Contact person:
Christofer Berglund
  • Östersjöstiftelsen
Responsible at MaU:
Christofer Berglund
Project members at MaU:
External project members:
  • Joakim Ekman - Södertörn University
  • Ilmari Käihkö - Swedish Defence University
  • Kairi Kasearu - University of Tartu
  • Eleri Lillemäe - Estonian Military Academy
  • Jason Lyall - Dartmouth College
  • Tiia-Triin Truusa - Baltic Defence College
Collaborators :
  • International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS)
Time frame:
01 January 2021 - 31 December 2024

About the project

Can the armed forces help build national communities out of divided societies? Conscription can be a tool for turning reluctant recruits into faithful citizens. But, in divided societies, officials might not recognize some groups as proper citizenship material; and some groups might not perceive the state as their own. Service then becomes a focal point for negotiations over the social contract between the state and marginalized groups. We investigate these issues using a mixed-methods design in the context of post-Soviet Estonia (1990-present) and post-independence Finland (1917-1945). Even when marginalized groups – in our cases Russian speakers and “reds” – are entrusted positions in the armed forces it remains an open question whether and if so how socialisation occurs. Building on archival sources in Finland, as well as elite interviews and quantitative opinion data in Estonia, we contribute new evidence to this debate.


'Slava Ukraini!': Strategy and the Spirit of Ukrainian Resistance, 2014-2023." Käihkö in Helsinki University Press.
Read more about this monograph

'Fighting for the (Step)Motherland? Predictors of Defense Willingness in Estonia’s Post-Soviet Generation.' Berglund, Kasearu and Kivirähk in Journal of Political and Military Sociology 49 (2).
Read more about this article

International team

Our project is based at Södertörn University and brings together an international team of scholars around a topic of enduring academic importance as well as practical significance to the Baltic Sea region.

More about the project at the Södertörn University webpage