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Irkutsk Center for Advanced Study and Education

Siberia in Russia and in the World: challenges to strategies of development

The purpose of creating Irkutsk CASE is to research specific features of Siberia's development at regional, interregional, Russian and global levels, to coordinate the activity of Russian and foreign scientists, and to forecast political, social, and in the long run economic processes in conditions of globalization and dynamic development of the neighboring countries of Asian  Pacific region.

Irkutsk CASE Staff

Scientific Director
Gennady N. Novikov
phone (3952) 200775,
fax 200775,

Administrative Director
Nikolay A. Potorochenko
phone/fax (3952) 202270,


Dmitriy V. Kozlov
Phone (3952) 241974,
fax (3952) 200775,

Ekaterina V. Bespalova
phone (3952) 241974,
fax (3952) 200775,

Thematic priorities of the research

  • Geopolitical and geostrategic place of Siberia in the process of globalization and formation of the XXI century world order.
  • Traditional cultures of Siberia, their interaction and modernization.
  • Siberia as a polycultural developing community: its history and prospects.

Geopolitical and geostrategic importance of Siberia in the process of globalisation and formation of the XXI century world order.

In the given block the authors envisage the development of theoretical aspects of international relations as an external environment for the main object of research  Siberia, which adjoins both non-Russian post-Soviet territory (Kazakhstan) and the neighboring countries of Asian-Pacific region (this can be considered the first range of issues). A large number of national republics and districts in Siberia, together with the growing importance of ethnic processes in modern public development, determine a new approach to and a new role of classical and traditional understanding of international relations.

Another range of issues is research of processes and prospects resulting from the contacts eastern regions of Russia have with economic and technological sphere of ásian-Pacific region: Siberia and external economic strategy of the countries of North- Eastern Asia in the XXI century.

  • the geoeconomic preconditions of cooperation: Siberia as an investment field; economic relations with China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia; perspective projects; approaches to the development of economic connections of Russia with the countries of North-Eastern Asia and the place of Siberia in these connections; the role of Siberia in the development of air and railway transportation between the countries of North-Eastern Asia and central Russia, Western and Eastern Europe, prospects of their development. Russian-Chinese relations: historical aspect; modern political, economic, and cultural links; a regional level of development of interrelations  reality and mythology of interaction on public and personality levels.
  • the special factor of Mongolia for the international environment of Eastern Siberia mostly as the isolation of Mongolia with its small population and its vast territory would not promote stability and international security.
  • geopolitical challenges to Russia in its Asian areas, dynamics of social, economic and demographic disparity in the ratio of Siberia and European Russia, Asian Russia and neighboring countries, risks for international stability and safety. In this connection it is supposed that the authors of the project will work on a hypothesis of transformation of the Siberian belt (zone) in the economic bridge between Europe and ásian-ňacific region. It should also be noted that one of the essential questions is going to be European influence on the development of Siberia from the point of view of a civil society formation.

The third range of international issues for consideration is the influence of globalization as a worldwide process on Siberia as a part of Russia and registration of its various manifestations (distribution of homogeneous cultural samples, practices, values, technologies, standards of consumption and their influence on everyday life, mentality and self-esteem; formation of uniform global economic system; formation of virtual communication space; ideological legitimacy of globalization.

Finally, as one of the main directions in the international problematic of the project the authors intend (at the next stage of their research) to consider its ecological constituent. It is extremely important especially taking into account a potential of natural resources of Siberia, its stock of minerals, wood, energy and water resources in comparison with the needs that dynamically developing countries of Asian-Pacific region have to meet (unequal distribution of resources, worldwide shortage of drinking water as a new potential reason for conflicts, geopolicy of oil and gas).

The abovementioned directions of research are closely connected with the work of the Department of World History and International relations of ISU (Irkutsk State University). This work is done within the framework of the Faculty Support Program of the Megaproject Development of education in Russia . The participants of this project are likely to comprise the nucleus of a research group working on international issues. During the two years of the implementation of the Faculty Support Program (20002001), ISU has successfully established mutually beneficial connections with Moscow State University of International Relations.

