, Researcher, European Centre for Minority Issues, Flensburg


10.30-11.30: Opening statements by panellists and initial Q&A

11.30-11.45: Break

11.45-13.00: Roundtable discussion (panellists and online participants)

This webinar will be followed by a second one on Thursday 3 March, 'Gaelic and Sámi: Digital Aspects of Indigenous Languages Learning' (details coming soon). 

These events form part of a wider project comparing current institutional arrangements for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic and Sámi cultures, with a focus on languages. They will assess the suitability of these arrangements in relation to challenges faced by speakers of these Indigenous languages and discuss possible new or supplementary approaches that could help to realise the potential cultural, social, and economic added value of linguistic diversity.

The project as a whole is supported by the Scottish Government Arctic Connections Fund 2021-22 and arises out of the activity of the COST Action European Non-Territorial Autonomy Network (ENTAN – It seeks to bring together academic experts and practitioners from Scotland, Sápmi, Sweden and beyond to boost public awareness and support knowledge exchange and mutual learning on best-practices to promote Indigenous-languages.