English Graduate Chooses to Pursue Doctoral Studies in Political Science at HSE
Ever since he was a teenager, Judas Everett has been interested in politics. A new postgraduate student in HSE’s Doctoral School of Political Science, Judas says he owes a lot of his continued interest to the teachers he’s had over the years, the right encouragement and the right reading suggestions.
‘When I was younger, I was really inspired by Tony Benn – probably starting with his opposition to the Iraq war and also because he fought to renounce his inherited title and stand for election by the people’, says the 25-year old native of Yorkshire, who considers Norfolk, England his home. ‘Nowadays, I'm probably a little more inspired by Norman Davies as a British guy who successfully mastered a Slavic language and completed his PhD in this part of the world’.
Judas first developed an interest in studying abroad while completing an undergraduate programme in International Politics and International History at Aberystwyth University in Wales. Surrounded by fellow students who had developed strong language skills and had already traveled extensively, he became motivated to pursue a Master’s in International Relations at the University of Wroclaw in Poland.
The right balance between classes and research
Following his Master’s in Poland, Judas decided to pursue an advanced degree at HSE, although he was initially worried by the prospect of having too little time to focus on his research interests given his class commitments. Despite his initial concerns, though, he’s been pleasantly surprised by the balance he’s been able to strike.
‘I was a little worried that there might be too many classes, because I know that there is usually a huge amount of contact time in Russian universities – at least compared with those in the UK’, Judas says. ‘It was a relief that I have enough to focus on my project and read both very deeply and very broadly. I have classes with Professor Malinova, Professor Ilyin, and my supervisor is Professor Akhremenko. Everyone has been helpful and willing to help but I haven't had too many problems yet (touch wood)’.
Following the completion of his PhD, Judas hopes to remain in academia. ‘Three years is such a long time, and I'm quite single-minded so I am only thinking about completing my PhD at the moment. I have hopes of staying in academia when I finish, but I think the best way to have a chance of that is to just work hard and do my best while I am at this crucial stage of my education. I think I will just do my best and enjoy the next three years and then who knows’.
Life in Moscow beyond the programme
‘Moscow is a really great city’, Judas says. ‘It has anything and everything imaginable and I can't say enough positive things. In general, life in big cities is pretty similar and I can't complain too much about anything in day to day life. The biggest difference between the UK and Russia though – and it was a similar situation in Poland – is the totally unfathomable bureaucracy and strange rules that nobody understands – not even the locals. If nothing else it does teach patience!’
To make things easier, Judas has been focusing on improving his Russian skills, although he admits to the difficulty of the language.
‘My Russian is pretty bad, but I have enough to handle most day to day situations’, he says. ‘Russians, like English people, really expect people to speak their language and they're often really surprised when I don't understand something or have a very English accent, but we usually find a way to make ourselves understood. I do hope to work on my Russian over the next three years, and I have high hopes’.
Despite the differences and the challenges he has encountered, Judas prefers to focus on the similarities that all people share, especially when he tells stories to his family and friends back home. ‘I make sure that I'm not just telling stories about banyas, vodka and mushroom picking but also how things are actually not that different and people are normal. Then I can tell them about banyas, vodka and mushroom picking’.
Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for HSE News service
Advice from Above: Sociologists Have Assessed the Impact that Priests Have on How Their Parishioners Vote
Political preferences of at least 21% of Orthodox voters in Russia may be influenced by the clergy and their fellow believers. Based on an online survey of 2,735 respondents, HSE University sociologists Kirill Sorvin and Maksim Bogachev concluded that religion has a considerable impact on people’s political choices. The scholars assume that the share of those who vote ‘in an Orthodox way’ may be higher: many respondents were under 34, and young people are a minority among Orthodox believers in Russia.
September 4, 2019 was a day of firsts for the School of Psychology and the Centre for Cognition and Decision Making. Zachary Yaple, who was born in the United States and grew up in England, defended his dissertation, 'Neurophysiological Correlates of Risky Decision-Making'. His defense marked the first PhD to be prepared at the Centre for Cognition and Decision Making and the first PhD to be awarded to an international student by the Doctoral School of Psychology.
On April 10, Ronald Inglehart, founder of the World Values Survey and the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, delivered an honorary lecture at the LCSR’s 9th international seminar held as part of HSE’s XX April Academic Conference. The lecture addressed the roots of authoritarianism, its relationship to other widely investigated phenomena and its empirical linkage with contemporary politics.
Bachelor’s programme ‘Political Science’ and Master’s programmes ‘Applied Politics’ and ‘Politics. Economics. Philosophy’ have been granted international accreditation by Central Evaluation and Accreditation Agency (ZEvA), based in Hannover, Germany.
On Tuesday, May 23, William Reisinger, Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa, will deliver a seminar at the HSE School of Political Science entitled ‘The Impact of Petty Corruption on Political Support in Post-Soviet Societies’. Ahead of his seminar, Professor Reisinger spoke with the HSE News Service about the topic of his research, how his impressions of Russia and the post-Soviet world have changed since he began visiting the region, and the changing interest in Russia that he has observed among Western students over the past several decades.
On May 17, Dr Jorge Emilio Nunez, a Senior Lecturer at Manchester Law School (UK), delivered a lecture at HSE on the themes from his latest book, ‘Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics’ (Routledge 2017). While addressing members of the HSE community, he explored a solution of egalitarian shared sovereignty, evaluating what sorts of institutions and arrangements could, and would, best realize shared sovereignty, and how it might be applied to territory, population, government and law.
Better nutrition can have a lot to do with the transition to democracy: the more protein-rich, high-quality foods appear in a society's diet, the higher the likelihood of democratic reforms. Apparently, a richer diet is associated with an increase in the middle class, which tends towards economic and political independence and democracy-fostering values. Andrey Shcherbak has found, based on a cross-country comparative study using data on 157 countries, that a change in people's eating habits can serve as a predictor of impending political change. His findings are published in the paper 'A Recipe for the Democracy? The Spread of the European Diet and Political Change'.
EU MPs are increasingly negative on Russia, and their positions are largely defined by their national interests – rather than by their ideological affiliation to any particular political grouping in the European parliament. The researchers believe that this indicates that national interests trump ideological stance for EU MPs. Their research was presented in the article: National or European Politicians? Gauging MEPs Polarity when Russia is Concerned.
From October 5 to 11, the Summer School of the International Laboratory of Decision Choice and Analysis was held at the Higher School of Economics, where Professor Allan Drazen (Department of Economics, University of Maryland, USA) served as the speaker. In a recent interview, he spoke not only about the importance of legislative politics in modern democracies but also about why he was struck by HSE students, why gut instincts are so important, and why theory is more important than practice.
On Tuesday, May 26, Franziska Keller, Ph.D. candidate at New York University and visiting researcher of the HSE International Centre for the Study of Institutions and Development, presented a report called ‘Shaking hands in public. What elite co-appearances tell us about the politics behind the scenes’. This seminar marks the 9th joint Research Seminar on Diversity and Development hosted by the International Centre for the Study of Institutions and Development and NES Centre for the Study of Diversity and Social Interactions.