RUCARR – Russia and the Caucasus Regional Research

About the lab

The research platform ‘Russia and the Caucasus Regional Research (RUCARR), co-founded by professors and co-directors BO PETERSSON and KARINA VAMLING, is an intellectual hub for scholars at the Faculty of Culture and Society, Malmö University (Sweden). RUCARR has its research focus on political, social, cultural, economic and other relations of significance within and between Russia and the Caucasus, on the one hand, and with neighboring states, on the other. Areas of expertise include, but are not restricted to, political, social and cultural dynamics and history, nationalism, ethnic and national identity, security issues, civil society development, authoritarianism and post-authoritarian transition and transformations (

Featured research (20)

Putin’s fourth term as president (2018–2024) has involved new challenges for Russia’s hybrid regime. COVID-19 hit the Kremlin at a sensitive time, when the old institutional forces had been demounted and new arrangements, including extensive constitutional changes, had yet to become cemented. There is an emerging gulf between state rhetoric, PR events, and patriotic performances, on the one hand, and economic chaos, social disorder and dysfunctional state capacity, on the other, which is likely to reduce system legitimacy and cause increased reliance on repressive methods. This article examines Kremlin legitimation efforts across Beetham’s three dimensions: rules, beliefs, and actions. We argue that the regime’s legitimation efforts in 2020–21 have failed to reverse emerging cleavages in public opinion since 2018. Increased reliance on repression and manipulation in this period, combined with the contrast between regime promises and observable realities on the ground, speak not of strength, but of the Kremlin’s increased weakness and embattlement.
How did ethnic Azeris in the Marneuli, Bolnisi and Dmanisi districts, located inside Georgia but bordering Azerbaijan, react to the reorganisation of political space along national lines after the Soviet Union’s dissolution? ‘Beached’ in foreign states bent on nationalising their domains, minorities throughout Eurasia sometimes rejected and sometimes accepted their alien rulers. This essay examines reactions to this predicament among Georgia’s Azeris. Drawing on elite interviews and data from a matched-guise experiment, it concludes that locals have come to accept their host state after its state-building nationalism took an inclusive turn and the distinction between aliens and natives faded.
In the second half of the 1990s, the label “asymmetric” conflict rose to prominence among scholars and strategists, as a term for capturing the rising challenge that violent non-state actors posed to the liberal world order. However, the concept soon became a catch-phrase for a range of disparate phenomena, and other buzzwords arose to describe the threats of concern to decision-makers. Conceptual confusion beset the field. This article dissects the notion of asymmetric conflicts, and distinguishes between asymmetries involving differences in (1) status, (2) capabilities, or (3) strategies between belligerents. It argues that “asymmetric” conflicts can take numerous forms depending on the combination of differences present, and offers a blue-print for keeping track of the meaning of this concept in the hope of bringing greater precision to future debates.
The 2011 and 2015 reviews of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) has put a stronger focus on the target countries´selectivecountries´selective compliance as regards to EU norms. In existing literature on Europeanization, selective compliance has often been clarified by looking further into target countries´domesticcountries´domestic factors, such as the mismatch between domestic policies and EU norms, their geopolitical context or the nature of their political regimes, thus overshadowing the impact of EU´s complex institutional structure on rule transfer processes. Role theory has underlined role conflicts within the EU´s institutional structure but has, nonetheless, neglected to account for how the EU´s international role(s) has been contested between EU institutions, from within. This article argues that role theory needs to re-shift its focus on the political settings in which international organizations are embedded, by better integrating the bureaucratic politics´theoreticalpolitics´theoretical framework. This article maintains that the case of intra-role conflicts between the EU´s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia and other EU bureaucratic agencies, and their effects on Georgia´s selective compliance, is a promising research avenue for providing a better understanding on how rule transfer processes work.

Lab head

Karina Vamling
  • Department of Global Political Studies (GPS)
About Karina Vamling
  • In my research I have approached linguistic diversity from different perspectives: how human languages may vary (the typological perspective) and what linguistic diversity means to society and the individual (the sociolinguistic perspective). In both cases I have focused mainly on data from Europe’s linguistically most diverse region: the Caucasus. In this region I have mainly worked on the South-Caucasian languages and on Circassian in Northwest Caucasus. Research on the latter ethnolinguistic

Members (5)

Bo Petersson
  • Malmö University
Christofer Berglund
  • Malmö University
Manana Kobaidze
  • Malmö University
Michel Anderlini
  • Malmö University
Nick Baigent
  • Malmö University
Revaz Tchantouria
Revaz Tchantouria
  • Not confirmed yet