Speaker Series: "Exploring the Prospects of Trilateral Cooperation Between Russia, South Korea and North Korea"

Monday, February 10, 2020 10:30 am - 12:00 pm EST (GMT -05:00)

Dr. Tamara Troyakova is Head of the International Studies Department in the Oriental Institute, School of Regional and International Studies, Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU, Vladivostok, Russia). She received her High Education Diploma in History from Leningrad State University and her Candidate of Sciences (PhD) in History from the Institute of General History, USSR Academy of Sciences, Moscow.

Dr. Troyakova has worked as a researcher and lecturer in FEFU, Vladivostok. Her main research agenda focuses on the political and economic role of Russia’s Far Eastern region in Northeast Asia.  

Abstract: The possibilities for trilateral cooperation between Russia and the two Koreas involve the domains of security, politics, economy and culture. Because of its location in the proximity to the Koreas, the Russian Far East has a strategic significance as the gateway to the Korean Peninsula and the actual venue where the trilateral interactions can intensify and flourish. The strong presence of the Korean Russian diaspora in the Russian Far East, with the established linkages with South Korea and North Korea, has served as the facilitating condition for trilateral cultural and economic cooperation. Furthermore, the recent lifting of visa requirements between Russia and South Korea, followed by rapidly growing transborder tourism, and the mushrooming of student exchange programs, improve relationships and build ties between people.  Against this background, the adoption of a regional coordinating body with the representatives of all three states – Russia, South Korea, and North Korea – is likely to boost the prospects of trilateral cooperation in the domains of politics and security in which the success rate has been limited.

Dr. Troyakova's seminar will include participation from Elena F. Tracy. Elena holds a PhD in political science from the University of British Columbia. Previously, she received BA in journalism from the Far Eastern Federal University - FEFU (Vladivostok, Russia). While in Vladivostok, she worked as a journalist, forest protection program coordinator with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, and taught international relations courses in the Oriental Institute, FEFU. Elena currently works for the Indigenous Services Canada, and is an alumni fellow of the Rachel Carson Centre for the Environment and Society, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.  The politics of the environment and society in the Russia’s Far Eastern region is one of Elena’s areas of expertise and interest.

Bringing Together or Tearing Apart? The Role of Traditional and Civic Values in Constructing a Pan-Korean Identity

Abstract: Do traditional values associated with one’s ancestry, language and history still hold their importance in bringing a political community together? Or their impact is becoming increasingly limited as compared to what political scientists and sociologists refer to as “civic values?” – a set of shared beliefs and standards of judgments about what is right and important in a society? The proposed unification of the Korean Peninsula  brings these questions to the fore. Divided by striking differences in their political systems and civic cultures, the people of South and North Korea share ethnicity, language, and family rituals associated with Confucius values.  The question of whether these primordial cultural values can serve as the foundation for a common pan-Korean identity,  one of the key reasons for the unification, has important theoretical and policy-related implications. Studying the case of Korean diaspora in the Russian Far East, in close proximity to the Korean Peninsula, helps illuminate the role of traditional values, believes and practices in preserving the diaspora’s cultural identity and in impacting on its political allegiances vis-à-vis North and South Korea with which Russian Koreans have retained their ties.