Refugee student Russian and Eurasian studies wins Peter Baehr Prize

10 April 2017 — His proposal for a PhD study into the living conditions of migrant workers in Putin’s Russia garnered Leiden graduate Oshank Hashemi high praise from the jury. The Peter Baehre prize, a monetary award of ten thousand euros, allows the winner to conduct PhD research.

Oshank Hashemi

2016 winner Oshank Hashemi fled his native Afghanistan in the late nineties.To Mareonline he says: “Other migrants have also told me that they never forget their arrival dates. Mine was November 16 1998, I arrived on Schiphol Airport, alone. I was eleven.” With the support of the Foundation for Refugee Students, Hashemi began his studies of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Leiden University. In 2016, he finishes his study cum laude.

Research into migrant workers

With his proposal for PhD research, Hashemi wants to raise awareness for migrant workers in Russia. He focuses primarily on the way migrant workers are portrayed in documentaries produced in the Putin era. “There are many illegals in Russia, who often live under poor conditions”, he says to Mareonline. “The Russian newspapers write awful things about them, but nobody gives the migrants a voice.”.

His associate professor in Russian literature, Otto Boele, inspired Hashemi to focus on the representation migrants in independent films and documentaries. Where they often show the real, harsh conditions the migrants live under. Hashemi also plans to travel to Russia for his PhD research to do further research into the topic.

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