Traditional cultures of Siberia, their interaction and adaptation to modern life.

Eastern Siberia, or Pribaikalye, i.e. regions contiguous to Baikal, historically have developed as a unique social and cultural entity whose parts are connected historically, economically, culturally and administratively . This place is a joint between Siberia and the Far East. The necessity of monitoring and studying all kinds of processes occurring here is doubtless. The major aspect of the problem is the ethnic-political situation in the region. Its specificity consists in the fact that the regional community (socium) has been formed, functions, and will probably still function as a community of settlers. On the one hand, it can be characterized as uniform; on the other hand, it is ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse.

This section presents a combination of various directions of studies including both historical and modern aspects of the development of Siberian polyethnic community. The research is going to be done not only on the evolution of ethnic groups and cultures of northern Asia and America, but also on a combination of anthropological and socio-cultural characteristics pertaining to them. The Baikal region or Baikal Siberia (modern territories of Krasnoyarsk region, Buryatiya, Evenkiya and Irkutsk region) is that primary center, where several genetically interrelated populations developed. Later, these people, who belonged to typologically similar societies and material and spiritual cultures, left their homeland and migrated in many different directions (including Northern America).

Contemporary aboriginal ethnical groups of Northern Asia and America are typologically homogeneous primitive periphery of industrial societies; ethnocultural and ethnopolitical history of these ethnic groups has developed and is still developing under the general laws, demonstrating common problems of preserving identity, survival and development, essentially common ways of solving national problems and ethnocultural adaptation to a different social, economic and political environment.

The project also intends to study Siberian peoples in their historical development: the natives of Siberia in the system of national policy of Russia in the XIX  XX centuries; the way of life of the natives of Siberia in the XVIII  XX centuries; the peoples of Siberia under Russian rule in the XVII  XX centuries; the problem of ethnic conflicts and assimilation, comparative analysis of the historical results of exploration of Siberia and Northern America.

Siberia as a developing polycultural community : its history and prospects.

Dynamics of regional self-consciousness.

An essential and still disregarded component of ethnopolitical situation in the region is the fact that historically on the basis of diverse newly-arrived, on the one hand, and autochthonous, on the other hand, population a highly special sociocultural community has been formed here. This group is still in the process of formation, but it has already been given the name siberyaki. Regional self-awareness, realization of their uniqueness  all this can become not only a cultural factor, but also ideological and political. Regularly arising debates about Siberian separatism, no matter how speculative they might be, are a proof of it.

Regionalism (as an opposition to federalism) is on the rise now, its increase today, during a new stage of redistribution of power and property, is obvious; actually, it is becoming an inherent part of ideological projects and political movements. Taking all this into consideration, the authors of the project also plan to study sociocultural peculiarities of the region and the formation of intraregional connections, the processes of Siberian self-identification both from a historical point of view (Siberian regionalism and separatism), and as a modern factor of ideological mobilization, competition for redistribution of authority between the federal center and regions. The development of regional self-consciousness, its correlation with the all-Russia self-identification are key moments in the formation of Russian federalism.

The solution to the abovementioned problems seems to be impossible without crossdisciplinary work on creation of a sociocultural map of Siberia. This task is an independent section of the project.

The project also includes an educational program that can be regarded as both instrumental for solving the research tasks and self-sufficient for the program itself. The authors consider this educational-research program extremely important for the formation of a system of postgraduate education and professional community of the graduates of humanitarian faculties, working in different areas of Siberia.

The initial stage of the project is to be carried out in 20012002 during the work on the project Ethnopolitical processes in the Baikal region sponsored by the Ford Fund. For this purpose a research network, including both undergraduate and post-graduate students of the university, and graduates of higher educational institutions working as teachers, journalists, officials, living in various cities and areas of Irkutsk region and Buryatiya, is created. It is planned not only to enhance the study, but also to expand its geography (including the Chita area, Khakassia, Tuva and southern Yakutia).

External migrations as a factor of stability and conflict in the region.

