Events & seminars 2020
Enquiries: Dr Huseyn Aliyev , +44 (0)141 330 5585
Wednesday, March 18th
3pm-5pm, Room 915, Adam Smith bld.
Forty years of struggle: Russia, civil society, the Council of Europe, and human rights
Prof Bill Bowring, School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London
This presentation will be somewhat autobiographical, starting in 1983, and the Russian civil society of the 1980s. I focus on two prominent figures, both still active, Sergei Kovalyov (b.1930) and Lev Ponomaryov (b.1941). They founded “Memorial” in 1988. Following Russia’s membership of the Council of Europe in 1996 and ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights in 1998, Putin’s launching of the Second Chechen War in 1999 gave the impetus for a partnership with “Memorial”, €1 million from the EC, and European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), taking cases to Strasbourg to the present day. The Kremlin’s “orange paranoia” has led to the “Foreign Agents Law” and a crackdown on civil society, including “Memorial”. Ponomaryov’s “For Human Rights” has been liquidated by order of the Supreme Court. But this is not Stalin’s Russia, and each generation has produced inspiring activists. I am an optimist for Russia, and will explain why.
Bill Bowring is Professor of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London, where he teaches human rights, public international law and minority rights. He is also a practising barrister specialising in human rights, since 2000 representing applicants against Russia and other post-Soviet states at the European Court of Human Rights. He has taught at a number of Russian universities and has worked as a consultant with DFID, the EU, Council of Europe, and the OSCE's High Commissioner on National Minorities.
Wednesday, March 4th
3pm-5pm, Room 222, Kelvin bld.
Russia and the issue of contested borders in its neighbourhood
Dr Nino Kemoklidze, University of Birmingham
In light of the developments in the Balkans and the Caucasus over the past decade or so, and most recently in Ukraine, I discuss issues concerning self-determination and secession and their application in the cases of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in particular. Under what circumstances does a territorially concentrated group of people have a right to (justly) secede from an internationally recognised state? Do third parties have a moral duty to assist in such cases? Are there "good” and “bad” cases of secession and are there any means of distinguishing between them? These will be some of the questions that I aim to tackle in this talk.
Dr Nino Kemoklidze is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Birmingham’s Department of Political Science and International Studies. Her research concerns ethnic violence, identity politics, contested borders and state sovereignty. As part of her Leverhulme research project she compares cases of violent and non-violent secessionist movements across Europe and Eurasia. Her most recent paper on “Trade as a confidence-building measure in protracted conflicts” (co-authored with Stefan Wolff) has appeared in Eurasian Geography and Economics (2019).
Thursday, January 23rd
3pm-5pm, Room 236, Thomson bld.
Does Bosnia and Herzegovina still matter?
Prof Emir Filipovic, University of Sarajevo
The talk will focus on modern Bosnia and Herzegovina, its more recent past (including the breakup of Yugoslavia and the war of the 1990’s) and the country’s geopolitical position, as well as about the relationship between religious and national identity in a traditionally multi-ethnic society. The presentation will examine Bosnia and Herzegovina’s struggle to deal with the legacies of war and post-communist transition, and will explain why the country still exists even though it has been branded as the world’s most complicated system of government. This would be a good opportunity to pose the question whether Bosnia and Herzegovina can still be relevant as a paradigm for the political debates and discussions of our own time.