This research project looks at Russian-Finnish neighborness. While the relationships between Russia and Finland are being extensively studied, the scientific novelty of this project is in its focus on everyday interactions between the comers from Russia and local inhabitants in different situations of neighborness. Russia and Finland are interconnected by a multitude of
contexts, which makes ‘Russian-Finnish neighborness’ a complex, multilevel phenomenon. This composite complexity is reflected in the architecture of our project – it is designed as a set of subprojects covering various levels of neighborness. We view neighborness on the microlevel as relationships that unfold within a microdistrict or a yard. We also view neighborness on the
level of cities, focusing on public spaces and routes that are used by locals and migrants(together or separately), as well as by non-residents (neighborness on a city scale). Besides, we are interested in studying neighbornesses as an important part of everyday life and identity of border areas (regional/transnational neighborness).
The research will be conducted in Finland (Helsinki, Imatra, Tohmajärvi) and in Russia (Saint Petersburg, Leningrad oblast). In Finland, our research will be focused on neighborhood relations between established inhabitants of Finland and Russian immigrants in Finland, as well as Russians who come to Finland with purpose of shopping, vacation, tourism, etc. In Russia, we
will focus our research on Russian neighborhood culture. We suppose that studying the neighborhood culture in Russia will help understand the mindsets, patterns, scenarios, and models of neighborhood and neigborness that Russians share and bring to Finland when they immigrate. Besides, we will try to analyze ‘neighborness over time’ – situations when exinhabitants
of former Finnish territories and their descendants interact with current inhabitantsof these places.
Theoretically, this project problematizes the very concept of neighborhood – and neighborness as a related category. The theoretical goal is to deconstruct and reconstruct these phenomena methodologically with respect to the new conditions of mobile world. The unique Russian-Finnish neighborness situation and the diversity of cases give us wide opportunities for doing
The practical goal of the project is to identify cultural gaps and conflicts that arise due to them. We will pinpoint and describe the best practices of neighborhood as productive coexistence (i.e. interesting events and cooperation scenarios, forms of association and neighborhood
diplomacy as methods of problem-solving).
The public goal of the project is to present academic knowledge gained through research through artistic metaphors, interesting and understandable for broader audience. In connection to this, there planned to be cooperation of researchers and artists who will be collecting visual materials in the course of the project and prepare an exhibition as one of project’s outcomes.