Maria Gunko

DPhil in Migration Studies

Back to People


Supervisor: Dace Dzenovska

College affiliation: Green Templeton College

Maria is a DPhil candidate in Migration Studies at COMPAS. Her research interests include urban and planning studies and the theory of the state with a geographical focus on Central and Eastern Europe. At COMPAS, Maria’s doctoral research and fieldwork are a part of this ERC-funded EMPTINESS project led by Dr. Dace Dzenovska. Using a mixed-method approach grounded in social anthropology and human geography, Maria explores power and statecraft in an emptying Russian provincial town by examining how urban infrastructures are managed through formal institutions, political bodies and informal arrangements.

Before joining COMPAS, Maria completed an MSc in Human Geography at the Moscow Lomonosov State University in 2012 and obtained a Russian postgraduate degree, Candidate of Sciences in Human Geography, from the Institute of Geography Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) in 2015. Later, she worked as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Geography RAS and a Lecturer at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography in Leipzig (Germany) in 2015, contributing to the ira.urban project Urban Reconfigurations in Post-Soviet Space funded by the Leibniz Association. Furthermore, her Visiting Fellowship at the Institute of Geography Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (France) in 2019 was supported by the “Bourses Metchnikov” Embassy of France in Moscow’s short-term academic mobility grant.

Selected publications

Lost in transformation: comparative analysis of healthcare provision dynamics within urban systems of European Russia and France
Journal article | 4 Sept 2022

“Russian imperial gaze”: Reflections from Armenia since the start of the Russia-Ukraine military conflict
Journal article | 18 Aug 2022

From policy mobility to top-down policy transfer: ‘Comfortization’ of Russian cities beyond neoliberal rationality
Journal article | 30 Mar 2022

On the anti-war movement in Russia: from street protests to guerrilla activism
Blog | 8 Apr 2022

Verfallende Kohlebergbaustädte als Schlachtfelder für die Neuordnung der Machtverhältnisse (German)
Post-Soviet Coal Mining Cities as Battlegrounds for the Reordering of Power Relations (English)
Berliner Gazette Blog | 21 Feb 2022

On disintegration in a Russian company town
Emptiness Blog | 9 Nov 2021