Katarina Koleva, December 2018

This report letter seeks to provide information on the 2018-19 BEAR Graduate Mobility Grant I was awarded in support of my PhD research trip to the Moscow State Institute of International Relations – MGIMO – which took place in December 2018.

The grant covered a portion of the research activities I have undertaken at MGIMO, for a period of two weeks. These included costs associated with airfare, accommodation, interview subjects, attendance of two scholarly conferences, and access to rare archives and library resources.

Professionally, the trip to Moscow provided me with the privilege to work with and gain first-hand experience from renowned Russian experts on my topic of interest – namely, Russian foreign policy and intervention strategies in the post-Soviet space. It has proven very useful for building a network of academics and practitioners, which would allow me to further contribute to the policy debates related to the topic and my future professional development. The discussions enhanced my personal understanding of policy processes that often remain hidden from the public eye, providing alternative views and explanations to the dominant media narratives.

Academically and methodologically, the discussions with Russian researchers enabled me to better understand their theoretical approaches and methodologies and prompted me to think of improving the theoretical and methodological framework I intend to apply. Their suggestions for improvements also motivated me to continue broadening my horizons while seeking answers to real puzzling policy and research questions that have yet to be explored.

To the BEAR network, to my supervisors in Canada and Prof. Nikitina, who agreed to be my host at MGIMO, thank you for your support in my endeavour!