Sergei Medvedev is the author of the original idea, and the organizer, together with his partners, of all four schools.
Sergei is Professor at the Department of Political Science at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Born in Moscow, he studied at Universities in Moscow, Prague, and New York City, and holds a Ph.D. in history.
Before returning to Moscow in 2004, for 12 years he had been an itinerary academic, holding research positions and professorships in Germany, Italy, and Finland. The Escapes from Modernity project is largely his tribute to some of these countries, but also a debt to the people back home – Sergei hopes he can show the Russian students foreign counties from an unusual perspective, off the beaten track.
Apart from researching and teaching subjects like political geography, international relations, Postmodern theory, and cultural anthropology, Sergei is hosting a weekly TV program Medvedev on Dozhd channel, Russia's only independent news channel, and radio programs Archaeology and Future Shock on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and writing columns for the Russian edition of Forbes and online magazine Republic. In 2008-2014, he also made a TV program on history and civilization called The Power of Fact, appearing weekly on the Russian national Kultura channel, hosted a daily radio program Archaeology on Stolitsa FM, an FM radio in Moscow, and wrote columns for Vedomosti, one of the leading newspapers in the country.
Perhaps the most important fact about Sergei is that he is a keen outdoors enthusiast and amateur athlete. His solo trekking expeditions have taken him from Patagonia to the Himalaya, and from Greenland to Chukotka Peninsula; as a certified divemaster, he has dived sites from the Maldives to the Philippines. In his sports career, he is competing in cross-country ski marathons, mountain running, cycling races, and in triathlon (Ironman series) across the world. Sergei's fascination with sports and outdoors goes a long way in explaining the idea behind the Escapes from Modernity: Nature, and your own body, are best possible educators, teaching one humility, humanity, and respect.
Igor Tomashov is Teacher at the Lyceum under the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Master's in International Relations from the Higher School of Economics. In 2013-2016, he was Lecturer at the Department of Political Science at the Higher School of Economics.
Igor joined the Escapes from Modernity in 2008 as Project Coordinator, and later he began to attend the Schools as a full-fledged contributor. In 2010-2012, he also volunteered at Stanford US-Russia Forum, an international youth organization, promoting dialogue between American and Russian students. In his academic work, Igor focuses on memory studies and on problems of US-Russia relations. He has a number of publications in both Russian and English.
Gleb Starshiy has been Project Assistant for the Escapes from Modernity since April 2015. He is a fourth-year student at the Department of Political Science at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. In 2015-2016, he participated in the Escapes Schools in Estonia and in Lapland. Gleb studies the techniques of political propaganda and is fond of long-distance walking in summer and skiing in winter.
Tapani Kaakkuriniemi (Politics of Nature, Lapland)
Tapani Kaakkuriniemi is Director of the Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES) program, run and coordinated by the Aleksanteri Institute at the University of Helsinki. His roots are in the north of Finland, he studied, graduated, and worked at the Department of Political Science at the University of Jyväskylä still in the 1990s.
In his research career, Tapani has crossed the vague border between Political Science, International Relations, and Sociology, digging phenomena such as nationality, nation-state, border issues, and identity in the contemporary post-modern world. His work with the Russian and East European studies is closely connected with area studies and political geography, as well as the conceptions of transition, transformation, the role of regions, centre-periphery relations.
In addition to purely academic activities, Tapani has been active in the public debates concerning the future of the universities, the role of the EU in Finnish decision-making, or social justice at large. He maintains and moderates the blog Minun Venäjäni – Моя Россия (My Russia) and regularly writes columns in a couple of periodicals plus the newspaper Uusi Suomi in Finnish. The latest activity that has been going on over years is his role in the academic trade union. After acting in the local association at the University of Helsinki, he is now the Chairman of the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers.
Mainly in the summer time, Tapani spends some time trekking in Lapland – the county that falls into Finland, Sweden, and Norway. There, crossing borders is a piece of cake and goes without formal rituals. Perhaps he is happy to wander out in the wilderness, far from the cities – just as his "own" bird kaakkuri (Gavia stellata, or гагара) does.
Andrey Makarychev (Politics of the Body, Estonia)
Andrey Makarychev is Visiting Professor at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu. Before he came to Estonia, he was Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow at the Institute for East European Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, as well as Professor of International Relations at the Linguistics University of Nizhny Novgorod. He has also been a visiting fellow at several European and American research institutes and worked for the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zürich and the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS).
Andrey's research interests include Russian foreign policy discourses, international security, and regionalism in the EU-Russia common neighborhood. He maintains and moderates the blog on "The EU, Russia and Their Common Neighborhood" at the PONARS Eurasia website. He is also a co-editor of the book Changing Political and Economic Regimes in Russia (Routledge 2013) and the author of numerous articles published by international peer-reviewed journals, as well as book chapters in edited volumes published by Ashgate, Palgrave Macmillan, Nomos, etc.
Philipp Müller (Politics of Technology, Germany)
Philipp Müller is Public Affairs Director for Central and Eastern Europe at CSC Deutschland Solutions GmbH. Until July 2007, he was Professor and Director of the Master's Program in Public Administration at the Graduate School for Public Administration and Public Policy of Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico, and before 2003, Senior Research Associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin.
Philipp received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich. In his research, he focuses on the interactions between information technologies, strategy, and leadership. He has published two monographs, Machiavelli.net: Strategy for a Many-to-Many World (Scoventa 2012) and Unearthing the Politics of Globalization (LIT 2004), and the edited volume, Criticizing Global Governance (Palgrave Macmillan 2005).
Philipp has taught at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, University of Erfurt, Universidad de los Andes, Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, and Zeppelin University. He consults major Fortune 500 companies, NGOs, and governments worldwide on strategic issues.
Photos by Ivan Chernopyatko (Garmisch'10, Lappi'08), Regina Ganeeva (Estonia'12), Michael Rochlitz (Estonia'15), and Daria Vdovenko (Estonia'12, Barcelona'11, Lappi'10).