CREECA welcomes 2021-22 Wisconsin Russia Project postdoctoral scholars

In fall 2020, the Wisconsin Russia Project received a 24-month grant renewal of $700,000 from Carnegie Corporation of New York to promote social science research and training on contemporary Russia. UW-Madison was one of three U.S. universities awarded this competitive grant as part of Carnegie Corporation’s continued commitment to expand and enrich Russia area studies. 

As one activity in this third round of generous support, CREECA is hosting three outstanding postdoctoral researchers for the current academic year.  

“The last several years have presented a number of challenges for social scientists studying Russia, like COVID-19 and travel restrictions, growing tensions between the U.S. and Russia, and domestic political developments in both countries,” said Project Director and Conway-Bascom Professor of Sociology Theodore Gerber.    

“Our visitors deserve special credit for negotiating the challenges of obtaining visas, planning their trips, and finding their way to Madison this semester.” Gerber said. “They are an impressive group. Thanks to their fortitude and perseverance, the Wisconsin Russia Project community has been thriving.”  

Wisconsin Russia Project scholars participate in the Project’s December 6 Salon – a regular opportunity to receive and gain feedback on ongoing writing and research projects.

Meet this new cohort of postdoctoral social scientists and read about their research trajectories below. A warm welcome to these three to the UW-Madison campus!  

Marat Iliyasov 

Marat Iliyasov 
Iliyasov in Malta.

Marat Iliyasov is originally from Chechnya and lived and studied in Europe for many years. Iliyasov is a graduate of Vilnius University, where he obtained his MA in International Relations, and his second MA in Caucasus Studies comes from Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia. He also holds a PhD from the School of International Relations of the University of St Andrews (Scotland), where he collaborates with the Department of the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucasus.   

Iliyasov’s current work is situated at the crossroads of several disciplines: International Relations, Ethnography, and Political Demography. He has authored several publications on the evolution of migrants’ identity, demographic trends in conflict and post-conflict societies, self-legitimation of authoritarian governments, and the politics of memory in autocracies, which he will continue to research at UW-Madison. Iliyasov looks forward to meeting colleagues while at UW-Madison who are likewise interested in these themes.   

Yulia Khalikova 

Yulia Khalikova 
Khalikova inside the Kazan Kremlin in April 2021.

Yulia Khalikova will receive a PhD in political science at the University of Bremen in December 2021. She holds a MA in Sociology (2017) and a Diploma in Law (2015) from the Higher School of Economics, Moscow. During her studies, she was a visiting student at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Leuven, Belgium, New University of Lisbon, and the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development in Moscow.  

Khalikova’s primary research focuses on the role of law and judicial institutions in authoritarian regimes with an application to Russia. Within this paradigm, she addresses such topics as judicial behavior and dissenting opinions at the Russian Constitutional Court, self-legitimacy of lawyers, and citations to international law by domestic courts. Her collaborative projects explore how autocrats legitimize their rule by abusing international concepts and how the prospects of political change influence individual behavior in Russia.  

Part of her dissertation research received a best paper award for junior researchers organized by the Standing Group on Law & Courts at the 2021 European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR). An earlier draft of this paper was presented at the Wisconsin Russia Project Virtual Young Scholars Conference in January 2021.   

Iana Nakhimova 

Nakhimova in St. Petersburg.

Iana Nakhimova hails from Tyumen, Russia, where she earned a PhD in sociology from Tyumen State University and taught courses in research methods, Russia and foreign marketing, and corporate social responsibility. Her research focuses on the connection between youth behavior and the social environment in Russia by analyzing a range of data sources such as documents, photographs, statistics, surveys, detailed interviews, expert interviews, and focus groups. Previously, she has examined anti-drug policies of different countries and compared the social attitudes of youth groups with and without experience using drugs. 

At UW-Madison, Nakhimova is developing her project, “Self-Preservation Behavior among Young People in Russia,” a timely study, given the global health emergency in the last year and a half. In addition, Nakhimova looks forward to exchanging ideas with other scholars and learning to carry out sociological research using the field’s latest methodological and analytical approaches. In addition to her scholarship, Nakhimova is also the founder of an innovative fitness school with a holistic approach to youth development, Body Mind.

Iliyasov, Khalikova, and Nakhimova are scheduled to give in-person public lectures for the CREECA Lecture Series in spring 2022. Additionally, in January 2022, four advanced graduate students from Russia are slated to arrive in Madison to participate in the Wisconsin Russia Project as spring 2022 pre-doctoral fellows. 

Written by Ryan Goble | Communications Project Assistant | CREECA