URIS promotes the national and international networks of scholarly Ukraine-related projects at Swiss universities.

The URIS website presents an overview of ongoing Ukraine research projects in the humanities, cultural studies and social sciences. An electronic newsletter and our Social Media channels provide regular updates on new projects, news and academic events.

Projects in Switzerland

Directed by Ulrich Schmid and Carmen Scheide et al.
Center for Governance and Culture in Europe, Universität St. Gallen

Research team (led by dr.Ulrich Schmid and dr.Carmen Scheide) propose to continue the research on regionalism in Ukraine by using the concept of "contact zones" previously established by Mary Louise Pratt. The term refers to social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power. This concept can fruitfully be applied for the analysis of heterogeneous cultural and social phenomena such as Ukrainian regionalism. Ukrainian contact zones are not so much places of arrival and immigration, but rather places that historically were claimed by different nation states and empires. Ukrainian “contact zones” should therefore be described as dynamic cultural spaces. The project seeks to understand the many cultural layers present in individual biographies, educational canons or symbolic interpretations of a given territory.

Contact: /

Directed by Dr Maria Shagina
Fellow at the Center for Eastern European Studies (CEES)

Dr Maria Shagina specializes in European integration, post-Soviet democratisation and international sanctions. Her research project at CEES will focus on the West-Russia tensions since the Ukraine crisis and its implications for the Eurasian Economic Union. Her publications have appeared in the European Council on Foreign Relations, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Atlantic Council, New Eastern Europe, and Global Risk Insights.

For more information about Maria Shagina, who will be a research fellow at the University of Zurich until June 2020, see her portrait.

Directed by Dr Boris Belge
SNSF Ambizione funding, University of Basel

The project "Managing Trade: Infrastructure and Economic Practices in the Port of Odessa (1794–1905)" explores the origins of the intense competition for trade by focusing on the Russian Empire, which in the nineteenth century literally fed the world: Its principal port, Odessa, enabled Russia to serve as the biggest global exporter of wheat, which propelled it to a dominant economic and political status within the Russian Empire, while the city and port of Odessa itself evolved into a hub of global communication and trade. The attention given to the history of the city by scholars in the field stands in sharp contrast to the virtual neglect of the port’s history.

Directed by Ekaterina Emeliantseva Koller
University of Zurich

The project reconsiders the dynamics of late Soviet society for the first time, different to previous and current research, by looking at the developments outside the cities – in the rural Soviet Union. Dynamics of rural society during the last Soviet decades have hitherto been largely neglected, yet they are crucial for understanding the late Soviet Union. Instead of reproducing the traditional narrative of decline, the project proposes a new conceptualisation of the late Soviet village as a specific modus of entanglement between city and village and as a product of simultaneous “ruralisation” of urban life styles and “urbanisation” of rural life styles.

Collaborators of the project are: Anna Sokolova // Tatiana Voronina // Andrea Keller

Directed by Julia Richers
Full Professor for Modern General and Eastern European History, University of Bern

Directed by Dr Oleksandr Moskalenko
Institute for European Global Studies, University of Basel

The current International fellow of the Institute for European Global Studies (EIB) in Basel Dr Oleksandr Moskalenko is a post-doc researcher focusing on the study of the European Union’s relations with its Eastern Neighbours. In his research project «The EU Environmental Conditionality for the Association Agreements with Its Neighbours» he focuses on the EU relations with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia with a special focus on environmental policies. For more information about Dr Oleksandr Moskalenko see his portrait.

Directed by Carmen Scheide
History Department, University of Bern

This interdisciplinary project investigates the role of civil society in transitional justice, peacebuilding and reconciliation in the areas of history and memory in Georgia, North Caucasus/Chechnya and Ukraine. Collaborators of the project are Cécile Druey Schwab, Oksana Myshlovska and a PhD candidate tba.

