The crisis in Ukraine, Finlandization and International Relations research methods were on the agenda of the Fourth Finnish-Russian Cross-Border International Relations (CBIR) Summer School, which took place in Petrozavodsk, the Republic of Karelia, in early May 2016.
The summer school was organized in cooperation by the University of Tampere, the St. Petersburg State University and the Petrozavodsk State University. The school received additional financial support from FIRST – the Finnish-Russian Student and Teacher Exchange Programme. Among the 20 student participants were represented six nationalities: Estonia, Finland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan and Russia.
During the summer school students were offered a range of exciting courses, seminars, and workshops. They received in-depth instruction in International Relations research methodology and obtained comments on their master’s thesis plans from academic experts as well as student colleagues. The discussed research topics ranged from the role of indigenous peoples in Arctic politics to the privatization of war in Sweden, from the True Finns’ immigration policies to the EU’s macro-regional strategies and from the identity of Germany’s Russian diaspora to perceptions of the EU and Eurasian Union in Kazakhstan.
At the lectures on international relations between Finland, Russia and the European Union, the students discussed and debated issues such as Finlandization, the EU’s sanctions toward Russia and prospects of Finland’s Nato membership. In small groups, they also created scenarios for the future of Finnish-Russian relations in 2025.
At the end of the summer school, the students took part in a foreign policy simulation game. The topic of the game was the crisis in Ukraine, and the students were tasked to find a solution to it. Each participant was assigned a specific role to play in the peace process: one was elected as the President of the Russian Federation while the others were exploring the process as diplomats, ministers, journalists and representatives of human rights organizations or businesses