The given direction of research is closely connected with the previous one. The recent waves of external migration (from the Caucasus, from Central Asia and, first of all, from China) are of all-Russian importance on geopolitical, economic and ethnocultural levels. Potencially they can considerably or even radically change the ethnosocial structure of the region. The consequences of these changes are now hard to predict. The attitude to newcomers has already become the most complicated factor in a general complex of interethnic relations in the region. At the same time, gastarbeitern have already become an important and indispensable part of the economy.

External migrations can be considered as the factor of stability and conflict in the region. All this predetermines a choice of the research problems: revealing basic characteristics of migration flows, the formation on this basis temporary and/or permanent communities, their place in economic life, social structure and in the formation of criminality; their mutual relations with the receiving local community and authorities.

These problems are also proposed as research programs for a designated direction of studies. Their realization will require joint efforts of different scientists and different regions. Irkutsk State University is ready to realize these projects and coordinate the efforts of scientists from other cities. The appropriate program has already been developed, the research team has been created and the financial assistance of the Ford Fund has been received. The inclusion of these projects in the work of CASE will allow to give to them a greater scope and duration and to receive more advanced results.

The phenomenon of the Polish presence in Siberia.

The research intends to study not only a specific, applied facet of the given problem, but also its sources and historiography. A general theoretical comprehension and analysis from new angles, on a crossdisciplinary level, revealing stereotypes and mental representations, connected with it, are planned to be studied. The purpose of this study is to enhance and reconstruct an objective and complete picture of historical processes and phenomena rather essential to more adequate scientific understanding and description of a modern context of geopolitical and sociocultural development of the region.

Ethnopolitical situation in the Republic of Buryatiya.

Ethnopolitical situation in the Republic of Buryatiya is the factor of interregional importance at least because of the fact that the Buryat population is divided among several subjects of the Russian Federation, which is consciously or unconsciously realized by a part of the local elite as a national trauma. The latent or potential factors of interethnic tension include economic stagnation, some specific forms of social mobilization of the Buryats, and complicated processes of their national revival. On the other hand, some factors of deterrence and relaxation of interethnic tension take place. The tasks of the project: to reveal and to analyses major factors of dynamics of ethnopolitical processes and their present condition and to conduct monitoring of the changes in administrative, economic-geographical regions and in the Republic of Buryatiya as a whole. On this basis, the analysis of the situation and the forecast are supposed to be feasible. Besides, the realization of three supplementary research projects is provided: Á) the prospect of Buryat irredentism ( the example is Ust-Orda district), b) ethnic conflicts in action: experience of Tuva Republic, c) Mongolia  Buryatiya  Tuva: interdependence in the system of contemporary geopolitical coordinates.

Irkutsk CASE is currently involved in a number of joint projects with the following scientific and educational establishments:

  1. Baikal Institute of Business and International Management, Irkutsk State University (one of the Institute's divisions is Siberian-American School of Management  a joint educational project of Irkutsk State University and University of Maryland University College, USA).
  2. Moscow State Institute of Foreign Relations ( MSIFR  University).
  3. Irkutsk State Technical University.
  4. Irkutsk State University of Railway Communications.
  5. Buryat State University ( Ulan-Ude).
  6. Institute of Geography ( Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk).
  7. Institute of Mongolian Studies, Buddism and Tibetology ( Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ulan-Ude).
  8. Omsk State University.
  9. Novosibirsk State University.
  10. Tomsk State University.

Irkutsk CASE is involved in a number of international joint projects.

It works in collaboration with the following scientific centers:

  1. Mongolian State University
  2. Institute of International Studies of Mongolian Academy of Sciences
  3. Sapporo University (Japan)
  4. Simane University ( Japan)


