Open call for participation in a research group ВЗВЕСЬ / SUSPENDED MATTER

Open call for participation in a research group ВЗВЕСЬ / SUSPENDED MATTER

On environmental consequences of the soviet project in the countries of Central Asia, Southern Caucasus, and Eastern Europe. November—December 2023

Image description: Graphic with a beige background looking like a desert. There is a brown text “Взвесь / Suspended Matter” in the middle. Below is the smaller brown text “research group”. These words are surrounded by a pixelated image of golden sand, which resembles dried up bodies of water or a river in its movement. Some pixelated sand is on the letters.

NB: The only email to contact the organizer or send a request in audio or video format is The first version of this page contained incorrect email, we apologize and please forward your email if you tried to contact us. Updated 11/01/2023.

Listen to the audio version of the open call (6:42):

Beda invites researchers, activists, and journalists from the countries of Central Asia, Southern Caucasus, and Eastern Europe to take part in a research group on environmental consequences of the soviet project.

The group is focused on studying the power mechanisms and colonial policies of the Russian Empire and the USSR. These policies led to the radical transformation of ecosystems and cultures: desertification, water and waste crisis, disproportional extraction of resources, chemical, and radioactive pollution.


The research group meetings will be held online with a maximum of 12 participants. 

Project dates: mid-November – mid-December 2023.

Two meetings per week are planned for the duration of the project. Each meeting will last for about 2 hours, including short breaks. 

The meetings will include lectures and workshops with invited speakers and moderators, researchers in the field of ecology, history, and political geography, as well as decolonial, queer- and crip-activists.

The workshops will focus on collaborative discussions of local contexts and exploring possibilities for translocal cooperation, mutual learning, and support.


The group will communicate via Element Messenger. If needed, our technical specialists will help with installing and setting up the app. All research group participants will receive announcements via email. Online meetings will be held on the Zoom platform.

Working languages of the group are Russian and English. 

We are aware that the Russian language is one of the instruments of colonization and acknowledge that it’s traumatizing to use it for many people. Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to provide synchronized translation of all the communication within the project into all languages of the project’s geography. We welcome the usage of English and all other mutually convenient language alternatives. 

Accessibility and awareness

We will try to have a relaxed approach for our meetings. Don’t hesitate to take breaks during the lectures and workshops, stim, move, change positions, and turn off your camera if you need to. 

Please let us know if you face barriers and discrimination during the meetings. 

Unfortunately, the lectures and workshops will not be translated into sign languages. We also will not be able to translate into the simple language. We will try to use clearer language and will compile a glossary of specialized terms for each meeting. We will also create textual descriptions for the pictures used in the lecturers’ presentations.


We invite the participants and experts to write texts analyzing ecological situations in the countries of the project’s geography. These essays are supposed to emerge as a result of the collective research work. The texts will be published until the end of April 2024 on the Beda platform in collaboration with local media. The research texts can be written in the language of choice. 

Participation in the research group is free. The work on the final texts will be paid.  

Public conference

An online conference will be held in mid-December as a closing event of the project. It will be dedicated to environmental racism and injustices in the USSR and their effect on the ecosystems in the countries of the project’s geography today. We will invite guest experts for the conference. The participants are encouraged to present, too, if they want to share the provisional results of their work publically.

How to apply?

To participate, please fill out the online application. You can find the link in our profile description.

If you cannot apply in writing, you can send us an application in video or audio format (not longer than 3 minutes) at

Application deadline: November 1, 23:59 in your time zone

We will inform you about the results of your application by November 6

Please share this open call with friends and anyone who might be interested.

Listen to the audio version of the application form (3:49):

The editorial opinion may not coincide with the point of view of the author(s) and hero(es) of the published materials.