Home>Sciences Po Welcomed Political Scientist and Youtube Superstar Ekaterina Schulmann


Sciences Po Welcomed Political Scientist and Youtube Superstar Ekaterina Schulmann

Ekaterina Schulmann, Russian political scientist (credits: DR)

Sciences Po and its Provost Sergei Guriev, a world-renowned Russian academic and economist who had to flee his country in a day in 2013, were honoured to welcome Ekaterina Schulmann for a very exclusive conference on 20 April, 2023. This political scientist and social media sensation guest speaker addressed the serious matters of the Russian regime stability and the dynamics of public opinion.

Ekaterina Schulmann, an academic and professional expertise

Accepting her current position as a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin in April 2022 had the downside of making her a few days later a “foreign agent” to the eyes of her native country. This status restricts her possibilities for teaching and speaking freely as a public figure in Russia. The political scientist used to teach as an associate professor at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and a senior lecturer at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. 

Her deep knowledge and interest towards the legislative process in modern Russia might come from her past experiences as a member of the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights as well as a civil servant in local administration, a deputy’s assistant, a political faction analyst and expert in the analytical department of the Russian Parliament (Duma) and as the legislative affairs director of a consulting company.

Social media as a tool to share her knowledge and values

The Youtube channel of Ekaterina Schulmann is a real success story. Created in June 2016, it is followed by over one million subscribers. The expert uses this tool to perfection, seeming at ease with its specificities, to engage and educate her community – including a young audience – on Russia’s legal and political matters.

Her strong and aspirational content tends to quickly become viral on other social media channels such as RuNet or TikTok. A Tiktok “fan account” of the political scientist, compiling edited videos of Ekaterina Schulmann, has over 158,000 subscribers and 2.6 millions of likes.

A conference to discuss Russia’s stability and possible futures

In a tense context of the war in Ukraine followed by the European and International sanctions, Russia might seem to be in an unprecedented unstable position. Ekaterina Schulmann discussed the strength and weaknesses of her home country: its specific history since the collapse of the Soviet union, its past economical struggles in the 1990s, its political power being in the hands of the most Soviet generation, the progressive rise of its people political consciousness, its original mix of a strong presidential figure and a collective bureaucracy that is just as strong… 

It's a very natural process. It’s the process described by political science time and again. People who have solved the question of survival, of physical survival, people who have got a little bit of free time on their hands, people who became part of the information sphere, of the media field, who began to participate in social media… they would want their civic rights, they would want political participation.

Ekaterina Schulmann. Interview for Frontline / PBS

The Russian expert described in detail possible future scenarios of Putin’s regime transformation, stagnation or disintegration, and the role public opinion might play in it. Sergei Guriev also cast an expert eye to the debate and invited the public to ask any question they might have.

Putting all human feelings aside, I must say for a scholar it’s an intensely interesting thing: a political system trying to transform itself in quite a revolutionary way without an actual revolution. 

Ekaterina Schulmann. Interview for the Robert Bosch Academy

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