  1. International Key-Note Conference Russia and the East: Look from Siberia at the Beginning of the Third Millenium (May 1719, 2002) .
  2. Key-Note Seminar Research of Local Strategies of Stable Development in Lake Baikal Region (August 15, 2002).
  3. Russian- Japanese Seminar Siberia and Japan in North-Eastern Asia (September 710, 2002). The Seminar was held within the framework of the 2-nd Baikal Economic Forum ( International Conference Siberia and Far East in Russia and in the World: Challenges to Strategies of Development).*
  4. Scientific Seminar Siberia as a Polycultural Society in Formation: History and Perspectives (September 710, 2002). The Seminar was held within the framework of the 2-nd Baikal Economic Forum ( International Conference Siberia and Far East in Russia and in the World: Challenges to Strategies of Development).*
  5. Scientific Seminar The Region on the Crossroads of East and West: Competitiveness in the Process of Globalization ( September 710, 2002). The Seminar was held within the framework of the 2-nd Baikal Economic Forum ( International Conference Siberia and Far East in Russia and in the World: Challenges to Strategies of Development).*
  6. Scientific-Methodological Seminar Application of Mathematical Methods and IT in the Humanities (September 16, 2002).
  7. Scientific Seminar Archaic and Traditional Cultures of North-Eastern Asia. Issues of Origins and Transcontinental Connections (October 57, 2002).
  8. Scientific-Methodological Seminar Programming Environment for Generating Electronic Scientific and Scientific-Methodological Materials ( October 29, 2002).
  9. Scientific-Methodological Seminar Geoinformational Technologies for Solving Humanitarian Problems (October 29,2002).
  10. Interregional Scientific Seminar Administrative, Public and Legal Development of Siberia of the 1721 centuries (November 1213, 2002).


  1. International Scientific Seminar Issues of Stability and Conflict in Baikal Region. It was held within the framework of the direction Siberia as a Polycultural Society in Formation and Development: History and Perspectives ( January 1214, 2003).
  2. International Scientific Conference Baikal Region and Geopolicy of Central Asia: History, Present Situation and Perspectives. It was held within the framework of the direction Geopolitical and Geostrategic Place of Siberia in the Process of Globalization and Formation of the World Order in the 21 century in collaboration with Institute of Mongolian Studies, Buddhism and Tibetology of Siberian Division of Russian Academy of Sciences, Ulan-Ude (January 2024, 2003).
  3. Interregional Conference Russia and Siberia: Issues of Interaction in Regional Policy in Historical Retrospective, dedicated to 180 years of Siberian reforms conducted by M.M.Speransky ( February 2526, 2003).
  4. Scientific Seminar Geopolitical, Social and Economic Issues of Forming Transit Transport Passage in Eastern Siberia . To be held in collaboration with Irkutsk State University of Railroad Communications (April 89, 2003).
  5. Seminar-meeting The City in the System of Ethnocultural Interactions ( May 1316, 2003). To be held in collaboration with Buryat State University.


  1. Among the promising directions of the development of Irkutsk CASE it is necessary to point out the opportunities given by the program of the National Council of Euro-Asian and East-European Research (NCEEER). The presentation of the program took place on December 1213, 2002 when its representative Professor Robert Huber visited Irkutsk. At present, the scholars who have joint projects with CASE study the Program to work out their independent projects.
  2. The following projects of Irkutsk CASE were selected for the second stage of the collective research project contest Interregional Research in Social Sciences (is sponsored by Ford Foundation):
    • Interconfessional Contacts and Formation of Socio-cultural and Mental Specifics of the Population of the Baikal Region(17-th20-th centuries) , G.V.Oglesneva.
    • Innovative Schools and the Urban Community of Siberia (the period of socio-cultural transformations), M.Ya.Rozhansky.
    • Artistic Environment and Artistic Training: Constructing Regional Identity, M.L.Tkacheva.
    • Eastern Siberia in Repressive Policy of Soviet State in the 19201980s : Power, Society, Personality, Yu.A.Petrushin.
    • Chinese Entrepreneurs and the Receiving Community: Forms and Machinery of Interaction ( in Siberia and the Far East), N.P.Ryzhova.
  3. Regional scientific conference Punitive Structures in the System of Russian Statehood: Regional Aspect of Development in Siberia(May 1415, 2003)  is planned to be held in collaboration with East-Siberian Institute of Ministry of Home Affairs of Russia.
  4. Research project Specifics of Chinese Citizens' Training in Russia.
  5. Conference to realize one of the main goals of MION Legal Issues of Russian Statehood Restructuring: Experience of Siberian Region (September, 2003)  is planned to be held in collaboration with Law Institute of Irkutsk State University.