My research stay in Kazan hosted by the Centre for Cultural Studies of Postsocialism at the Kazan Federal University lasted 2 weeks, from 30th September to 14th October 2015. I have taken this opportunity to carry out the fieldwork for my research project on state-society relations in Russia which I run at the Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw, and which at the same time is my doctoral project at the Robert B. Zajonc Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw.
Expert interviews conducted in two Russian regions selected based on the results of the secondary data analysis – the Republic of Tatarstan and Yaroslavl Oblast – constitute a qualitative part of my study. Its objective is to deepen the knowledge on factors influencing intensity of ties between the state and society in Russia, and to expand the conclusions drawn from the quantitative part of the research. As a geographer, I am particularly interested in the role of region-specific conditions, including regional policy, economy-related and historical factors.
During my stay in Kazan, I managed to conduct 16 in-depth interviews with local experts representing different Tatarstani institutions ranging from academia, media, NGO to business. I asked respondents about their opinion on factors influencing intensity of selected practices of the population in the region and possible factors responsible for differences in comparison to other regions. I also had an opportunity to present at a master seminar organized on October, 13th by the Centre for Cultural Studies of Postsocialism together with Department of Religious Studies (workshop entitled “Intensity of ties between society and the state in contemporary Russia”).
My project “Disengagement from the state – perspective of Russian regions” is financed by the Polish National Science Centre (based on decision no DEC-2013/11/N/HS4/03627). My research was also supported by the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP). I hereby would like to thank all the participating experts for the time they devoted to my research and for the knowledge they shared with me.