Meet our new EurasiaLab Fellows and their Research Projects

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The “Eurasia Lab & Fellowship Program” of the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) called for appli­ca­tions of junior researchers working on Central Asia, the Southern Caucasus and Eastern Europe to present their research ideas for funding within the fellowship program. Until May 2021, the program seeks to support the top three most outstanding research projects with a one-time schol­arship of up to 9,000 euro, program and network events to integrate the researchers into IEP’s network and the involvement in the EurasiaLab’s podcast series.
Among all appli­cants, three research teams convinced us the most of their excel­lence and suitability to our fellowship program through their overall academic quality, outstanding research designs and topic proposals. Please find a short presen­tation of the teams and their research projects in the following. We wish all three selected research teams the best of success with the imple­men­tation of their projects. We are looking forward to our collab­o­ration during the upcoming months and the results of the projects.

The EurasiaLab Fellows

Azizjon Berdiqulov, Muslimbek Buriev and Sergey Marinin: “Civil Society and the COVID-19 Governance Crisis in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan”

The research project is aimed to identify and categorize the dynamics of civil society organi­za­tions’ (CSOs) activ­ities during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kyrgyzstan and Tajik­istan. Partic­u­larly, they will look at which roles CSOs assumed to assist local popula­tions throughout the crisis. The key purpose is to analyze and provide recom­men­da­tions on how local govern­ments and inter­na­tional organi­za­tions can integrate the strategies of non-state crisis-driven activism into their respective policies.

The team consists of three aspiring researchers who work in different spheres, but share a common academic background. Having run multiple research projects, they advanced both their research and project management skills. Closely cooper­ating with expert commu­nities, state and non-state actors, they gained solid expertise in analyzing the policies of Central Asia concerning civil society and democ­ra­ti­zation processes, human rights and political mobilization of minorities. They managed to build a diverse network, which they will use for the benefit of the project, especially in the context of Central Asia, where personal connec­tions play a decisive role in obtaining information.

Mihai-Razvan Corman, Eliana Coraci and Nicolas Heger: “EU external anti-corruption promotion. A case study on the Republic of Moldova”

The research project “EU external anti-corruption promotion. A case study on the Republic of Moldova” aims to identify the under­lying factors that favor EU anti-corruption policy, focusing on the EU’s legal compe­tences and instru­ments aimed at tackling corruption in Moldova. The project rests on the obser­vation that Moldova is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. EU anti-corruption promotion is of high policy-relevance for the future EU-Moldova relations and Moldova’s aspira­tions to become a European-style democracy with a functioning rule of law system and a free, peaceful and prosperous society.

Mihai-Razvan Corman is a PhD Researcher at Ghent University and an Independent Consultant for the European Commission and the Institute of European Democrats, a think tank funded by the European Parliament. Eliana Coraci is a researcher and analyst with expertise on disin­for­mation in the Eastern Partnership, currently working for NATO HQ in Brussels. Nicolas Heger is a Program Coordi­nator at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy (NaUKMA) and a consultant for GIZ Ukraine. Mihai, Eliana and Nicolas are members and research fellows of the Moldovan-German Forum, a Chisinau-based non-govern­mental organi­zation whose aim is to enhance the European integration process in Moldova.

Vasil Navumau and Olga Matveieva: “Prospects of Post-Authoritarian Transformation in Belarus: Tracing Civic and Political Initiatives for Democracy Promotion”

The project aims to trace civic initia­tives, emerged during the upsurge of the mass mobilization after the falsi­fi­cation of the presi­dential elections in Belarus in 2020. This period is charac­terized by trans­ferring from the previ­ously prior­i­tized strategy of ‘collective exit’ from the polit­i­cally-charged issues back to ‘collective voice’, or protesting against the author­ities. The project will analyze civic initia­tives to connect them to the existing Eastern Partnership instru­ments and the EU mecha­nisms to expand the dialogue on a peaceful conflict regulation in Belarus. Also, it will identify the possible strategies of cooper­ation between the EU and Belarusian civil society.

Vasil Navumau, PhD in Sociology, is a visiting fellow at the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (Bochum) and civic activist. He is an author of a monog­raphy and several publi­ca­tions on protest movements in Belarus, Russian disin­for­mation in Belarus. Olga Matveieva, PhD in Public Admin­is­tration, is an associate professor at the Institute for Public Admin­is­tration. Her research interests include e‑governance, contentious politics, gender issues, global challenges to public admin­is­tration system. The researchers published several co-authored compar­ative articles on protest in Belarus (Revolution of Consis­tency) and Ukraine (EuroMaidan), and gender-related conse­quences of COVID-19 pandemic for both countries.

We received an outstanding number of 97 appli­ca­tions from individual researchers and research teams. The majority of appli­ca­tions came from Central Asia, followed by the Southern Caucasus and Eastern Europe. Country-wise, the most appli­ca­tions came from Georgia, followed by Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbek­istan. The trans­for­mative political and socio-economic devel­op­ments in Eurasia were well-reflected in the proposed research topics. The broad field of proposals focused on various contem­porary devel­op­ments in the Eurasia region in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, political conflict, corruption as well as civil society actors and initia­tives that are shaping the region’s political landscape.

We would like to use this oppor­tunity to thank all researchers and research teams for their appli­ca­tions and interest in our program. Seeing the overwhelming interest in the region’s devel­op­ments and challenges in a time like this serves as an inspi­ration to us and strengthens our commitment to connecting researches working on Eurasia.

This project is supported by the Open Society Founda­tions (OSF). The opinions expressed by the project and its publi­ca­tions may not reflect OSF’s views.