Abstract on the Research Database of the Swiss National Science Foundation

Directed by Tornike Metreveli
School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of St. Gallen

Directed by Burmester, Isabell
Global Studies Institute, Université de Genève, Politikwissenschaften

Directed by Chebotarov, Oleksii
School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Universität St. Gallen

Directed by Vita Susak
Bern, Verein „memoriart33–45“

Directed by Yuliya Mayilo
Université de Lausanne, Sprachwissenschaft

Directed by Fabian Baumann
Departement Geschichte, Universität Basel

The development of Russian and Ukrainian nationalism has always been closely intertwined. Fabian Baumann's research project analyses the emergence of the conflict between these two political movements, which started out in close contact, but grew increasingly antagonistic. The history of the Shul’gin/Shul’hyn family, a dynasty of Kiev journalists and politicians, is to serve as the background to a histoire croisée of Russian and Ukrainian nationalism. Several members of this family participated in the debates on the Russian and Ukrainian nation between the 1860s and the Russian civil war. They thus helped form the emerging nationalist ideologies and organisations on both sides.

By tracking the involvement of the Shul’gins/Shul’hyns in the development of national ideologies and the activities of nationalist organisations, Fabian Baumann shall be able to develop a microhistorical analysis of the crucial phases in the emerging conflict between Russian and Ukrainian nationalism: Their common roots in the Kiev intelligentsia of the 1860s, their political rivalry in the later 19th century, their entry into the era of mass politics after 1905, and finally their open confrontation in revolution and civil war.


Directed by Korine Amacher, Andriy Portnov, Eric Aunoble, Nataliya Borys
Université de Genève, histoire

Recent events show how Russia, Ukraine and Poland are at odds over the history they share. These three Eastern European powers have defined themselves through conflict, among other things. Soviet power manifested itself in 1918–1920 with the conquest of Ukraine and the fight against the Polish state, and in 1939–1940 with the seizure of Ukrainian lands at the expense of Poland. The post-war period saw the USSR stifle Ukrainian and Polish national aspirations. Conversely, Poland and Ukraine gained or reaffirmed their independence through the disintegration of the Russian and then Soviet empires. These three countries are linked by a common history, but separated by antagonistic "national romances". The centuries-old conflicts that form the fabric of this history came to the fore with the fall of communism in the form of memory conflicts, the impact of which is still visible, as the recent Ukrainian crisis shows.


For more information see the International Conference, held in Geneva, December 2018 and the project abstract on the Research Database of the Swiss National Science Foundation

Directed by Stephan Rindlisbacher
Europa Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)

After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, armed conflicts flared up in the South Caucasus, then also in Central Asia, and most recently between Russia and Ukraine over a revision of the borders drawn during the Soviet era. The argument was also put forward that these Soviet border demarcations were arbitrary. The socio-political goal of the research project is to work out the compromise character of almost all Soviet border demarcations and at the same time to improve the historical understanding of the current territorial conflicts in the border regions concerned.

University of St. Gallen

Between 2012 and 2015, more than two dozen scholars from different disciplinary fields and continents conducted scholarly work to further advance the study of regionalism in Ukraine by applying new methodological and theoretical lenses. The project “Region, Nation and Beyond: A Transcultural and Interdisciplinary Reconceptualization of Ukraine” was hosted by the University of St. Gallen and co-funded by Swiss and German science foundations. It resulted in multiple publications, including the volume “Regionalism without Regions: Reconceptualizing Ukraine’s Heterogeneity”, summarizing the core findings of the project, by the Central European University Press in August 2019.

Directed by Nataliya Kibita
Université de Genève, histoire

Directed by Tatjana Hofmann
Universität Zürich, Literaturwissenschaft

Directed by Anastasia Tserkovnyuk
Universität St. Gallen, Politikwissenschaft

Directed by Oksana Myshlovska
Global Studies Institute, University of Geneva

Directed by Olha Mykytyn-Gazziero
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

Directed by Daniel Weiss, Martina Berrocal, Elena Kutos, Bartholomäus Nowak, Larissa Zavgorodnia
University of Zurich, Sprachwissenschaft

Directed by Ulrich Schmid, Carmen Scheide
Center for Governance and Culture in Europe, University of St. Gallen

Directed by Viola Pokriefke
School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of St. Gallen

Directed by Maria Shagina
University of Lucerne, Political Science

Directed by Oleksandra Kunovska Mondoux
University of Fribourg, History

Directed by Stefan Dyroff
University of Berne, History

Directed by Natalya Momot
University of Basel, Cultural Studies

About URIS

Learn more about the objectives, the vision and the funding of the initiative “Ukrainian Research in Switzerland”.

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The Fellowship Program of URIS is a core component of the initiative.

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