Call for Submissions: 2024 Graduate Student Essay Competition

The Blog of the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia is pleased to announce our annual Graduate Student Essay Competition for 2024. Enter for a chance to get published on the blog and win cash prizes.

We invite 750-1200 word submissions from full- or part-time M.A. and Ph.D. students from any accredited academic institution in the United States, on any topic and sub-discipline within Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, broadly defined. Cultural criticism; opinion pieces; public-facing treatments of scholarly work; political analysis; book, film, or event reviews; and more are welcome.

All submissions must be in English and observe the blog’s submission guidelines and full competition rules.

Essays are due no later than Friday, 15 March 2024 at 11:59 PM EST, and must be submitted via this Google form.

Seven winners will be selected based on the originality, clarity, and argumentation of their essays, as well as general fit with the blog’s tone and interests as reflected in the submission guidelines linked above. An interdisciplinary panel of judges will select three Grand Prize winners representing history, cultural studies, and the social sciences, each of whom will receive a $500 prize. Four additional Judges’ Choice submissions will receive $200 each. All winners will have their essays published in the Jordan Center Blog.

Competition results will be announced in Summer 2024.

Please note that, for legal reasons around international contest rules, we are unfortunately unable to provide monetary awards to those located outside the US. Regrettably, we must therefore restrict competition for monetary prizes to graduate students of any nationality currently located within the US. Those outside the US, including US citizens and visa holders and those studying at US institutions but currently based abroad, are ineligible for the contest. Outside the bounds of the contest, we welcome submissions from anyone interested in being published on the Blog, regardless of citizenship, national origin, or location. As always, thank you for your interest in the Jordan Center Blog.

Please direct any questions to

The 1990 Revolution on Granite as Ukraine’s New Beginning

The Revolution on Granite was significant for two reasons. First, it was a major milestone on the road to Ukrainian independence, or even a starting point for aspirations of independence. Second, it became a prototype for subsequent Ukrainian revolutions and a precursor to future events set on the Maidan—first in 2004 and again in 2013-2014. 

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Why Talk About Regional Leadership in a Time of War?

Will a major power always hurt smaller nations simply because it can and wants to, ignoring all rules and obligations? Or will the major power, despite having the option of simply dominating and ignoring international conventions, nonetheless commit to credibility and build a more complex relationship with smaller nations that are ultimately beneficial to both sides?

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Demographic Messaging in Russian Television Films After 2008: “I Am Happy” (2010) and “The Millionaire” (2012)

The stories in many of the films produced after the 2007-2008 financial crisis were drastically different from those in pre-crisis films. Instead of the heroine ending up with a businessman in a Moscow high-rise, she now finds happiness in a humble apartment with a blue-collar or underpaid white-collar husband (a retired military officer or a policeman is even better) and a child or two, ideally with another on the way.

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Prigozhin’s Fate in Putin’s Russia: The Political Roles of Aircraft, Part I

In Russia, politicians who run afoul of President Vladimir Putin are at risk of being killed by poison, defenestration, or gunshot, or of being sentenced to harsh prison terms on spurious charges. And now, in the wake of the airplane crash that occurred in the Tver region northwest of Moscow on August 23, many observers both inside and outside Russia believe the Russian president has come up with another technique for eliminating his rivals.

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Changes in the Kremlin’s Political Discourse from 2000 to 2019


Perspectives on Russia’s role in global affairs have differed. It has been portrayed as, respectively, an advocate of the status quo upholding the rule of law; a neo-revisionist actor aiming to reshape the global order; and a reform-minded state pursuing gradual adjustments in international norms. These viewpoints underscore the evolving nature of Russia’s foreign policy orientation.

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The Ideological Role of Post-Maidan Ukrainian Cinema

In the wake of the Revolution of Dignity in 2013–2014, Ukraine experienced a remarkable cultural renaissance. The film industry likewise felt a surge of innovation. Suddenly, Ukrainian filmmakers felt new wind in their sails after years of constant hardship. This creative fervor was fueled by significant state support for cinema at levels unprecedented in independent Ukraine.

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A Queer Plea for the End of the Nation

A queer postnational politics is an anti-war politics that recognizes that there is never a (human) victor in war. War benefits monarchs, oligarchs, and the ruling classes. It does not benefit those in whose name it is fought. War is the bread and butter of the nation, continuously propping it up and reifying it.

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The Emotional Economy of Resentment in Russian Political Discourse Today

One of the most striking markers of Putin’s time is the cultivation of victim narratives. A society such as Russia’s—individualized, atomized, and depoliticized—is not held together by positively defined ideals, even though the constitutional reform of 2020 gave formal grounding to the identity-forming significance of tradition and conservative values. Instead, many Russians are united in a certain emotional reality—that of resentment. A shared sentiment of deep-seated grievance as a result of alleged humiliations draws those living in Russia together, creating, as a logical consequence, the desire for Russia to “rise from its knees.”

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Gubernatorial Tenure, Turnover, and Succession in Russia

There are striking differences in how long regional executives remain in office in different multilevel autocracies. For example, China has a compulsory retirement rule for provincial heads at the age of 65, as well as a system of horizontal rotation across provinces that limits governors’ term in office in the same province. By contrast, governors in Russia face many fewer institutional constraints. While their tenure has been formally limited to two terms, in practice, some regional heads remained in office for much longer.

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(Re)shaping Literary Canon in the Soviet Indigenous North

The native peoples of the Eurasian North—the Evenks, Nanai, Khanty, Nenets, Chukchi, Koryak or Eskimos—became objects of assimilation, extermination, and the creation of a written culture from scratch in the early Soviet era. Their small numbers and remoteness from the cultural metropolises, in addition to their still strong ties to ancestral traditions, make their literary production a particularly controversial example of modernization and (post)colonial dependencies in the former Soviet Union. Lacking a pre-Soviet written literary tradition, these “young” literatures were born as a symbiosis of folklore, local beliefs, syncretic Indigenous-Christian customs, and the surrogate literary tradition of the Russian center: the Soviet “master plot.”

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Castrates, the Specter of Pugachev, and Religious Persecution under Tsar Nicholas I

In 1843, the tsar and his senior advisers were greatly alarmed by reports from researchers in the Ministry of Internal Affairs who had been investigating religious minorities. According to these reports, the Castrates believed that Nicholas’s grandfather, Tsar Peter III, who had died in 1762, was in fact still alive and living in eastern Siberia. From there, he would supposedly descend on Moscow with legions of followers and restore himself to power as legitimate tsar.

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